Birmingham Fire and Rescue Introduces: Birmingham Fire and Rescue is addressing the nationwide shortage of paramedics by launching an in-house training program. In development since 2017, the program aims to fill the deficit in paramedics and enhance emergency services for Birmingham citizens.
Battalion Chief Clay Hendon highlighted the current challenge of recruiting and retaining paramedics, emphasizing the need for a solution. With 100 paramedics currently on staff, the goal is to have at least two paramedics on every rescue transport unit, with the potential for even more. Additionally, integrating paramedics onto fire engines is part of the department’s vision.
The traditional paramedic program typically spans a year, involving classes 2-3 days a week for four hours. In contrast, Birmingham Fire and Rescue’s program is accelerated, lasting seven months, with students attending class five days a week for eight hours.
All Birmingham firefighters are eligible for the program, offering free training, a full salary during classes, a $10,000 bonus, and promotion points. Paramedics assigned to transport units receive an annual $5,000 bonus.
The program’s first semester is set to begin in February and run through October, with 15 spots available to maintain a low teacher-student ratio. The initiative not only addresses the shortage of paramedics but also aims to elevate the department’s service level to meet and exceed the citizens’ needs.