City College Prepares Future Firefighters

Fire cadets practice rescuing a victim using the head tilt chin lift method during a search and rescue drill at the live fire training that cumulated the 18 weeks of preparation for the 29 fire cadets of City College’s Class 15 Fire Fighter One Academy at South San Francisco Fire Department Station 61 on Saturday, May 16, 2015. (Photo by Nathaniel Y. Downes/The Guardsman)
Fire cadets practice rescuing a victim using the head tilt chin lift method during a search and rescue drill at the live fire training that cumulated the 18 weeks of preparation for the 29 fire cadets of City College’s Class 15 Fire Fighter One Academy at South San Francisco Fire Department Station 61 on Saturday, May 16, 2015. (Photo by Nathaniel Y. Downes/The Guardsman)

By Nathaniel Y. Downes/ Freelance Photographer

On May 18, 29 fire cadets from of City College’s Fire Fighter One Academy became the 15th class to graduate and receive the Educational Fire Fighter One Certificate authorized by the California State Fire Marshall.  

These graduates are now qualified to test with fire departments all over California and can take Fire Science 105A, which gives the graduate practical work experience as a trainee in a local firehouse.

City College’s Fire Fighter One Academy’s Class 15 fire cadet Matthew O’brien watches a training video about the proper use of wildland fire shelters at at South San Francisco Fire Department Station.(Photo by Nathaniel Y. Downes/The Guardsman)
City College’s Fire Fighter One Academy’s Class 15 fire cadet Matthew O’brien watches a training video about the proper use of wildland fire shelters at at South San Francisco Fire Department Station. (Photo by Nathaniel Y. Downes/The Guardsman)
A fire cadet heads out of the South San Francisco Fire Department’s darkened training tower during the live fire drill that cumulated the 18 weeks training for 29 fire cadets of City College’s Class 15 Fire Fighter One Academy on Saturday, May 16, 2015. (Photo by Nathaniel Y. Downes/The Guardsman)
A fire cadet heads out of the South San Francisco Fire Department’s darkened training tower during the live fire drill that cumulated the 18 weeks training for 29 fire cadets of City College’s Class 15 Fire Fighter One Academy on Saturday, May 16, 2015. (Photo by Nathaniel Y. Downes/The Guardsman)
A fire cadet uses the self contained breathing apparatus during hose drills at the live fire traingin that cumulated the 18 weeks of preparation for 29 fire cadets of City College’s Class 15 Fire Fighter One Academy at South San Francisco Fire Department Station 61 on Saturday, May 16 2015. (Photo by Nathaniel Y. Downes/The Guardsman)
A fire cadet uses the self contained breathing apparatus during hose drills at the live fire training that cumulated the 18 weeks of preparation for 29 fire cadets of City College’s Class 15 Fire Fighter One Academy at South San Francisco Fire Department Station 61 on Saturday, May 16, 2015. (Photo by Nathaniel Y. Downes/The Guardsman)
Fire fighter personal protective equipment lays awaiting the next drill at the live fire training that cumulated the 18 weeks of preparation for 29 fire cadets of City College’s class at South San Francisco Fire Department Station 61 on Saturday, May 16, 2015. (Photo by Nathaniel Y. Downes/ The Guardsman)
Fire fighter personal protective equipment lays awaiting the next drill at the live fire training that cumulated the 18 weeks of preparation for 29 fire cadets of City College’s class at South San Francisco Fire Department Station 61 on Saturday, May 16, 2015. (Photo by Nathaniel Y. Downes/ The Guardsman)

The Fire Fighter One Academy has been offered through City College since 2008.  The academy itself is a one semester class spread over 300 hours. It is divided into two evening class lectures per week and a full day of hands on training on the weekend.

Weekend trainings start out with a heavy dose of physical training and are followed by fire science specific trainings.

This training includes how to load hose on fire engines and deploy from an engine, the use of self contained breathing apparatus in fires, how to raise and lower ground ladders, the use of forcible entry tools, how to work in live fire environments, and the proper handling of hazardous materials.

The diverse faculty come from fire departments all over the bay area and are either working firefighters or recently retired from the fire service.

“The instructors are dedicated to the success of the cadets,” Captain Jim Connors said, the Fire Academy Coordinator.

A fire cadet practices rescuing a victim during a search and rescue drill at the live fire training that cumulated the 18 weeks of preparation for 29 fire cadets of City College’s Class 15 Fire Fighter One Academy at South San Francisco Fire Department Station 61 on Saturday, May 16, 2015. (Photo by Nathaniel Y. Downes/The Guardsman)
A fire cadet practices rescuing a victim during a search and rescue drill at the live fire training that cumulated the 18 weeks of preparation for 29 fire cadets of City College’s Class 15 Fire Fighter One Academy at South San Francisco Fire Department Station 61 on Saturday, May 16, 2015. (Photo by Nathaniel Y. Downes/The Guardsman)
Fire cadets from City College’s Fire Fighter One Academy’s Class 15 prepare hoses for storage and transport after a long day of wildland training at San Bruno Mountain State Park on Saturday, March 21, 2015. (Photo by Nathaniel Y. Downes/The Guardsman)
Fire cadets from City College’s Fire Fighter One Academy’s Class 15 prepare hoses for storage and transport after a long day of wildland training at San Bruno Mountain State Park on Saturday, March 21, 2015. (Photo by Nathaniel Y. Downes/The Guardsman)
Fire cadet Alix Desmole gains roof access to the South San Francisco Fire Department’s training tower during the live fire drill that cumulated the 18 weeks training for 29 fire cadets of City College’s Class 15 Fire Fighter One Academy on Saturday, May 16, 2015. (Photo by Nathaniel Y. Downes/The Guardsman)
Fire cadet Alix Desmole gains roof access to the South San Francisco Fire Department’s training tower during the live fire drill that cumulated the 18 weeks training for 29 fire cadets of City College’s Class 15 Fire Fighter One Academy on Saturday, May 16, 2015. (Photo by Nathaniel Y. Downes/The Guardsman)

There are a handful of prerequisites including classes covering an introduction to fire science and Public Safety that should be taken before joining Fire Science 111, the Fire Fighter One Academy.

