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Columbia Fire Academy Plans Thursday Ceremony
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The Columbia College Fire Academy will host its graduation ceremony and presentation of certificates to 25 students who successfully completed the Fire Technology Program this spring. The event, which is open to the general public, will be held Thursday, April 26 beginning at 6 p.m. in the Oak Pavilion at the college.

The certificates will be awarded based on the students’ successful performance in the academic and manipulative training as mandated for a California Firefighter 1 Certification. The students must still complete six months of full-time or one year of part-time field experience before applying to the state for Firefighter I Certification.

“Some of the graduates will apply for reserve, intern and volunteer positions at local fire departments, others will continue in positions they have held since entering the academy,” said Chief Shane Warner, Columbia College Fire Technology Program Coordinator/Instructor.

“Some of the students have already applied through a standard application process for seasonal employment with CAL Fire, Forest Service, and local fire agencies,” added Instructor Andy VanHoogmoed.

The Spring 2018 Columbia College Fire Academy graduates include: Jacob Alvarado, Kyle Baize, Michael Brautovich, Sam Brumm, Joseph Campbell, John Clark, Emily Duncan, Austin Echols, Jarrod Garrison, Patience Good, Nathanael Higle, Louis Huntley, Brett Jones, Ian Kenealy, Daulton Lyons, Brian Mantor, Patrick McCaleb, Efren Northcutt, Kevin Pixley, David Heston-Sanders, Anton Sonke, Devin Terrill, Vaughn Warriner, John Wheeler, and Bailey Amburgery-Wilkes.

In addition to the “routine” fire training classes, students received specialized training involving Low Angle Rope Rescue Training, Incident Command System, Hazardous Materials Training, Seasonal Wildland Firefighting classes, Confined Space, Basic Power Saw Safety, and live fire suppression training which was conducted at the Twain Harte Fire Department Training Center.

At the ceremony, Angela Fairchilds, President of Columbia College, will deliver a welcome message, Kent Cunningham CAL Fire TCU Battalion Chief will deliver the Keynote Address, and Battalion Chief Jason Culbertson from Waterloo-Morada Fire Department will present closing thoughts.

A highlight of the evening is the viewing of a student-produced audiovisual presentation of their intensive 16 weeks of training. The rigorous training is designed to help serious candidates meet the requirements for demanding careers as professional firefighters, including more than 576 hours of academic and manipulative training, according to Chief Warner.