FEMA grant helps train 12 Las Cruces firefighters to become certified paramedics

El Paso News

Firefighter Eric Palma, left, and Lt. Cody Richards are two of LCFD’s 47 certified paramedics already on staff. A nearly $400,000 grant from FEMA will help train 12 more firefighters to become certified paramedics.

El Paso, Texas (KTSM) – The Las Cruces Fire Department has received a nearly $400,000 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help train 12 firefighters to become certified paramedics.

The Assistance to Firefighter Grant, awarded by FEMA, is for $393,186. To accept the grant, the City of Las Cruces must match 10 percent of the award or about $39,320.

The grant and matching funds will help LCFD bolster its number of paramedics by 12. LCFD currently has 47 certified paramedics across all ranks. Additionally, four LCFD firefighters are in the final phase of the certification process that should be completed by this fall. Five other firefighters began taking classes for paramedic certification this spring.

“The grant and matching funds will cover everything needed for the course aside from uniforms,” said Deputy Fire Chief of Operations Justin Allen. “This is great news as we continue to strive to provide the highest level of care for the citizens of Las Cruces.”

“The announcement of this grant award is exciting for the Las Cruces Fire Department,” said Chief Jason Smith. “Our firefighters and staff are highly dedicated and caring individuals who share a common mission of serving our community with compassion.”

The Las Cruces Fire Department has moved quickly and initiated a competitive internal process to select the 12 firefighters for advanced paramedic training. Once chosen, the 12 firefighters will enroll in the NMSU-Dona Ana Community College paramedic program for the academic portion of the course work. They will collaborate with local healthcare providers to provide the practical experience section.

The anticipated date for the 12 new paramedics to start practicing in the field is in the fall of 2022.

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