Firefighter Training Academy graduates 18 students
Aug. 26, 2020 PLYMOUTH EAGLE.
Plymouth Michigan News
The Northville City Fire Department opened a Firefighter Training Academy last November and 18 students graduated from the Academy in July. All graduates became qualified to seek Firefighter I and II certification through the State of Michigan.
One of those graduates is Northville Police Officer Melissa Vernon, who now adds firefighter training to her skillset. Eight of the graduates are applying to the NCFD as on-call firefighters. The department, which serves the cities of Northville and Plymouth, has the capacity for 60 total on-call firefighters.
Classes stretched four months past the anticipated end date of April 2020 due to limitations on in-person gatherings triggered by COVID-19. There was no charge to attend the Academy, aside from some training materials.
“The instructors had to work diligently with the State to figure out how to continue when the pandemic broke out. They could do classroom sessions by remote conferencing but it had to be live and interactive,” said Fire Chief Steve Ott.
“I’d like to give a shout-out to all the instructors for assisting with the coursework and field training, and to the students for their hard work and dedication,” he added.
The students took the class written exam but had to wait before they could complete practical training, which took approximately four weeks.
Course Manager Lt. Tim Catalano led the instructors, which included Lt. John Lapenta, who is the department training officer. Firefighters in the department who needed to complete a practicum assisted the instructors with the classroom portion, which fulfilled their requirement for student teaching. Others helped out with practical training, resulting in a 5:1 student/teacher ratio. As a result, the Academy also increased the number of firefighters currently on-call at the NCFD who became certified fire instructors.
While the academy was a success in terms of the number of students trained and the positive teaching experience for instructors, the program will not be offered in fall 2020. Instead, the focus will be on encouraging firefighters to get trained in emergency medical services (EMS), which constitutes about 70% of fire station calls.