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Picking back up on Our Trailblazer and Innovator Spotlight series this week, we take a look at the Prince Georges County (MD) Fire & Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department Registered Apprenticeship program.  The apprenticeship is a partnership developed between the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR) Apprenticeship Division, the Prince Georges County Fire / EMS Training Academy, the Prince Georges County Fire & EMS Department and the Prince George's County Professional Fire Fighters & Paramedics Association, Local 1619 to provide comprehensive, quality training and education programs for all fire, rescue, and emergency medical services personnel.   This effort is helping make the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Training Academy become a regional leader in providing premier fire, rescue, and emergency medical services training and education through the use of consistent quality training strategies within a structured environment, with training provided by qualified instructors. 

The Maryland DLLR, Prince Georges County Fire & EMS Department, and IAFF Local 1619 worked together to develop the apprenticeship program and make it available to all sworn members of the Prince George's County Fire & EMS Department.  This Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee (JATC) Program is a 36 month apprenticeship that requires the individual to demonstrate skills proficiency in several job performance requirements, as listed in National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) 1001 Fire Fighter I & II and sections of NFPA 1002 Fire Apparatus Driver Operator and essential job functions listed in the Department of Transportation Regulations for Emergency Medical Technicians.

The job of a fire fighter requires high levels of endurance and strength.  To be accepted into the apprenticeship program, a Service member will be required to take a written aptitude test, and complete the Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT), which consists of eight physical tasks that simulate actual job duties on the fire ground.  This test is physically demanding and requires that Service members be physically fit to be successful.  It is a pass or fail test consisting of: 1) a 60 step stair climb while wearing a 75 lb. vest; 2) hose drag; 3) equipment carry; 4) ladder raise & extension; 5) forcible entry; 6) search; 7) dummy drag; 8) ceiling breach and pull.   

Candidates receive eight weeks of test preparation or practice to help pass the CPAT. Successful candidates are required to attend and pass a 20 week Career Recruit School. This program will provide the basic skills for an individual to become certified as a Fire Fighting and Emergency Medical Technician.  Once the individual has successfully completed the Career Recruit School, they are enrolled into the 36 month apprenticeship program, where each individual must show a mastery of the basic skills they learned during Career Recruit School.  The apprenticeship program combines class-room studies with on-the-job supervised training.

The Prince Georges County Fire & EMS Department Registered Apprenticeship program was recently   identified as a Trailblazer and Innovator program, which recognized innovative training models that embody the 21st century vision for apprenticeship, during the U.S. Department of Labor’s “OutEducate OutBuild OutInnovate Education and Action Summit” in commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the signing of the National Apprenticeship Act.  Assistant Chief Kenneth Fusco and Curriculum Specialist Craig Smith attended the event and were presented with a Certificate of Recognition presented by Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis, and Administrator of Apprenticeship John V. Ladd.

“Using Apprenticeship to train our Firefighters and EMS personnel has allowed us to ensure that the training received is consistent and is able to meet the high standards we require for our emergency responders,” said Craig Smith.

For more on the program, be sure to download and share the Prince Georges County Fire and EMS Department Apprenticeship Trailblazer and innovator Fact Sheet.  Also, for more on the Prince Georges County Fire & EMS Training Academy, please visit their Web Site

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