Tuesday, August 14, 2001

Firefighters graduate after starting over

Six were accused of possessing training tests

By David Eck
Enquirer Contributor

        FAIRFIELD — Six city firefighters who were forced to restart their paramedic training after being accused last year of improperly possessing training tests have completed their classes.

        “The majority of our people were on the dean's list each quarter and we're very, very pleased with their standing as graduates down at the University of Cincinnati,” Fairfield Fire Chief Donald Bennett said. “There was a strange series of events about a year and half ago, but they've done remarkably well.”

        The men — Jamie Ruhl, Tom Wagner, Chris Theders, Ron Lang, Randy McCreadie, and Richard Hall — successfully completed their classes about three weeks ago.

        The firefighters were about midway through a paramedic course at D. Russel Lee Career Technology Center last year when they allegedly improperly pos sessed training tests. They received suspensions from the city and were ordered to restart the program at UC.

        The new firefighter/paramedics enabled the department to add a third paramedic ambulance this month and supplement a contractor that provides paramedic service to the city, Chief Bennett said.

        The group was among 17 firefighters the city has hired over the last several years. The rest of the new personnel were already trained as paramedics, the chief said.

        Paramedics undergo a nine-month specialized training program of classroom and hands-on experience. They perform advanced life support on patients in the field.

        “I think, obviously, the advantage is bringing in the cardiac (care) as well as the ability to use intravenous drugs,” Chief Bennett said. “I think the greatest significance that the paramedics bring ... is certainly during trauma and cardiac arrest.”

        Last year the Fairfield department responded to 3,300 emergency medical services calls and 800 fire calls.

        The city will use its own paramedics and a contractor to provide advanced life support to the city. Fairfield has been maintaining paramedic service through a contractor since the 1980s.

        “It allows (the new city medics) an excellent opportunity to be mentored by individuals who have extensive knowledge,” Chief Bennett said. “We have an opportunity for them to gain a lot of experience and a lot of knowledge through these people.”


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