For three years, Adam Phumalee was a U.S. Marine in Afghanistan fighting terror cells and insurgents. Now he’s in a whole new conflict — as an FDNY Emergency Medical Technician battling COVID-19.
“It’s a different type of war zone, one that I don’t have a lot of experience on,” said Phumalee. “This is not Taliban or Al Qaeda. This is a sickness. Right now I have to handle it day by day." The former Marine is one of 153 probationary EMTs graduating from the EMS Bureau of Training at Fort Totten in Queens Friday.
The entire academy experience was a study in social distancing: For 13 weeks cadets had to wear face coverings at all times, separate 6 feet apart and take part in smaller groups for classroom education and hands-on exercises. "We had to be acclimated to the new protocols and be separated at all times, Phumalee, 30, said. “But as long as I have my (personal protective equipment) and wear my gloves I’ll be fine.”