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 South County Fire

First regional firefighter recruit academy begins today

Inaugural class includes seven recruits from South County Fire

Post Date:03/19/2018 7:49 AM
Fire Training Academy Day 1Seven recruits from South County Fire are among the 27 students in the inaugural class of the Snohomish County Fire Training Academy that opened today.

The Snohomish County Fire Chiefs Association directed the development of the local academy as the county’s growing hiring needs are outpacing available enrollment at the Washington State Training Academy in North Bend. Participating agencies are Arlington Fire Department, Everett Fire Department, Lake Stevens Fire Department, Marysville Fire District, Mukilteo Fire Department, North County Fire & EMS, Snohomish County Fire District 4, Snohomish County Fire District 7, Snohomish County Fire District 19 and South County Fire.

“This has been a regional effort and it’s exciting to see it all come together. We’re improving firefighter safety and incident effectiveness and reducing liability. This is good for the fire service and the citizens we serve,” said South County Fire Chief Bruce Stedman. The department serves more than 250,000 residents in Brier, Edmonds, Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace and unincorporated southwest Snohomish County.

The intensive 14-week academy is based at the South County Fire Headquarters and Training Center south of Everett. “Every department contributed to the development of the curriculum in alignment with national standards. We all benefit from sharing resources and local expertise. Training together makes us better at responding together when we have major incidents,” said South County Fire Assistant Chief Scott Goodale, who serves as the academy administrator.
South County Fire recruits attending the academy are Felipe Aguirre-Larrain, Cory Dowell, Christopher Fezer, Theodore Martin, Spencer Sommer, Joshua Young and Casey Wilson. They will train 40 hours a week, learning skills to prepare for their first shift assignment at the fire station. Seven company officers, including South County Fire Capt. Joe Hughes, are serving as mentors for the academy class. South County Fire Capt. Don Welch is serving as an academy coordinator.

Training is being provided by 45 instructors drawn from all 10 member agencies. Many have previous teaching experience at the Washington State Fire Training Academy. Instructors from the Everett Community College Fire Science program is providing strength and conditioning to prepare the recruits for the physical demands of a career in the fire service. Other training will focus on the mental demands of the job including handling stress in emergency situations.

Providing a local recruit academy not only addresses the county’s hiring needs, but offers other benefits as well:

• The local academy will include training in Snohomish County protocols not available at the state academy. This will greatly reduce or eliminate the need for post-academy training, allowing departments to put recruits to work at local fire stations more quickly.

• Multiple departments sharing local expertise breaks down borders so firefighters can work together more effectively on mutual aid incidents.

• Sharing instructors and curriculum reduces duplicated effort.

• Training locally allows recruits to go home to their families at night instead of spending 14 weeks at the state academy in North Bend. 

The costs for the initial year are equal to the expense of sending a recruit to the state academy. Participating fire departments are donating the use of apparatus and equipment. The academy is seeking a federal grant to pay for equipment needs going forward.

Fire departments are looking at other regional opportunities. The Snohomish County Training Consortium formed last year to explore ways to expand multi-jurisdictional training and work together across jurisdictional boundaries.


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