Bartow, Fla. (May 14, 2018) — Ten Polk County Fire Rescue paramedics and EMTs just became a lot more valuable to the residents of Polk County. They completed a 16-week training program in Fire Science at South Florida State College (SFSC) and while doing so, made history at the college.
For the first time in the program’s history at SFSC, the students produced a 100 percent pass rate for their firefighter certification. This class was also the first sponsored by PCFR, as the division moves toward a fully integrated, dual-certification Fire/EMS system.
Graduating PCFR employees earning their “dual” or second public safety certification as a firefighter include: Morgan Adams, Jonathan Jackson, Ethan Macaluso, Jeremy McDermott, Kelly McMorrow, Ashley Meyer, Dawn Oakley, Andrew Perez, Gilbert Thomas III and Desmond Walker II.
While already trained in emergency medicine, these new firefighters learned vehicle extrication/stabilization, structural firefighting tactics, situation awareness and firefighter survival, gas/vehicle fires suppression techniques, basic wildland firefighting, repelling and technical search and rescue.
“I am so proud of this new class of firefighter graduates,” said Fire Chief Tony Stravino. “They have set high standards of professionalism for themselves and by becoming dual-certified, are committed to providing a higher level of service to our county.”
PCFR Captain Paul Shannon is director for the Fire Science program at the campus in Avon Park.
Shannon said that having the opportunity to work with his Polk County colleagues is truly what is making PCFR grow and that as we continue to educate and grow our staff we will move into an era of loyalty and employee retention.