JOPLIN, Mo. — Wednesday evening the first graduate firefighters of the newly formed Regional Fire Academy at Missouri Southern State University. Earlier this year the College of Health Sciences at MSSU partnered with the Joplin Fire Department and the City of Joplin to create the Academy.
Attending and recognized were area fire leaders: Duenweg Fire Chief and Joplin Fire Battalion Chief Ret. Howard Reding, Pittsburg Kansas Fire Chief Dennis Reilly, Carthage Fire Marshal and Deputy Chief Ryan Huntley and opening the program speaking to the 12 graduates, Joplin Fire Chief Mark Cannon Int.
“This is a partnership that was years in the making so we can build the candidate pool for employees throughout our region,” Chief Cannon states. “This program has exceeded our expectations greatly.”
The program begins with the Fire I course, The class is Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings with some Saturday training. The basic course focuses on fire ground operations, personal protective equipment, basic fire characteristics, safely entering and exiting a burning building, and how to respond to different fire events.
One instructor, Dustin Lunow, Deputy Training Chief of Joplin Fire tells us, “There are 4 separate skills testing areas that are required to attain the right to set for the written certification exam. These areas include Hazardous Materials Operations, Auto Extrication, Fire Control, and Fire Skills. These test were held over 4 separate dates totaling over 26 hours of testing. Every student seeking International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC) certification with the State of Missouri Division of Fire Safety successfully completed the testing. I can think of no better litmus test for program validity than a 100% pass rate.”
So the only requirement before becoming a firefighter is the student will have to pass a written test in their respective state. “This is the last step in the certification process for these students. Given this groups passion and drive in the program along with their extreme success in skills testing I am confident in the students readiness to challenge and successfully pass this last hurdle.”
The Fire II course builds on the first class and these graduates have completed both.
“Where Fire I is foundational work, Fire II starts to focus on the actual hands-on teamwork, how to suppress fires and safely manage the fire ground environment,” states Ted Lee, director of MSSU’s emergency medical services department.
The classes are led by Joplin Fire Department’s Training Chiefs. Class sizes are small – between 15-18 students – allowing for a focus on student safety.
Classes are taught at the city’s public safety training tower and facility, 5102 Swede Ln, Joplin, Mo.
The training tower is one of the great assets of the Joplin Fire Training facility. Built in 2015, the training tower allows instructors to create realistic scenarios for firefighters while the center offers a modern classroom that allows for seated and virtual learning.
For more information about the program, contact Ted Lee at 417-625-3020 or visit Missouri Southern’s Emergency Medical Services program page.
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