‘It’s just a win-win for the fire department, for Amarillo College, and the citizens in Amarillo’: AC, AFD provide paramedic education

Published: Sep. 21, 2023 at 9:43 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 21, 2023 at 10:11 PM CDT
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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Amarillo College and the Amarillo Fire Department have joined forces to provide EMT and paramedic training to students and firefighters.

This all started when the Amarillo Fire Department came to Amarillo College with the need to teach personnel EMT and paramedic instruction.

“The Amarillo Fire Department has been pushing for paramedic education. So we have a lot of our guys that are attending paramedic school. One of those current classes has about 13 members in it are going through an Amarillo College class,” explains Jeff Harbin, District Chief of EMS for Amarillo Fire Department.

Because of this, there was an influx of students, so much so that professors at Amarillo College needed help.

“That’s why this partnership is really important. So we can use some of their firefighters who are already EMT certified to help train and teach these classes,” says Chris Sharp, Vice President of Business Affairs and Amarillo College.

Now, already trained firefighters will work alongside AC professors to teach a class to both the community college students and Amarillo firefighters to further their education in paramedics.

“It’s just a win-win for the fire department, for Amarillo College, and the citizens in Amarillo. Having a firefighter that’s trained in EMT procedures is just important. Often times they’re the first on the scene and so them having that knowledge and those skills to treat injuries is just really important,” says Sharp.

This agreement will have an initial term of three years. The reason the city became involved is so funding could be approved.

“As I send an instructor over there hour for hour they will basically reimburse us that instructor rate back to the city and then back to the fire department to kind of help support that,” explains Harbin.

Both AC and AFD say this arrangement has a positive outcome for everyone.

“Obviously, it’s in both our best interests to be able to produce paramedics,” says Harbin.

“Getting real-world experience from instructors is just really important. You know, you can read stuff in a book or on the computer but until you have just real-life experience with a professor, that’s what’s really important and really good about this program,” says Sharp.

27 members of the Amarillo Fire Department are currently going through paramedic school to better serve the Panhandle.

The class will take place at Amarillo College’s west campus with a hybrid option to accommodate the firefighter’s schedule.