Meet...Yosef Travis

Yosef has been an instructor at Emergency Care Programs for some time and is happy to share his EMT history with our students. Let us know if you have any questions for Yosef.

When did you decide you want to become an EMT?
On my second day of college, I walked into the student run EMS squad and signed up. My brother and his wife had both volunteered there, so it was the first thing on my mind. I ended up spending all my time there between classes and held a variety of officer positions.

What 1 event (good/bad/ugly) in life factored into your decision to save lives and become an EMT?
Nothing earth shattering led to my decision to become an EMT. My first job was in human services, so I guess it just made sense for me. I was already volunteering at an EMS squad when I took the EMT course, so I'm sure the peer influence helped too!

Tell me the best way to find an EMT job?
It really depends on what you want to do with your EMT certification. However, many EMTs start in private transport companies and either work their way up or move along to hospital/municipal positions once they have some experience.

What is your Level of Certification? EMT/Paramedic/Lab Instructor/Lead Instructor
I'm an Emergency Medical Technician – Basic (EMT-B) and a Certified Instructor Coordinator (CIC).

How challenging is it being an EMT?
It's challenging because there is a high level of stress that comes with being involved in EMS. It's also physically challenging, so staying fit is an absolute necessity. I encourage my students to think about why they want to be an EMT. I hope that they can focus on those reasons when the work gets tough.

How do you keep sharp in your own skills?
It's actually easier for me as an instructor to keep sharp, because I interact with a whole range of EMTs and I use my conversations with them to constantly improve my own practice. I recommend to all EMTs that they find opportunities to review and improve their skills by reading journals, participating in skill drills, and talking to experienced EMTs who strive to stay on top of their game.

How's the comradery on the job with your fellow EMTs?
There are a lot of truly dedicated EMTs and paramedics who I have met who have helped me and influenced me as an EMT. With these colleagues, there's always the awareness that we are all there for each other and for the same end goal. Sure, there are some who are just "punching the timecard", but much of the EMS community in NYS is comprised of people who really care, about their patients, about their partners, and about the community.

What advice can you give others who want to become an EMT?
Clarify to yourself what your motivation is for becoming an EMT. Seek out mentors who will guide you and offer a listening ear when the going gets tough. And above all, never mock any patient (even among your colleagues), because it's a slippery slope once you stop respecting the people for whom you are supposed to care.

Why do you enjoy teaching your students?
For me, it is truly satisfying to take a new class on a journey through the ins and outs of prehospital care and see them go on to become dedicated EMTs (and perhaps EMS educators)!

How do you encourage others to follow this career path?
Everyone who takes a class with me has already made a decision to become an EMT. It is my responsibility to help them nurture that original idea and develop a strong knowledge and skill base, so they can reach their true potential in EMS.

Meet...Todd Rosenhaus

Todd has been an instructor with Emergency Care Programs for many years and is happy to share his EMT history with our students. Let us know if you have any questions for Todd ?

When did you decide you want to become an EMT?
It all started because of the TV show "EMERGENCY" that I watched (and still watch) when I was growing up.

What 1 event (good/bad/ugly) in life factored into your decision to save lives and become an EMT?
Knowing First aid has always been in my family, so I was taught early before becoming an EMT. It was always important to know I had the potential to save a life. Becoming an EMT has just given me more tools to work with.

Did you volunteer / intern as an EMT before you made it your career?
I have been a volunteer for over 30 years. EMS is an unpaid career for me. I do it to give back to the community.

Tell me the best way to find an EMT job?
You need to work hard and do your leg-work, every ambulance company is different. You need to be confident.

What is your Level of Certification? EMT/Paramedic/Lab Instructor/Lead Instructor
I am an EMT and a Senior Instructor (CIC). I also hold a National Registry EMT certificate.

How challenging is it being an EMT?
It's only challenging if you do not put time into your class. Everything is not going to be handed to you on a "Silver Platter". You need to study, practice, and not be afraid to ask questions.

How do you keep sharp in your own skills?
Besides performing my skills on the ambulance, every time I talk to students about a skill, or demonstrate hands on about a skill, I keep sharp.

How is your family life affected – are they supportive of your job?
They always support me; they understand why I do it so maybe they will follow.

What is your most inspirational "save"?
Any save that a person is able to survive is inspirational.

