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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.