Sixteen San Diego firefighters who are part of the first class of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Paramedic Training Institute have completed their training and are graduating Monday.
These firefighters have spent the last eight months training to become paramedics. San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said the program is "one-of-a-kind," "innovative" and will provide cost-effective training.
The Institute started at the end of July 2017 with 34 SDFD firefighters competing for a spot. Out of the 34, 18 were selected for the program. They first had to pass an entrance exam, emergency medical technician patient assessment and basic life-services skills before joining the program.
Two firefighters dropped out of the program — one for personal reason, the other did not pass the class.
“Our Paramedic Training Institute is the result of countless hours of tremendous effort by our staff,” Fire-Rescue Chief Brian Fennessy said. “The Institute is a significant investment which will serve San Diegans by providing more paramedics in the field.”
To graduate from the program, these firefighters need to complete nearly 1,300 hours of lectures, skills lab, clinical experience and a field internship. The clinical experience includes working with local hospitals for A hands-on experience working with patients and medical teams. For the field internship, the firefighters worked alongside EMTs and paramedics.
“I want to congratulate each graduate from this unique program and thank you for your commitment to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department,” Faulconer said. “The creation of this program is a testament to the innovative leaders we have in our department."
Faulconer said the in-house paramedic training program will help San Diego recruit and retain "the best and brightest."
The program's graduates will need to pass the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians Exam in order to be certified as paramedics.
The Institute's graduation ceremony will take place at 3 p.m. Monday on the top deck of the USS Midway.