Photo of the swearing-in of the members of the 103rd Recruit Class.A new class of future emergency medical technicians, the 103rd Class of the Baltimore County Fire-Rescue Academy, began its course of study this week at the Fire-Rescue Academy in Sparrows Point.

The class comprises 37 recruits -- 23 men and 14 women -- who reflect the diversity of our communities. They will graduate as Probationary Emergency Medical Technicians and will be assigned to one of the Fire Department's 25 career stations.

The 18-week program includes training in: Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA); basic exterior fire ground operations; hazardous material operations; operation of emergency vehicles; and Fire Department policies and procedures.

The recruits work under the direction of Fire Director Patrick Murphy, who oversees the FRA.

BCoFD, like other fire departments across the nation, experiences a heavy and growing demand for emergency medical service. Nearly 90,000 of the 124,000 calls handled by BCoFD last year were medical calls.