How the FDNY EMS Academy adapted to continue training during the pandemic

After a brief pause, instruction resumed during the pandemic but with changes, including virtual lectures and modified in-person labs


By Leila Merrill

BAYSIDE, N.Y. — The FDNY EMS Academy at Fort Totten has adapted its training program due to the pandemic.

In a tour with CBS New York, leaders at the academy talked about modified in-person labs, the creation of the cadaver lab and other ways they have adapted.

Students normally spend about nine and a half months in training at Fort Totten and in the field. But when the pandemic started last year, training stopped.

“For a couple of weeks, we actually had to suspend our program and send all our students back to the field so they could help out EMS operations in the field,” said Cesar Escobar, chief of the academy.

A few months later, training resumed but with changes, including virtual lectures and modified in-person labs due to a lack of access to hospitals.

A cadaver lab was established in a classroom where doctors, anatomists and instructors lead each station in the lab.

“We bring cadavers in so our students can practice endotracheal intubation, intraosseous insertion, needle decompression, which are some skills that you actually have to do on a human to get good at,” Escobar said.

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