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Columbia College Hosting Fire Academy Graduation
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Columbia College’s Fire Academy has announced the graduation and presentation of Certificates of Completion to the successful students of the Fire Technology Program. Students that completed Firefighter 1 and 2 will be awarded their certificates on Thursday April 29, in Carkeet Park. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ceremony itself will be limited to students and a few dignitaries.

The certificates are awarded based on the student’s successful completion of the academic and manipulative training as mandated for a California Firefighter 1 and 2 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 1 and 2 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 Van Hoogmoed.

These students have completed an intense 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.

In addition to the “routine” fire training classes, specialized training was delivered involving 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. Academy officials also issued a special thank you to Columbia College Fire Department, Ebbetts Pass Fire District, Columbia Fire District, Sonora City Fire Department, Twain Harte Fire Department, Tuolumne Band of Me-Wuk Indian Rancheria Fire Department, Tuolumne City Fire Department, Mi Wuk Sugar Pine Fire Department, Tuolumne County Fire Department, CAL Fire TCU, and Sierra Conservation Center.

“Columbia College Fire Science students are always looked at as role models on our campus,” said Steve Amador, Dean of Career Technical Education. “These students are hardworking and dedicated to their success. They have completed this intensive 16 week program during the COVID-19 pandemic, and have shown their fellow students, their families, and their community that hard work can overcome the toughest of obstacles. I am proud of each and every one them.”