Avondale, AZ (PRWEB) August 02, 2012
After four years of planning, a Fire Academy will be launched at Estrella Mountain Community College (EMCC) in Avondale, one of the 10 Maricopa County Community Colleges.
Through community partnerships with the fire departments in Avondale and Goodyear, the academy will fulfill a much-needed resource for firefighter training and certification to the Southwest Valley.
Beginning in the fall 2012 semester on August 18, FSC102 Fire Department Operations will be offered to qualified students that have met the admission criteria. Upon successful completion of the class, the students will qualify for the “Firefighter I and II” certification issued by the Arizona Center for Fire Service Excellence (AZCFSE).
The new EMCC Fire Academy is a component of the college’s current Fire Science program in EMCC’s Public Safety Institute. The certification program required a complex combination of community advocacy and partnerships with the Avondale and Goodyear fire departments, course planning that met the academic rigor and standards of the AZCFSE, and acquiring the equipment and facilities to support the lab training.
“The college has been providing courses in Fire Science Technology, and Emergency Response and Operations, so the next logical step was to engage the skills and hands-on training needed to enhance the candidate’s confidence and career,” said Avondale’s Fire Chief Paul Adams. “EMCC plays a critical role in preparing and supplying us with qualified firefighters for the future.”
The classes will be held at the EMCC campus during the week for classroom learning, and on Saturdays, the students will have their “lab” at the Avondale/Goodyear Fire Training Facility, located on Lower Buckeye Road in Avondale, where they will participate in real training activities. A fully-equipped fire truck was purchased by the college for training purposes of its academy students, and will be permanently located at the training academy facility.
“For years, several other Maricopa Community Colleges have provided the fire academy training needs for the Southwest Valley fire departments. But now with the growth in population and land area, it made it necessary for EMCC to help its partner agencies prepare for their current and future need of highly skilled firefighters,” says EMCC Vice President for Occupational Education Clay Goodman. “The Avondale and Goodyear fire departments knew that it was critical to have EMCC become a designated fire academy with a shared commitment to provide a national standard of training.”
Goodyear’s Fire Chief Mark Gaillard since 1986 said that the Academy has been a longtime vision and successful collaboration among the community partners. “This is a big deal,” says Chief Gaillard. “We’ve been planning this ever since EMCC was built. The Academy is a vital resource to train qualified men and women in emergency responsiveness.” Gaillard added that it’s important that local students have the benefit of learning from adjunct faculty that are actual firefighters who work and live in their community.
The course prerequisites for the four-month academy class are EMT104 Emergency Medical Technology and FSC105 Hazardous Materials & First Responder. FSC134 Fitness and Conditioning for Firefighters is also required but can be taken concurrently with the new academy class, plus a current CPAT (Candidates Physical Ability Test) This test is also required every six months for all firefighters trainees according to the International Association of FireFighters (IAFF) standards.
The most important admission requirement is that the students must be sponsored by a fire department which will provide their firefighting turn-outs (fire suit) and SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus), including the fit certification, but does not cover their tuition and books. The academy will provide the industry-standard, customary orange student helmets, which will emblazon the EMCC Fire Academy emblem and the students’ names.
“This first cohort class will be limited to 18 students,” says EMCC Fire Academy Director Ed Pahl. “It was important to us that we go ‘back to basics.’ Smaller class sizes will improve the quality of firefighter training, and really stress the importance of ethics and good decision-making skills.”
For more information about the EMCC Fire Academy or enrollment, call (623) 935-8466.
Estrella Mountain Community College is one of the 10 regionally accredited Maricopa Community Colleges, offering transfer-ready academic courses and job-specific occupational training to approximately 15,000 students annually. The flagship campus is located on Thomas and Dysart Roads in Avondale and is home to the SouthWest Skill Center. The satellite campus, EMCC’s Buckeye Educational Center, is located in downtown Buckeye. Estrella Mountain is part of the Maricopa County Community College District, one of the largest community college districts in the nation.