Walterboro Fire Department’s Cameron Carver was one of nine graduates at the S.C. Dept. of Labor, Licensing and Regulation’s South Carolina Fire Academy graduation on Friday, Oct. 9 in Columbia. The graduates were from the academy’s first offering of a 13-week hybrid firefighter candidate school, adapted to address safety concerns related to COVID-19. Keynote speaker was Chief Dennis Ray, Academy superintendent.
These firefighters underwent a 320-hour training program of online classroom training as well as hands-on firefighting skills development. The firefighters reported to the academy every weekend for skills training and testing. For the last two weeks of the program, recruits resided on the fire academy campus. Additionally, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, changes were made to class structure and facilities to promote social distancing and recommended precautions.
“The firefighters who participated in the hybrid recruit school proved their commitment, passion, and dedication to the profession while enhancing their ability to learn lecture material virtually,” Ray said. “These recruits have successfully worked together as a team, performed extensive hands-on training with live fires, and passed intensive practical skills evaluations and written tests to meet the National Fire Protection Association standards.”
The comprehensive training, offered quarterly at the fire academy, includes emergency responder first aid training, hazardous materials operations training, auto extrication, flammable liquids and gas firefighting, rescue training, and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Firefighter I and Firefighter II levels.
“With the successful completion and graduation of these new firefighters who will now be dedicating their lives to serving their communities and the state, our South Carolina fire service is enhanced,” Ray said. “I am proud of their accomplishments and I also commend the dedicated Fire Academy instructors who brought the recruits through these weeks of instruction leading to graduation.”