What was your greatest "loss" on the job and how did it affect you?
The greatest loss is that my best friend cannot work with me anymore. He was hurt while working on 9/11 and because of his injuries, and he cannot work. So for a while it was hard to talk to him about EMS but it has been getting better.

How's the comradery on the job with your fellow EMTs?
It's a second family.

What advice can you give others who want to become an EMT?
You need to want it not just for a job but to care that you will make a difference.

Why do you enjoy teaching your students?
I love knowing that I am teaching people who want to make a difference.

How do you encourage others to follow this career path?
I tell them the truth: you are going to have good, bad and ugly days and you need to take it one day at a time. But just think! You will be making a difference to someone.

Words of wisdom for our students / future-EMT's?
Practice, Practice, Practice

Meet....Karen Fiorello

Karen has been an instructor with Emergency Care Programs for over a decade and is happy to share her EMT history with our students. Let us know if you have any questions for Karen :)

When did you decide you want to become an EMT?
I actually took the class in high school but was unable to take the state exam due to some personal issues but I loved it. Since then, I became a police officer and then was able to find the time later on to go back and take another original class. I passed with flying colors and I decided that I also wanted to teach people how to save a life.

What 1 event (good/bad/ugly) in life factored into your decision to save lives and become an EMT?
I delivered a baby as a police officer and I knew then I needed to get my EMT Certification. The baby was fine.

Did you volunteer / intern as an EMT before you made it your career?
I volunteered and I still volunteer. I give back to my community in Long Island by volunteering for my local fire house.

Tell me the best way to find an EMT job?
Perseverance and coming to the realization that all jobs are important whether you are doing transport or 911. So apply to many places and understand that no matter who you work for , your job is to save lives.

What is your Level of Certification? EMT/Paramedic/Lab Instructor/Lead Instructor
EMT/CLI/ CIC Lead Instructor

How challenging is it being an EMT?
It's very challenging. You never know what your next call is going to be and no two calls are ever the same. They might be similar but each person is an individual - treat them as such and with respect.

How do you keep sharp in your own skills?
I keep sharp by volunteering and keeping myself out there. Also when I teach I practice my skills as well as teach them.

How is your family life affected – are they supportive of your job?
Sometimes it's hard when you get calls in the middle of the night or stuck on snow standbys but the family supports my decision and is very proud if me

What is your most inspirational "save"?
I have had many but I guess saving my great aunt when she went into respiratory arrest she was 85. She is now 88 and is wonderful- she teaches tap dancing to 3 classes and takes the train from Brooklyn to the city for ballroom dancing .

What was your greatest "loss" on the job and how did it affect you?
9/11 as an EMT and a police officer I will never be the same there are no words to describe how I feel and how badly it has affected me.

How's the comradery on the job with your fellow EMTs?
Working with other EMT's and paramedics is interesting to say the least. Most have a good sense of humor and joke around when the time is right. I think this is kind of a coping mechanism to help deal with the sadder aspects of the job. Most everyone knows when it's time to be serious though.

What advice can you give others who want to become an EMT?
We are a family with both ups and downs but we always have each other's back and will be there when anyone of them needs help. They are your family.

Why do you enjoy teaching your students?
I love being able to give information that may one day save a person's life , I love when they are enthusiastic ... the joy of seeing students so excited when they pass and knowing that I had a hand in it and maybe one day seeing them out in the field.

How do you encourage others to follow this career path?
I encourage them by letting them know they need a passion for this job and that the rewards when you save someone will be so worth it.

Words of wisdom for our students / future-EMT's?
Treat everyone like they are your family members. Practice like the EMT'S you want to come to your house to take care of your family members. Have a sense of humor; if nothing affects you any longer and you have empathy or compassion talk to someone... but never let it get that far.


Meet...Jason Rabinowitz

Jason has been an instructor with Emergency Care Programs for a very long time and is happy to share his EMT history with our students. Let us know if you have any questions for Jason :)

When did you decide you want to become an EMT?
I decided to become an EMT in 1992. It was kind of a "second" career for me. I was originally an electronics/camera salesman.

What 1 event (good/bad/ugly) in life factored into your decision to save lives and become an EMT?
No real one event factored into my decision to become an EMT. Another salesman I worked with told me he was taking the class and said I should take it with him, so I did. The rest is history lol.

