ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - A group of Albany students will be the first in the state to earn a degree to be both fire fighters and emergency medical technicians.
Albany Technical College unveiled the new Fire and Emergency Occupation degree Tuesday morning.
With the new degree, students are being taught how to be both fire fighters and emergency medical technicians.
If there's an emergency, like a fire or a person in need of medical help, whoever is closest to the scene, a fire fighter or an EMT, could help.
The training could save lives in situations where every second counts.
“I will be your captain for this trip. Frank Flanigan is my name," said Frank Flanigan, the Fire Science Program chairperson.
The vessel Flanigan is steering now is a fire truck. He’s using it to teach the next generation of first responders.
“You’ll always have a job driving an ambulance. You’ll always have a job being a fire fighter,” said Flanigan.
But now, at Albany Technical College, you can be both.
“You know the more you can do as one person, the better outcome it is for your patients, or the occupants of a fire,” said Cody Bruer.
Bruer is currently going through paramedic school. He’s worked in departments that are strictly fire or strictly EMS. He’s also worked at one that was both.
Now, Albany Tech will be the first college in the state to offer a degree training fire fighters on the work of paramedics and vice versa.
“The more educated you can be, the better you’ll be for your community,” said Bruer.
And in a situation where every minute counts, Flanigan said knowing how to do both, no matter the uniform, can save lives.
“That’s what the industry wants. Industry driven, industry’s getting it,”said Flanigan.
It’s estimated that by the year 2026, first responders will have to have a college degree. The Fire and Emergency Services Occupation Degree not only creates a new, specialized and competitive workforce, it trains the men and women to be their best when you’re at your worst.
“If they at least have the EMS training, then they’re more than likely to be a better help when they respond,” said Taylor Watson, who is in the Paramedic Program and went through the Fire Science Programs.
The new degree will be offered in the Fall.
Flanigan said the degree will open the door for promotions in the fields.