Schenectady class nets cash and goods for rescuers
Firefighters offer training to peers
SCHENECTADY Firefighters and police across the Capital Region brought their unused materials and equipment to Schenectady last year in exchange for much-needed medical training.
Some departments paid cash, but many others offered goods instead, Fire Chief Michael Della Rocco said.
The department will do much more of that this year, he added.
“It’s just one more way to bring some cash to the city,” he said.
The training class was for tactical medics, including SWAT team members and paramedics. The goal is to teach paramedics how to support a tactical law enforcement team, according to the course description.
Mayor Gary McCarthy said firefighters decided to open the training to anyone because other departments didn’t have an officer trained to teach tactical medicine. That wasn’t a problem in Schenectady, where trained firefighter-paramedics were available to teach the class at no cost during their shifts.
“We’ve got a group of highly skilled individuals,” he said.
When some departments called to offer materials instead, Della Rocco worked out a system to accept items in lieu of cash.
That worked out well, McCarthy said.
“Everybody’s kind of in the same boat. We’re scrounging for resources,” he said. “It works to everybody’s advantage.”
It made the accounting a little tricky, though. City officials said they weren’t sure exactly how much the city had gotten from offering the training.
But McCarthy said it was a good beginning.
“It’s the type of thing I’d like to do — but it has to be done within the existing staff,” he said.
City officials are “always looking” for opportunities to bring in revenue through their normal services, he added.
“We do snow-plowing for the school district,” he said. “We collect the garbage in Scotia. Every day we look at these things.”
The fire department routinely comes in under budget, partly from careful staffing but also with help from events like the tactical medic class. Della Rocco first described the revenue from the class in the hopes of persuading the City Council to approve the money for another deputy fire chief, but the council has declined to vote on the matter.