Did you volunteer / intern as an EMT before you made it your career?
I actually was volunteering as soon as I was cpr certified which took place in the very beginning of the EMT class. I started off learning how to dispatch and in a few weeks, I was riding on the ambulance with my cpr certification, assisting the EMT's on the ambulance. Once class ended, I took the EMT exam with on-site scoring on a Thursday night, which I passed. I went to a private ambulance company the next day to apply for a job. The following Sunday night I received a phone call from that company asking if I can report to work the next morning (Monday) I was lucky, I had a full time EMT position within 3 days of taking my state exam.

Tell me the best way to find an EMT job?
Most of the private ambulance companies have a pretty high turn over rate, so that's probably a good place to start. After working at the "privates" for a few months or longer, I recommend applying for FDNY and hospital based 911 ambulance positions

What is your Level of Certification? EMT/Paramedic/Lab Instructor/Lead Instructor
I am a paramedic, and a CIC.

How challenging is it being an EMT?
Being an EMT has many different challenges. Everything from making split second, potentially life-saving decisions, to an adrenaline rush responding to a "hot" call. There are also many times where things can get quite mundane like treating a patient for minor bruise or a head cold. This job will expose a person to different cultures, standards of living and let you see "what goes on behind closed doors"

How do you keep sharp in your own skills?
I don't have a problem keeping my skills sharp, since I am an instructor and also work as a supervisor at a private ambulance company.

How is your family life affected – are they supportive of your job?
My wife isn't always happy with the hours I work, but she understands that I don't work a Mon-Fri 9-5 job. My kids (ages 8 and 14) love it and are always asking me if anything interesting happened during my day.

What is your most inspirational "save"?
I have had several pre-hospital "saves" over my career. One that stands out the most was at a concert I was working. An elderly woman and her daughter were sitting in the front row and waiting for the show to start. Her daughter decided she wanted to take a "selfie" with her mom with the stage in the background. As she was about to take the picture, her mom suddenly collapsed onto the floor of the arena beside her. An EMT we had stationed next to the stage was summoned and immediately began cpr. I as a paramedic was stationed upstairs in our main first aid office. I responded, along with my partner to the scene. We continued cpr with the EMT while placing the patient on a stretcher and began ALS care for her. We started an IV, gave medications and defibrillated the patient. She regained a pulse while in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. Approximately 2 weeks later she was discharged and walked out of the hospital.

What was your greatest "loss" on the job and how did it affect you?
No one likes dealing with children. Unfortunately I have been on several calls involving children. One of my earliest calls of my career involved a 12 year old boy who was having a severe asthma attack and passed out in the lobby right in front of the apartment he lived in with his family. We did CPR and performed other life saving measures, but he did not survive.

How's the comradery on the job with your fellow EMTs?
Working with other EMT's and paramedics is interesting to say the least. Most have a good sense of humor and joke around when the time is right. I think this is kind of a coping mechanism to help deal with the sadder aspects of the job. Most everyone knows when it's time to be serious though.

What advice can you give others who want to become an EMT?
Like I tell my new students on the first day of class, being an EMT isn't the most financially rewarding job one can have, but it is definitely one of the most gratifying jobs you can have.

What advice can you give others who want to become an EMT?
Like I tell my new students on the first day of class, being an EMT isn't the most financially rewarding job one can have, but it is definitely one of the most gratifying jobs you can have.

Why do you enjoy teaching your students?
I enjoy teaching because I can combine the course materials with some of my real life experiences. In addition, I like answering questions from students and explaining the "why's and how's" of being an EMT.

How do you encourage others to follow this career path?
By telling them it's not a difficult job most of the time, but there are times when you will be called upon to help another person while everyone else is just standing around wondering what to do next. It's a great feeling to have helped someone who is sick or injured and especially a great feeling knowing you just saved someone's life. I also encourage them to choose a career path based on teaching EMT's if they feel they have gotten tired of being on an ambulance all the time and want to try something a little different but related to being an EMT.

Words of wisdom for our students / future-EMT's?
I got through my original EMT course and my paramedic course by looking at those who were already in the profession and saying to myself "if he/she can do it, so can I" It takes time, dedication, determination, and a willingness to learn new things to become an EMT. Like I mentioned earlier, you will not become moniterally rich from working as an EMT, but it will definitely reward you spiritually.