Firefighters head back to the classroom to keep you safe

Local News

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — Several Rapid City firefighters are heading back to the classroom, all to keep you safe. This is part of a new qualification by the Committee on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs.

Last year, the Rapid City Fire Department responded to more than 18,000 calls for service. About 16,000 of those were medical related. That’s why the Paramedic Program is essential.

“We want to provide a better service and we want to be more qualified to take care of those individuals out in the community,” Steven Gilbert, firefighter medic & paramedic student, said.

The students will spend 650 hours in the classroom over the course of the program. And they will spend 600 hours in a clinical setting like hospitals and ambulances.

“It’s been pretty challenging we have a lot of information coming at us pretty quick but we have a lot of good teachers. We also get to have some guest speakers in as well that know the information so all of it’s there for us to succeed so it’s just us bringing the effort at this point,” Gilbert said.

Paramedic program instructor, Lt. Jason Reitz, says the students are in class from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

“We are doing this program in less than a year’s time frame and so it’s a very fast paced program. They are learning everything from ANP all the way through the complete cardiovascular system and everything in between,” Lt. Jason Reitz, paramedic program director, said.

These seven students participate in lectures and a lab portion in each class.

“We are doing this to help our community whether it’s citizens we have here or they’re traveling public that go through and visit the western side of South Dakota,” Lt. Reitz said.

The Paramedic Program Director says the Rapid City Fire Department is one of only a few fire departments nationwide that has its own accreditation program.

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