SVAC Trains Members of National Guard as Emergency Medical Technicians

Friday, February 18, 2022

A classroom full of men and women in camouflage fatigues may not appear to be a typical Scarsdale EMT class, but their drive to volunteer and make a difference in the community certainly is.

Eighteen men and women from New York's National Guard are being trained as Emergency Medical Technicians by the Scarsdale Volunteer Ambulance Corps. With little to no medical training, they have embraced the intensive 180-hour program that will culminate in a three-year certification as a New York State EMT.

They come to SVAC by way of Governor Kathy Hochul who ordered the training to help with the shortage of healthcare workers. The Department of Health asked nine EMS training centers across New York to assist with training 400 soldiers and airmen.

"There is a real need for EMTs and paramedics in our area and we couldn't be more proud to have been selected for this important mission," said SVAC President David Raizen. "To get through all 180 hours in five weeks is ambitious. Their accomplishment is a testament to our armed services in general, and the dedication of these eighteen men and women in particular."

In initially announcing the partnership, Governor Hochul said, "The Department of Health and our New York National Guard have been working side-by-side to fight this pandemic since Day 1, and I am proud to see this innovative plan between the two agencies come to fruition. When times get tough, New Yorkers put their heads together and find solutions."

This training builds on SVAC's overall response to COVID-19 over the last two years. On Friday, February 11, Westchester County Executive George Latimer presented a proclamation to SVAC for its efforts in providing COVID-19 testing and vaccinations to Westchester residents, as well as the launch of its community paramedicine program that has reduced rehospitalization among its patients.

But key to all of SVAC's success is having qualified EMTs and paramedics to care for patients.

"I have no doubt these soldiers and airmen will use the skills SVAC has imparted to them in their work with the Guard," said Raizen. "Hopefully, they catch the 'EMS bug' and we can welcome them on one of our ambulances."

The students will complete their coursework in March and sit for the New York State EMT exam.