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With calls up in wake of pandemic, Lexington firefighters receive federal grant to boost medical readiness

Josh James

Lexington firefighters are receiving a financial boost from the federal government – with the goal of bolstering the ranks of paramedics in the city.

Lexington is one of the many communities that has witnessed an uptick in medically-related calls to the fire department post-pandemic.

Fire Chief James Wells gave an idea of the scope of the department’s work in 2022.

"Last year alone, we responded to over 66,000 emergency calls, with at least three-quarters of those being medically-related," the chief explained. "In order to adequately respond to those calls, it is critical that we have the absolute best trained and best prepared paramedics here at the Lexington Fire Department. This grant will us to not only continue but to increase the capacity of our paramedic class."

All Lexington firefighters are certified as EMT-basic, which is the norm among professional fire departments, but more than half are also certified paramedics.

The grant – totaling more than $928,000 – will help the department fund emergency medical training and certification for 27 firefighters.

Josh James fell in love with college radio at Western Kentucky University's student station, New Rock 92 (now Revolution 91.7). After working as a DJ and program director, he knew he wanted to come home to Lexington and try his hand in public radio.