Next Up: Fire Captain
After graduating from the EMS program, Damien Winn has gone from volunteer to full time firefighter, paramedic mentor and instructor.
After graduating from the college’s emergency medical services – paramedic program, Damian Winn’s career is heating up.
He’s gone from volunteer to full-time firefighter to paramedic mentor.
With his sought-after paramedic skills, he’s not just putting out fires. He’s the crucial link in keeping people alive.
Here’s how he triaged his career:
Land the job you want
When he first volunteered as a firefighter, he enjoyed the rush of riding in the ambulance and seeing the medical team act swiftly.
That's what he aspired to do.
He saw the college's emergency medical services - paramedic program as a way to acquire the medical skills he lacked and land a full-time firefighter job.
Now his paramedic credentials make him Richmond Engine 16's go-to firefighter for handling patient care until a medical unit arrives on the scene.
Expand your network
Through the EMS program, Damian trained with more than five local hospitals and fire agencies.
"I practiced the skills that I learned in class-things as simple as handling interpersonal relationships with providers all the way to leading a crew of my own," Damian said.
As a student, he sat on the EMS program's advisory committee, and interacted with even more industry leaders across the region.
"The access that Tyler gave me to so many hospitals and agencies expanded my network and connected me with job opportunities," Damian said.
"The access that Tyler gave me to so many hospitals and agencies expanded my network and connected me with job opportunities."
Firefighter and EMS instructor
Rise to the challenge
Damian returned to the college as an instructor in the EMS program and now mentors students on how to be de facto supervisors.
“As a paramedic, you're an unofficial supervisor and the highest-skilled person on a unit,” Damian said. "We discuss things like ‘you’re in charge of a unit and your partner comes in and smells like alcohol. What do you do?’ A paramedic is not a ranked supervisor but is responsible for the situation. We talk about how to deal with a situation, how they would report it and how the investigation process would go."
Damian also helps coordinate the college's semi-annual mass casualty simulation—an emergency incident that stresses an agency’s resources beyond its limits and can simulate anything from a structural collapse to an active shooter.
“We try to create enough visual cues to cause students to have an emotional response so that they have to deal with that stress factor on top of their educational prompts,” Damian said. “Our program specializes in creating critical thinkers. That’s how I’ve taken on leadership roles in stride.”
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