Four paramedics have joined the Philadelphia Fire Department after finishing a rigorous 12-week training program.

Family, friends, colleagues and Mayor Jim Kenney congratulated Paramedic Class 41 at an Oct. 26 graduation ceremony at the Fire Academy.

“Your skills, passion, and commitment will see you through the tough calls,” Kenney said. “And make no mistake: This job will not be easy. But it will be the most rewarding career you’ll ever have.”

Given the national shortage of paramedics, Fire Commissioner Adam K. Thiel thanked the group for their willingness to serve in one of the busiest EMS systems in the nation.

The PFD handles between 800-1,000 incidents every day; about 80 percent by volume are for EMS. Moreover, the PFD has operated the busiest ambulance in the nation for four years in a row, according to the annual Firehouse run survey.

“Of our peer departments in the U.S., there is nowhere that people need more help than in the city of Philadelphia,” Thiel said.

He added that the PFD expects to welcome dozens of additional EMS providers in the near future, including the current class of firefighter/EMT cadets and an upcoming class of single-role EMTs.

Class 41 spokesman Jeffrey Cook thanked the Academy’s instructors for the physical, intellectual and emotional preparation for what promises to be a very demanding job. Cook also stressed that he and his classmates are well aware of the challenging EMS work environment – and still chose to become part of the PFD family.

“So as we go out there on the streets … let us not forget our class motto — ‘Never fold under pressure’ — nor our new family motto of ‘Dedication and service,’” Cook said.

Members of Class 41 were already certified paramedics when they decided to join the PFD. Their training at the Fire Academy included basic vehicle rescue; how to treat children who are seriously ill or injured; hazardous materials awareness and operations; and how to respond during active shooter incidents.