GUILFORD COUNTY, N.C. -- The new year is bringing big changes to Guilford County Emergency Medical Services.
This week Training Manager Jan Paladino will begin teaching the department's largest paramedic class.
"Last year we graduated 8, so we doubled the number of students," Paladino said. "This will present us with some unique challenges like scheduling, and it will take longer since we have so many students."
Sixteen current Guilford County Emergency Medical Technicians or EMTs will train to become paramedics. While it is a big class, EMT Carrie Taylor said there is room to learn.
"They will put in as much as we put in," Taylor said. "So I think if we are willing to put in the extra effort, it will be a super successful class."
Most community colleges take about two years to train someone to become a paramedic.
But Guilford County Emergency Medical Services will speed up the course, covering a lot of material in nine and a half months.
The training schedule also includes several hours of clinical training and time with an experienced paramedic. The pace and class load doesn't scare EMT Franco Abad.
"To go through the education of a 2-year program in 9 to 10 months. Doesn't get much better than that," Abad said. "Plus, I am making a difference on the streets."
Paramedic training will allow Abad and others to become more involved during a medical emergency.
Paramedics have a higher skill set and can make assessments and administer medicines. The actions of a lead paramedic are one reason why Abad wants to do the job.
"To see my partner just be that cool and calm through a chaotic scene. I just want to be that," Abad said.
Paladino described another trait successful paramedics need to have.
"It takes someone that is compassionate, someone that wants to provide a service to people because that's what we do," Paladino said. "We provide a service. We are a service industry."
An average Guilford County paramedic class has between 8 to 12 EMTs.
The 16 EMTs training to become paramedics will graduate in October.