Leland Township Fire and Rescue Begins 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 chance to train in the high demand job.

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’s been wanting to do since he started.

“Most departments up here have cross-trained firefighters, so firefighters, EMTs, firefighter medics,” says VanDandt. “Being an EMT is a starting point to become a medic and a lot of us want to be able to provide better care and more care for our patients.”

The program includes 4,000 hours of paid, on the job learning, along with more than 600 hours of teaching through Munson Regional EMS.

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

Leland Township Fire and Rescue Chief Dan Besson says due to short staffing, he could only afford to send one firefighter to the program right now, but feels very confidant with his choice.

“It’s a little, probably nerve-wracking for him, because he doesn’t know what to expect,” says Besson. “But all the guidelines are there and I’m very excited that Zorran wanted to be the one to participate in it and he’s going to do outstanding, he’ll be a great paramedic.”

VanZandt will begin training in August.

Once he’s finished, they hope to send even more firefighters to the program so they can become certified free of cost.

“I was very, very excited and now that this is set in stone, it makes it a lot easier for future people who want to go through this program to do so,” says VanZandt.

To learn more about becoming a firefighter, EMT or paramedic, you can visit their website.