USA — Northeastern Junior College now has an active fire science technology program. Ten new students from all over Colorado who have chosen this major are now making Northeasterns campus their home for the next two years.
They will complete courses in basic fire fighting, fire investigations, fire service administration, hazardous materials management and building construction. Many of these students will go on to careers in area fire departments following graduation in 2010.
As part of the fire science program at Northeastern, a six month certified fire academy is offered to those other students who want to obtain this specialized training with or without pursuing an actual two year degree. The next certified fire academy will begin October 27th and run through April 2009. NJC has been offering a fire fighter academy for several years now, but the length of training has now been increased from a five month program, to six months.
We extended the duration of the fire academy to be able to provide time to appropriately prepare for the state certification exams in basic fire fighting skills, hazardous materials operations, wildland operations and the candidate physical ability test explains Mike McCabe, coordinator of the fire science technology program. The upcoming 2008 Fire Academy is being held with the support of the Sterling Fire Department who lends its personnel, equipment and facilities to the college for training purposes.
McCabe, who has extensive experience in fire science, was hired by the college in 2007 to develop a fire science technology program on campus. He is actively pursuing avenues that will provide Northeastern (NJC) fire cadets internships in a variety of fire departments around Colorado. He has done extensive work to develop a two year degree program here.
My vision is that these students intend to graduate from the fire science program in two years will spend most of their sophomore year experiencing the different types of fire departments in many areas, McCabe explains. They will need the certifications earned in the fire academy to qualify them as responding crew members wherever they serve their internship. he said. While fire fighting is basically the same from region to region, there are very distinct differences between mountain, urban, suburban and rural organizations. The internship program will give these young men and women the opportunity to make a more informed decision about where to take their career.
According to McCabe, it is possible that these local fire cadets will also be able to serve internships with the U.S. Forest Service throughout the summer, helping fight wildland fires.
McCabe also points out that local businesses who hire these students are getting personnel who may also assist their businesses in capacities such as emergency medical assistance, fire code interpretation and fire response. NJCs fire cadets are eager to prove their capabilities and value to our community. McCabe also wanted to thank area employers for their considerations in affording NJC students whom they employ; time to accomplish their educational goals. Community support here in Sterling is the best I have ever witnessed, he observes.