Leland Township Fire and Rescue launches region’s first ‘paramedic apprenticeship’

More paramedics are on their way to northern Michigan.

Leland Township Fire and Rescue is the first department in the region to receive a paramedic apprenticeship program.

This comes after a brand new partnership with Northwest Michigan Works! and gives more people the opportunity to train for high-demand jobs.

Zorran VanDandt has only been a firefighter/EMT for Leland Township Fire and Rescue for about a year.

Now he has the opportunity to become a paramedic, something he has wanted to do since he started.

“Most of the departments here have all-purpose firefighters, so firefighters, paramedics, medical firefighters,” VanDandt says. “Being an EMT is a starting point in becoming a doctor and many of us want to be able to provide better care and more care to our patients.”

The program includes 4,000 hours of paid on-the-job learning, as well as over 600 hours of instruction through Munson Regional EMS.

“It’s a good thing that school is hard, it sort of prepares you for it, but it’s a huge time commitment away from your family because you’re in school full time, on top of doing your clinics and on top of working full-time,” says VanDandt.

Leland Township Fire and Rescue Chief Dan Besson said due to staffing shortages he can only afford to send one firefighter to the program at this time, but feels very confident about his choice.

“It’s a bit, probably scary for him, because he doesn’t know what to expect,” Besson said. “But all the guidelines are there and I’m very happy that Zorran wanted to be the one to take part in it and he’s going to do an amazing job, he’ll be a great paramedic.”

VanZandt will begin training in August.

Once it’s finished, they hope to send even more firefighters to the program so they can be certified for free.

“I was very, very excited and now that it’s set in stone, it’s much easier for future people who want to do this program to do so,” says VanZandt.

To learn more about how to become a firefighter, paramedic, or paramedic, you can visit their website.

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