NEW BEDFORD (WBSM) — The next generation of emergency medical technicians has begun training in New Bedford.

Four cadets are currently enrolled in the inaugural class of the New Bedford EMT Training Academy. It features a mix of classroom and hands-on training, including ride-alongs and fieldwork with EMTs and paramedics.

"The reception has been great so far," New Bedford Emergency Medical Services Director Michael Thomas said.

"We have a solid handful of cadets on their way to being new EMTs, and word has started to spread around the City. We've already had people call and ask about the next class. We started this program to get the next generation of EMTs in the door, and so far so good."

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Instructors within the program help bring decades of experience to the students. This year, the EMT Academy was created with 180 hours of instruction to prepare individuals for the certification test and a future career in EMS services.

It also covers many learning areas, including first aid, EMS operations, anatomy, physiology, the disease process and more.

After a recent class lesson at the South End Public Safety Center, students headed to the ambulances to practice taking blood pressure and heart rate, and stabilizing and carrying a person in need.

Instructor Michael Florio, a longtime paramedic and teacher, and EMS Deputy Director Dave Zander offered pointers and advice from their years of service.

The City of New Bedford
The City of New Bedford

"We have one student right now who is finishing up high school," Zander said. "When he graduates and turns 18 later this year, he'll be ready to take the test to become a full-time EMT with the City of New Bedford. He's going to jump from high school graduation right into a rewarding, in-demand career with a pension, health insurance and other benefits."

The program is flexible, with evening and daytime sessions covering 180 hours of instruction.

New Bedford residents get a discount off the $1,350 cost, which covers everything from textbooks to online companion resources to the full training academy.

To register or for more information about the program, visit the New Bedford EMS website or call (508) 991-6390.

"New Bedford EMTs and medical first responders are making a difference in the lives of our residents day in and day out. This new academy puts people on the fast track to a rewarding, in-demand career," Mayor Jon Mitchell said

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