Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and Chicago Fire Department (CFD) Commissioner Richard C. Ford II today announced 140 Firefighter EMTs and Fire Paramedics are graduating from the Fire Academy in a ceremony at Navy Pier.
"The men and women we celebrate today are joining a community of brothers and sisters in an institution that has helped shape Chicago’s history," said Mayor Lightfoot. "This next generation of Chicago's firefighters and paramedics deserves not only our admiration but our commitment to provide them with the world-class training and wellness supports they need to succeed. As mayor, I commit that the City will live up to that mission and obligation."
Today’s graduating class includes 33 military veterans, 20 former Chicago Police Officers and 11 former graduates of Chicago Public Schools. The 110 new Firefighters are 44% minority, and five are females.
In addition, this graduation ceremony also recognizes 30 new paramedics who will begin their district assignments with CFD Emergency Medical Services this month.
“Sometimes a profession chooses a person, but it requires special individuals, such as our candidates, to choose this vocation,” said Fire Commissioner Richard C. Ford II. “I like to think that working for the Chicago Fire Department is more of a calling. Our city is better off today than it was yesterday because of the promise these recruits have made to be there when people need them the most.”
Candidates graduating today completed a rigorous six-month training course at the Robert Quinn Fire Academy that includes courses for certification as an emergency medical technician (EMT) and Illinois Firefighter or Fire Paramedic. Training includes not only basic firefighting skills, but also operation in confined space and specific rescue techniques for search, rescue and extrication as well as coordinating medical services with hospitals, mental health clinicians and dispatchers.
Paramedics are licensed by an accredited institution before joining the Fire Department, and new members will begin their district assignments with CFD Emergency Medical Services this month. Following graduation, the new members will be assigned to various firehouses based on department needs and lottery selection.
Last September, Mayor Lightfoot recognized 131 Firefighter EMTs and Fire Paramedics during a graduation ceremony at Navy Pier.