ATCEMS cadets graduate in front of family members for first time since COVID

The newest Austin-Travis County EMS cadet class celebrated graduation on Friday.

With a full room of leadership, council members, and family and friends, the field cadet class of 0722 was able to celebrate altogether.

Fourteen Austin-Travis County EMS cadets have been pinned, received their stethoscopes and certificates, and have officially graduated from the academy.

"I love seeing how they, where they start from and then where they end," ATCEMS Training Camp Captain Keri Cinquina said.

The cadets went through eight weeks of training.

"We pushed ourselves to find our maximum effort," ATCEMS Cadet Graduate Brendan Taglianetti said.

They learned how to be clinicians, not just technicians.

"The difference is using your brain to think through that call, not just I'm doing this because my clinical operating guidelines said I do it, but because I know why I need to do it," Captain Cinquina said.

This swearing-in ceremony was the first where family members were able to be involved and celebrate with their graduates since the pandemic.

"You could see how happy they were to have their family members there, to have their family members come up and pin them that badge, is so important, and it means so much to them," Cinquina said.

During the pandemic, EMS staffing took a hit.

"One third of all EMS providers in the country left the profession during the COVID-19 pandemic and yet you're here, and you want to join the organization, and you want to make a difference," ATCEMS Chief Robert Luckritz said.

Currently, Austin-Travis County EMS has about 575 staff members, but needs more than 660 to run properly. Some of these new graduates will be hitting the streets as soon as Sunday to help make the difference.

"People all around the world watch what we do in Austin, I believe our class understands this and that they're ready to help continue lead the way for this to be the best EMS system and department in the country," Taglianetti said.

It all started with training and Camp Captain Cinquina. As she gets promoted, this is her last class to send off.

"I'm going to miss it, I'm going to miss them. I can say that since I've been over here, I know every single employee in the department because I see all the new guys coming in, and I get close to them," Cinquina said.

The Austin-Travis county EMS application process is always open. The next academy is set to start in October.