Recent graduates of the academy have taken full-time firefighter jobs all over California in city  fire departments, for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, and the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management.  

Other graduates have gone on to take jobs in West Virginia, Texas and the ever illusive Fire Department, City of New York.

Connors said getting a full-time job as a firefighter in New York City is a great privilege since New York City residents are given top priority followed by New York State residents.

Fire cadet Scott Eisen from City College’s Fire Fighter One Academy’s Class 15 practices wildland evolution at San Bruno Mountain State Park on Saturday, March 21, 2015. (Photo by Nathaniel Y. Downes/The Guardsman)
Fire cadet Scott Eisen from City College’s Fire Fighter One Academy’s Class 15 practices wildland evolution at San Bruno Mountain State Park on Saturday, March 21, 2015. (Photo by Nathaniel Y. Downes/The Guardsman)
Fire cadets from City College’s Fire Fighter One Academy’s Class 15 construct fire lines using pick axes, shovels and Pulaskis at San Bruno Mountain State Park on Saturday, March 21, 2015. (Photo by Nathaniel Y. Downes/The Guardsman)
Fire cadets from City College’s Fire Fighter One Academy’s Class 15 construct fire lines using pick axes, shovels and Pulaskis at San Bruno Mountain State Park on Saturday, March 21, 2015. (Photo by Nathaniel Y. Downes/The Guardsman)
Alpha squad from City College’s Fire Fighter One Academy’s Class 15 prepare for a progressive hose lay at San Bruno Mountain State Park on Saturday, March 21, 2015. (Photo by Nathaniel Y. Downes/The Guardsman)
Alpha squad from City College’s Fire Fighter One Academy’s Class 15 prepare for a progressive hose lay at San Bruno Mountain State Park on Saturday, March 21, 2015. (Photo by Nathaniel Y. Downes/The Guardsman)

The graduates also come from a diverse background.

“Our class exemplifies the meaning of diversity; it is a microcosm of our society today. Our ages range from 19-39,” Scott Eisen said, a graduate of Class 2015, in the speech he gave at the commencement ceremony in May.

“We work as carpenters, contractors, insurance underwriters, paralegals, ramp leads at SFO, EMT’s, Paramedics, and we even have a Starbucks barista within our ranks. Our international community is also represented with students from Belarus, Russia and France. This is in fact, what today’s modern day fire service looks like,” Eisen said.

A fire cadet from City College’s Fire Fighter One Academy’s Class 15 practices hose rolls after a long day of wildland training at San Bruno Mountain State Park on Saturday, March 21, 2015. (Photo by Nathaniel Y. Downes/The Guardsman)
A fire cadet from City College’s Fire Fighter One Academy’s Class 15 practices hose rolls after a long day of wildland training at San Bruno Mountain State Park on Saturday, March 21, 2015. (Photo by Nathaniel Y. Downes/The Guardsman)
Fire cadet Nick Oatley from City College’s Fire Fighter One Academy’s Class 15 passes a cribbing used to stabilize and unstable car during the auto extrication training at San Jose Pick and Pull on Saturday, April 18, 2015. (Photo by Nathaniel Y. Downes/The Guardsman)
Fire cadet Nick Oatley from City College’s Fire Fighter One Academy’s Class 15 passes a cribbing used to stabilize and unstable car during the auto extrication training at San Jose Pick and Pull on Saturday, April 18, 2015. (Photo by Nathaniel Y. Downes/The Guardsman)
Fire cadet William Scott Cowell from City College’s Fire Fighter One Academy’s Class 15 cleans up the yard after practicing auto extrication techniques at San Jose Pick and Pull on Saturday, April 18, 2015. (Photo by Nathaniel Y. Downes/The Guardsman)
Fire cadet William Scott Cowell from City College’s Fire Fighter One Academy’s Class 15 cleans up the yard after practicing auto extrication techniques at San Jose Pick and Pull on Saturday, April 18, 2015. (Photo by Nathaniel Y. Downes/The Guardsman)
A fire cadet from City College’s Fire Fighter One Academy’s Class 15 runs a hose during a wlidland training drill while instructors look on at Cal Fire’s North Division Fire Station in San Mateo on Saturday, March 28, 2015. (Photo by Nathaniel Y. Downes/The Guardsman)
A fire cadet from City College’s Fire Fighter One Academy’s Class 15 runs a hose during a wlidland training drill while instructors look on at Cal Fire’s North Division Fire Station in San Mateo on Saturday, March 28, 2015. (Photo by Nathaniel Y. Downes/The Guardsman)

To be a part of the next Fire Fighter One Academy class or for more information contact Monica McCarthy at mmccarth@ccsf.edu or (415) 452-7302 or Jim Connors, Fire Academy Coordinator at jconnors@ccsf.edu or (415) 239-3359

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