ORANGE COUNTY, NC (February 5, 2016)–Orange County Emergency Services’ (OCES) Emergency Medical Services division promotes two Paramedics to the position of Field Training Officer (FTO).

Paramedics James Johnson and Richard Eldridge were selected from a pool of very talented EMS professionals, who participated in a highly competitive process to join the ranks of the EMS Field Training and Evaluation Program (FTEP).

The program is a crucial component to ensuring a high standard of pre-hospital care for Orange County residents and visitors.  Operated by the Field Training Officers, the FTEP involves a six week academy before recruits transition to the field evaluation phase. FTOs serve as mentors through the entire process until recruits are successfully released to perform normal duties.

FTO James Johnson joined OCES in 2011 from UNC’s Carolina Air Care, where he was employed as an EMT. In 2012, Johnson completed his paramedic training and graduated from the Orange County EMS Academy. James expanded his 10 years of Fire/EMS experience when he became an Assistant Paramedic Instructor for Durham Technical Community College. He continues his community service as volunteer Lieutenant with the Swepsonville Fire Department.

FTO Richard Eldridge has been a full-time Paramedic with Orange County for the past five years. His previous experience includes both paid and volunteer positions in the Wake County EMS system. He volunteers as a firefighter/first responder with Silk Hope Fire Department in Chatham County.

Field Training Officers Johnson and Eldridge will join the FTO ranks, which include five other veteran pre-hospital care providers who have a combined total of more than 100 years of experience. The Field Training and Evaluation Program is led by FTEP Coordinator Barry Conklin. Conklin joined OCES in 1999 and currently serves as an EMS Supervisor. A graduate of Durham Technical Community College, his experience includes more than 35 years as a pre-hospital care provider. Barry was recently recognized for his tremendous contributions in guiding the development of the formal Field Training and Evaluation Program.

Paramedic Timothy Rodriguez currently serves as a recently promoted EMS Field Supervisor. Prior to his promotion, Tim served as one of the original FTOs for OCES. His experience includes volunteer and career positions with Harnett County Emergency Services, South Orange Rescue Squad, and Carolina Air Care.

Paramedic Andrew Werner came to Orange County from the New York City Fire Department, where he served as an EMS Deputy Chief after 29 years of dedicated service. Andy has responded to some of the most tragic events of New York City, such as the World Trade Center attack, several airplane crashes, and countless large scale disasters. Andy was recently promoted to the position of EMS Supervisor.

Paramedic FTO James Rose joined Orange County EMS in March of 2011. His vast public service includes experience as a paramedic, firefighter, law enforcement officer, and public safety educator. A native of Virginia, FTO Rose is eager and enthusiastic about the future of prehospital care in Orange County.

Paramedic FTO Andrew Lomax brought more than 10 years of experience when he came to Orange County in 2014. A native of Central Illinois, Andrew has served as an FTO for more than one year. His experience includes pre-hospital, hospital and critical care service.

For more information about Orange County Emergency Services’ EMS Division, please visit or call 919.245.6100.