Del Rio Fire Officials in Texas report 100 percent pass rate on emergency medical certifcates by Fire Recruits
Given the task at hand and the amount of time allotted to achieve it, Del Rio Fire Department officials are calling its 100 percent pass rate on emergency medical certification tests a proud moment.
All 15 of the department’s recruit firefighters passed the national basic emergency medical technician test after a mere two-and-a-half months of preparation.
“This is by far the biggest class we have ever had,” said fire department deputy chief John Sheedy.
Despite this being the largest class, it is also the first time 100 percent of the recruits have passed the test on the first try.
Typically fire academy class sizes are between three and five recruits and inevitably, Sheedy says, there are one or two recruits who need a second chance at the test.
According to statistics from the national registry for emergency medical personnel certification, in 2007 only 74 percent of Texas first responders who took the test passed on the first try.
“This is quite an accomplishment,” said Sheedy. “We’re really proud of our instructors for what they were able to pull off.”
Sheedy said equal amounts of credit belong to the recruits, who spent hours pouring over testing material while attending classes and clinical rounds at Val Verde Regional Medical Center.
“We are very proud of our new recruits who really stepped up to the plate,” said Sheedy. “They must have spent most of their weekends and nights studying.
Before being eligible to test on the national certification, fire department recruits must spend 120 hours in the classroom, then at least 20 hours in the emergency room, 24 hours on-shift with EMS crews and eight hours in the maternity ward, which also requires an assist with a natural birth.
“We have to thank everyone at the hospital, all of the directors, they helped us a lot along the way,” said Sheedy.
For years the fire department has required its personnel to hold an EMT certification, even when the law didn’t.
“Firefighters are required to have some type of basic first aid training to be certified, but we thought why not kick it up a notch to EMT,” said Sheedy.
By having all firefighters EMT trained, Sheedy says it also keeps the department in line with its first responder program, which often sends a fire engine to medical emergencies alongside ambulance crews.
But, firefighters aren’t ready to hit the streets just yet.
Sheedy said the recruits still must complete the department’s fire academy, which won’t end until mid-December.
“This group has a lot of work ahead of them, but they’ve really given it their all and that’s what we’re looking for in our firefighters,” said Sheedy