Recruitment program that pays for training recruits Vineland 13 EMTS nets

VINELAND — Being one of 13 emergency medical technicians to be sworn in Friday was a personal achievement for Saly Brown.

The ceremony in front of a crowded city council chamber was her moment, the reward for hours of hard work as she changed careers from casino business to public safety.

Brown couldn’t help but glare proudly at the woman beside him, repeating the oath in unison. After all, that’s what moms do.

Dressed in a matching gray uniform stood his daughter Jessica Brown, now his colleague in emergency medical services.

For the first time, the city has sworn in a mother-daughter EMT duo, said fire captain Carlos Mercado, an unofficial department historian.

There was a lot of history in the town hall celebration.

The Vineland Fire Department welcomed its first female career firefighter Kaylynn “Kay” Low, who was sworn in with fellow firefighters Eric Peck and Brian Wheeler Jr.

A record number of 13 EMTS have made their commitment.

Eight of the new EMTs — the Browns, Jared Castro, Moses Cruz, Glenn Frye Jr., Timothy Meehan, Jesse Rivera and Noah Staashaught — reflect the success of a new effort to attract high-demand recruits by removing barriers to training.

Earlier this year, the city partnered with Rowan College in South Jersey and the Cumberland County Workforce Development Department for a new program that paid recruits a $15 hourly wage while in training. to become career paramedics.

Classes were held between January 14 and February 28 at the Rowan College of South Jersey Cumberland campus. The mornings were devoted to teaching computer science and the afternoon classes focused on clinical studies. To earn their certification, each recruit had to pass a national exam, said fire chief Lou Tramontana, who called the program the first of its kind in this field. Recruits also receive over 100 hours of “accompanied” training.

Jared Castro, a 2019 Delsea Regional High School graduate, was considering studying to become an occupational therapist when he heard about the new training.

“It was too good to pass up,” Castro said, noting that it solved his financial and schedule issues. “It takes a lot of stress away.”

“It was something new, a little faster,” Castro said. “I think it worked really well for us.”

The graduates left as a close-knit team.

“I really enjoyed it,” Castro said. “A lot of these guys I have a really good relationship with, I think we have a really good batch.”

“We’re always there for each other,” Castro said, grateful for the turn of events.

“Right place, right time,” he said.

Ditto for Jessica Brown, a Class 1 police officer from Vineland.

“When I first heard about the class, I thought it was a pretty cool idea,” Brown said, telling her mom she wanted to take the emergency services course. .

“Then my mom said, ‘I want to try it too,'” she said.

Saly Brown said the opportunity gave her the boost she needed.

“I had wanted to do this for a long time, but never had the chance,” she said. “I’m older, so I didn’t think I could do it.”

Mother and daughter teamed up and pulled through.

“We made sure to study and made sure we finished our tests on time,” Jessica Brown said. “We tested blood pressure on each other.”

“We encouraged each other to do better,” said Saly Brown.

The women did not have time to celebrate their achievement. Mom works during the day, her daughter works at night.

Covid restrictions have hampered public celebrations of the swearing in of five paramedics already on the streets. Paul Fallon, Zander Henderson, Michele Herrera-Reyna, Alison Sparacio and Daniel Walters Jr. got their spotlight late.

Paramedics Christina D’Ambrosio and Richard Jacobsen have been retroactively promoted to senior paramedics, a swearing-in also delayed by the pandemic.

“They know what needs to be done, they come in and they do it,” said Kelly Soracco, chief of the city’s emergency medical services.

Brian Murray Sr. sworn in as the city’s fire officer. He fills the position left vacant by the retirement of Michael Cifaloglio.

Congratulating everyone who was hired and promoted, Tramontana welcomed them.

“We are here for you, the supervisors, the bosses, your colleagues. If you need to talk about your day, a call, or if you need advice, whatever you need, please don’t hesitate to contact us,” the chef said.

Tramontana also had a message for family and friends of first responders.

“These new members are beginning grueling and potentially exhausting careers,” the leader said. “Encourage them.”

Deborah M. Marko covers breaking news, public safety and education for The Daily Journal, Courier-Post and Burlington County Times. Do you have a story idea? Call 856-563-5256 or email [email protected] Follow on Twitter: @dmarko_dj Instagram: Help support local journalism with a subscription.

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