According to report SUNYSuffolk, Suffolk County (NY) Community College’s (SCCC’s) Emergency Medical Care and Fire Programs Coordinator, Professor, and Assistant Academic Chair Matt Zukosky was looking for a creative solution to train and keep up with the latest generation of first responders in Southampton Village amid the then-growing COVID-19 pandemic.
A 30-year fire and emergency medical services veteran (EMS), with 23 of those years as a paramedic, Zukosky proposed bringing instruction from SCCC’s campuses straight to Southampton Village in partnership with the Southampton Village Volunteer Ambulance and the Village’s brand-new volunteer ambulance facility, which is equipped with state-of-the-art classrooms large enough to allow students to adhere to social distancing rules while still learning in person and hands-on.
Southampton Village Volunteer Ambulance Chief Cheyne Finocchiaro said that their training courses are typically run by Suffolk County through the Department of Health, with few options on the East End. As a result, the SCCC and Southampton agreed to offer SCCC’s Emergency Medical Care I course on Tuesday and Thursday evenings to 12 students at the Southampton Village Volunteer Ambulance’s new Windmill Lane facility.
National data on the number of emergency medical technician (EMT) openings are unavailable, but pre-COVID-19 data did show that the paramedic/EMT field was growing quickly. Data from 2019 from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed that the number of EMT and paramedic jobs was expected to grow by 17,000, a six-percent growth rate, higher than the average growth rate of four percent.
Zukosky said the current class will graduate its members next month, and plans have begun to continue the remote training partnership this fall.