The Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department recently started a class of recruit Fire Fighter/Medics. On Monday, February 28, 2011, twenty-seven personnel attended their first day of training at the Fire/EMS Training Academy as members of Career Recruit School #42. Twenty-four of the recruits are new hires; 3 are EMS-ready only and will receive basic firefighter training. Thirteen of the recruits are currently experienced as either firefighters, emergency medical technicians (EMT) or paramedics who possess appropriate Maryland training certifications. This latter group will attend an abbreviated academy of ten weeks, after which they will be detailed to Fire/EMS stations. The remaining recruits will attend a full training academy allotment of twenty-four weeks.
Acting Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor, along with the command staff, attended the recruit’s first day at the Fire/EMS Academy and offered words of encouragement. He stated, “One of the greatest secrets to living a rewarding life is to find the one thing you really love to do; then go and do it. For most of you here, it is clear that the answer to that question is fire suppression and emergency medicine.”
Each member of CRS #42 was afforded an opportunity to introduce himself or herself to Acting Fire Chief Bashoor, the command staff, instructors, and their fellow recruits. Their self-introduction was as diverse as the group itself. Whether soft-spoken or thunderous, each recruit spoke eagerly—though some a bit more nervous than others.
“My expectations for this class are high as they have already achieved so much, having passed a nationally recognized Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT). I believe twenty out of twenty-four of them are college graduates. Many things that we had to with previous recruit schools, e.g. progressive physical training steps to bring them up to an acceptable standard, wasn’t necessary. They were in shape and even surpassed the preset standards. Academically, this group has the advantage of advanced degrees, which will aid them in their studies during class. Having employees beginning at this level will permit more time to focus on skills and their conditioning should allow the staff greater opportunity for more repetitions with shorter recovery times,” says Major H. "Butch" Leonhard, Commander of the Department's Fire/EMS Training Academy.
Major Leonhard further stated, “The group almost immediately began to gel and become one entity. They’ve started forming bonds that will last throughout their careers. Twenty years from now, these individuals will look back on these days with a fondness only those who’ve toiled together can appreciate. It’s exciting that the class is underway and the Fire/EMS Academy staff looks forward to many more successful Career Recruit Schools.”
The CRS #43 is scheduled to begin later this month and will have 35 recruits.