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PR- 254-05
June 30, 2005


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg joined Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta today at a graduation ceremony for 119 new FDNY Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) and 44 new Paramedics. The new EMTs have successfully completed a rigorous 8½-week training program that has prepared them for the many challenges that await them in their new careers. The Paramedics are the third class of graduates from the Fire Department's full-time paramedic training program.  The Mayor and Fire Commissioner were joined by Chief of the EMS Command John Peruggia and several hundred family members and friends at the ceremony held at the Colden Center Auditorium at Queens College.

"Today's new EMTs and Paramedics are embarking on some of the most important and satisfying careers in the City," said Mayor Bloomberg.  "Our first responders put themselves in dangerous situations day in and day out in order to save lives and come to the aid of their fellow New Yorkers.  I congratulate this latest class of New York's Best and I am confident that the will serve the City with honor and dedication."

"Today, we celebrate the graduation of our latest group of FDNY EMTs and our third class of homegrown FDNY Paramedics," said Fire Commissioner Scoppetta.  "In the weeks, months and years to come, I know that all of you, EMTs and Paramedics alike, will come to appreciate the education and the training you've received at the EMS academy.  Remember, while today marks the end of your days in the classroom, this ceremony does not signal the end of your time as a student.  Learn from the senior members, gain knowledge from their experience, and never stop learning." 

Today's graduating EMT class was so large it was divided into separate day and evening sessions.  EMT Alexander Lipsitt and EMT Josette Esquivias shared the honor of class Valedictorian for the day session and the class speaker was EMT Christopher Russo.  The Valedictorian for the evening session was EMT Samantha Aguirres and the class speaker was EMT Carlos Sonera.  The Valedictorians for the paramedic program were Paramedic Keith Arrons and Paramedic Ian Bradshaw and the class speaker was Paramedic Jason Saffon.

Also graduating today was the husband and wife paramedic team of Darren and Andria Wetsell. Both are ten-year veterans of the FDNY/EMS and coincidentally, they will also be promoted together to Lieutenant next week on July 6.

The FDNY Emergency Medical Service Academy is an 8 ½-week training program that prepares students to work for the largest and the busiest emergency medical service in the world.  Some of the lifesaving skills taught include defibrillation, patient assessment, airway management, oxygen therapy and extrication.

The New York City Fire Department's 10-month full time Paramedic Program is the most comprehensive and intense program of its kind anywhere in the nation.  During the course of their training, FDNY EMT's studying to become paramedics perform both didactic and practical work.  Candidates participate in clinical rotations in area hospital emergency and operating rooms as well as on ambulances.  After graduation, each new Paramedic must complete a 960-hour internship as a Junior Paramedic (working only with the most senior members of the department).


Edward Skyler / Robert Lawson   (212) 788-2958

Francis X. Gribbon   (Fire Department)
(718) 999-2056

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