Last week Mayor Martin Walsh joined Boston EMS to celebrate the graduation of 10 Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) recruits in a socially distanced, outdoor ceremony at LoPresti Park in East Boston.
This graduating class will be assigned to 911 ambulances here and across the city, strengthening the City of Boston’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS).
“In our lifetime, we’ve never seen a crisis quite like the COVID-19 pandemic. And through it all, the men and women at Boston EMS have been on the front lines, leading the City’s response with incredible courage and passion,” said Mayor Walsh. “I’m proud to be here to congratulate the men and women graduating today as they join the best emergency medical services department in the country. “
Today’s ceremony formally acknowledges 10 recruits’ successful completion of a rigorous post-hire training program for EMTs at Boston EMS. Already state-certified EMTs prior to hire, this graduating class, completed an additional seven months of classroom and field training. Known as “Recruit Class 2020-1,” the recruits were trained in a variety of life-threatening emergency situations, including active shooter incidents, hazardous materials exposure, transportation accidents, recovery services, human trafficking and mass casualty incidents. The training program also included a month-long reassignment to assist with the City of Boston’s COVID-19 pandemic response, supporting field operations, dispatch operations and enhanced disinfectant procedures.
The recruits graduating at LoPresti Park last week were Edir Abid, Keelan Berg, Jocelyn Brandao, Hannah Furgang, Zachary Keay, Jesse Lee, Andrei Vazhenin, Daniel Bohling, Ryan Hufnagel and Mark Ingram.
“Their rigorous training academy began when the City only had one confirmed case of COVID-19 and it continued through the surge of the pandemic in Boston. This recruit class has seen firsthand the courage, passion and heart it takes to do this job,” said Boston EMS Chief James Hooley. “Welcome to Boston EMS. You are serving in historic times and you are ready.”
This academy class responded to nearly 1,400 9-1-1 calls during their training. Those emergency incidents included baby deliveries, cardiac arrests, motor vehicle accidents, shootings, stabbings, strokes, overdoses and more. With guidance from seasoned EMT field training officers, recruits are not only prepared to care for patients, regardless of the circumstances, they also now understand the level of care, clinical excellence and professionalism expected of Boston EMS EMTs.
Last year, Mayor Walsh said he had heard enough of long wait times that some Eastie residents, especially the sick and elderly, were reporting when it came to Boston EMS response times.
The Mayor ordered a second dedicated ambulance to be stationed in the neighborhood. Walsh used overtime funds to pay for the second ambulance in Eastie for the remainder of this Fiscal Year.
Walsh then earmarked funds to have the second ambulance permanently stationed in the neighborhood through a deal with Massport.
In May 2019 Mayor Walsh, Boston EMS and Massport joined together for a ribbon cutting ceremony to open a new EMS station on Logan Airport property.
In 2018 Walsh announced a new initiative that uses data to change the way EMTs are deployed to areas including the Boston Common and Recovery Road area to improve patient outcomes and ambulance utilization. As part of this effort, funding was set aside for a Community Assistance Team to respond to calls that do not require a patient transport, resulting in more efficient use of ambulance utilization.
Under Walsh, citywide response times for Priority 1 calls were 6.3 minutes in 2018, down from 6.4 minutes in 2017. Boston EMS responds to more than 125,000 calls all across the city each year, 7,700 of those incidents are in East Boston
Boston EMS is one of the busiest municipal EMS providers in New England, responding to more than 125,000 emergency medical incidents per year.