For paramedics, there are many easier places to work than Philadelphia, which sees an average of 750 EMS incidents every day.
But the 10 paramedics in Class 38 chose to come here anyway — some from as far away as California, Chicago and Boston. And at their graduation on Dec. 6, they pledged to provide the dedicated service that is the hallmark of the Philadelphia Fire Department.
“They know how tough it is here,” said Fire Commissioner Adam K. Thiel. “But they wanted to be part of the best.”
Members of Class 38 were already state-certified paramedics when they decided to join the PFD. Their nine weeks of training at the Fire Academy included lessons on basic vehicle rescue; how to treat children who are seriously ill or injured; and how to respond during active shooter incidents.
The paramedics are joining the department during a period of unprecedented reinvestment. Last month, the PFD reopened four engine companies and put five more ambulances in service.
Paramedic Services Chief Brian Ackerman told those at the graduation ceremony that paramedics now have many more opportunities with the PFD, including training for hazmat responses; attending technical rescue school; and working in alternative EMS response units, such as the one focused on opioid overdoses.
“These initatives and training programs are evidence that the future is bright for paramedics in the Philadelphia Fire Department,” Ackerman said.
Class spokesperson Bradley Woods said the PFD’s newest members would work with honor, compassion and diligence.
“We have the opportunity to impact so many people on a daily basis,” Woods said, “whether it be to provide comfort after a loved one has died, or to welcome a new life into this world.”