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Center for Advanced Technical Studies alumni begin career in fire and rescue

For Immediate Release – March 12, 2020



Center for Advanced Technical Studies alumni begin career in fire and rescue

IRMO – Career readiness after high school is a priority of School District Five high schools.   The Center for Advanced Technical Studies (The Center) is able to provides a pathway for students that will preparing them for career in a number of fields, including as a firefighter.


The Fire and Rescue program offered at The Center is provided in 33 locations across the state.  The program is produces more than 300 firefighters each year.  In order to take the certification courses, students must be 16 years of age and have a sponsoring fire department, which is required for state statute.  The Columbia Fire Department has been the sponsor fire department for The Center for the past six years.


“The students who complete these courses are truly ready to enter the workforce as firefighters,” said Fire and Rescue Instructor Mike Levy.  “Some departments will hire them and put them through recruit school and others will recognize their credential and just do the orientation training that is necessary for each department.”


The Fire and Rescue 1 course at The Center includes an overview of the functions and history of the fire service with emphasis on fire suppression and earning the South Carolina Fire Academy Firefighter I certification.  Students learn hazmat awareness, CPR/First aid and take FEMA training courses.  The class integrates individual online learning along with practical skills sessions along with live fire training opportunities. Final evaluations are written and practical and are conducted through the South Carolina Fire Academy. Upon successful completion of the testing and Hazmat Operations, a Fire Fighter I (FF1) certificate will be issued.


The Fire and Rescue 2 course at The Center is designed to take the student to the final level of firefighter, as recognized by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC). Subjects include incident management, building collapse and special rescue, hose tools and appliances, hydrant flow and operability, fire detection and alarm systems, fire cause, pre-incident planning, reports and communications and coordinating fire attack. Courses in advanced first aid and Basic Automobile Extrication will also be covered. Upon successful completion of written and skills testing, the firefighter will receive international recognition as a Firefighter II.


Jackson Day completed the Fire and Rescue programs at The Center and graduated from School District Five last year. After graduation, he was hired by the Columbia Fire Department and went to recruit school.


“The fire program at The Center definitely gets your foot in the door for a job as a firefighter,” Day said.  “I learned a lot of basic skills that I needed to know such as how to force a door, climb a ladder and put a ladder up.  We got the same certifications and training at The Center that we got during Columbia’s recruit school.  My recruit school was a rerun of all that I learned while I was in high school, just a bit more in-depth.”


Alex Richards also graduated from School District Five last year and was hired at the Columbia Fire Department.  He added, “I am pretty grateful for the training that I received at The Center because it really helped me out by having knowledge to base off of to prepare me for what I went through in recruit school,” Richards said.


For fire departments, the partnership with the school has the potential to help them recruit a more diverse group of candidates.


“It’s not often that you can get a taste of a profession before you go into it, so to have this opportunity in the schools it serves as a great recruiting tool for us,” said Columbia Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins.  “The students get the chance to see exactly what we do and they get the opportunity to see if this is the right job for them.  I am just excited for this partnership because once they get their foot in the door, students have so many advancement opportunities inside the department and they can also take college course and be reimbursed through the department’s college tuition reimbursement program.  It is a very good job and we certainly want to make sure that we have people coming into the profession to carry on our mission in the future.”