Columbia College’s Fire Academy will hold its graduation ceremony and presentation of Certificates of Completion to the successful students of the Fire Technology Program. The event, which is open to the general public, will be held Thursday, Dec. 12 beginning at 6 p.m. in the Oak Pavilion.
The certificates will be awarded based on the student’s successful completion of 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 or continue with reserve, intern, and volunteer in positions at local fire departments 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.
In addition to the “routine” fire training classes, specialized training was delivered 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’s Training Center. Program officials offered a special thank you to Columbia College Fire Department, Columbia Fire District, Sonora City Fire Department, Twain Harte Fire Department, Tuolumne County Fire Department, CAL Fire TCU, and Sierra Conservation Center.
Dr. Santanu Bandyopadhyay, President of Columbia College, will deliver a welcome message, and Billy Alcorn, Chief of Merced Fire Department, will be the keynote speaker. They will be joined by Cal Fire Captain Cole Periera, from the Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit, who will deliver the closing comments.
Family and friends will view 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 Warner.