The Philadelphia Fire Department has welcomed nearly 100 new members who recently finished rigorous training courses at the Fire Academy. 

A ceremony held Dec. 22 at Franklin Towne Charter Elementary School celebrated the graduation of Fire Cadet Class 201 and EMS Class 2. 

The PFD is fortunate to have so many qualified cadets at a time when other agencies are struggling to attract and retain first responders, said Fire Commissioner Adam K. Thiel. 

“We have built our recruiting pipelines deep and wide,” Thiel said. “And yet we still need your help to ensure that our Fire Department continues to reflect and be strengthened by the diversity that characterizes our great city.”  

EMS Class 2 includes 3 paramedics, 24 emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and 3 advanced EMTs. The cadets were already certified paramedics and EMTs when they came to the Fire Academy, where they received additional training in preparation for serving in one of the busiest EMS systems in the nation. 

“As a cadet, you walk into the Academy scared and alone. It is the last thing on your mind to think that you will develop an entirely new ramshackle family,” said EMT Alyssa Glassey, the class spokesperson. “As we all go on to our new assignments, do not forget the valuable lessons that you’ve learned here. Remember to take care of one another.” 

Class 201 includes 67 firefighter/EMTs for the PFD and 3 firefighter/EMTs who will serve with the Chester City Fire Department.  

“This is just the beginning our journey. Our pledge now is … to never stop learning, growing and developing as firefighters and EMTs,” said Class 201 spokesperson Devin Strange. “I cannot wait to see the unending progress, the future successes and the positive impact of Class 201 over the coming decades.” 

This was the last PFD graduation for Mayor Jim Kenney, who leaves office at the end of the year. The department has seen unprecedented reinvestment during the Kenney administration – from new apparatus and additional personnel to the reopening of several engine and ladder companies that had been closed since 2009. 

mayor stands at podium holding firefighter helmet as two fire chiefs in dress uniforms look at him

To thank Mayor Kenney for his support over the past eight years, the PFD presented him with a commemorative helmet. Kenney’s father – who served as a Battalion Chief in the PFD – helped design that style of helmet many years ago; it’s made of composite material and replaced a much heavier metal version. Now known as the “Philadelphia helmet,” it has become a standard piece of safety equipment in departments across the country. 

“Giving this to me is so meaningful to me because my Dad had a hand in creating the helmet that you’re going to wear,” he told the cadets. 

The PFD looks forward to welcoming Fire Cadet Class 202 to the Fire Academy on Jan. 8. Also on that day: The City will begin accepting applications for paramedic. Interested? Follow us on X, Facebook or Instagram, or contact our Recruitment Unit: 215-685-3748.