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“I’ve been a driver and paramedic for Dallas Fire-Rescue since 2001, and before that worked as a sports coordinator at the Dallas Housing Authority for 10 years. Back when I was working at the DHA, my supervisor had a cousin who was a firefighter and always stopping by to talk. He told me I needed 45 college hours to qualify to be a firefighter, and I had zero because I’d never been to college. So I worked full time while I took 12 to 15 hours a semester at El Centro and Brookhaven to get enough college hours to apply to Dallas Fire-Rescue.
“I went through the approval process and made my qualifications, then waited for the call back. After the Dallas Fire-Rescue Fire Academy, I went to EMT and paramedic school through El Centro’s program at UT-Southwestern.
“I’ve always had a passion for social services and work in the community. Once I married and had a family, I also wanted a better career and a stable job where I could both provide for my family and give back to the community. I’m a people person; I love to talk and help people. When I make a run, I communicate and help people out in time of need. I was placed at the station in the West Dallas neighborhood where I grew up.
“Now I’m working toward my associate degree in Fire Protection Technology, which will help with rank promotions within the fire department. It helps to maintain my knowledge on the job and makes me better at the job I already do.
“The best part of my studies is that I not only get a refresher on the information in class, but I also get to share my real-life experiences as a paramedic. The younger students have the same ambitions and always have a lot of questions.
“If you have a passion for being a firefighter or paramedic, be sure that’s what you want to do. It can be a stressful job, and you have to be mentally prepared to deal with tragic situations. If you can get over that, it’s an excellent job possibility.
“There’s also good job security, and there will always be jobs for us. Sometimes I end up being a counselor and a comforter, but I always keep in mind that something that may not be a big deal for me is a life-threatening situation for the individual I’m helping. The citizens of Dallas pay my salary, so when I make a run, I’m helping out my boss.”
Lamontry Lott has been a driver and paramedic for Dallas Fire-Rescue since 2001. His ultimate career goal is to become a firefighter.