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Baltimore Fire Department Drops EMS Training

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Jessica Kartalija 3 Jessica Kartalija
Jessica Kartalija joined the Eyewitness News team during the summer of...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Just weeks after cheating allegations, the city fire chief says recruits are not to blame for having a copy of an EMS test before taking the exam.

Jessica Kartalija has the latest on the department’s investigation.

The city fire department says they’ve wrapped up an internal investigation into how 20 of their fire recruits received confidential copies of an emergency medical technician exam prior to a test taken June 14.

“No recruit, no student in any of these classes engaged in any type of cheating,” said Chief James Clack. “They were given materials that they shouldn’t have been given by instructional staff.”

The Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems exam was found in a room at the academy’s Pimlico training facility.

Those materials were confidential–but similar to other information handed out as practice exercises.  The department says cadets aren’t at fault and cites a breakdown in internal communication.

“Three instructors and two supervisors were recommended for charges related to improper certification of one EMT basic student,” Chief Clack said.

One supervisor was also recommended for charges related to student records.

Each member charged after the investigation is complete will have the opportunity to respond to the charges during a disciplinary hearing.

The department’s challenge now is getting EMTs in the field re-certified.  City fire has 1100 EMTs who require 24 hours of training every three years and 650 paramedics who require 72 hours of training every two years.

Still, Chief Clack is assuring city residents the department’s EMTs are qualified.

“All of the students who were tested on the day the document was found were re-tested using brand new practical test scenarios, and I am proud to say every student passed the new materials,” Chief Clack said.

The department will continue training firefighting but has voluntarily ended its EMS training program.

The city’s fire academy employed 11 full-time instructors.

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