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Local Fire Academy Achieves Accreditation

Columbia, CA — Columbia College’s Fire Academy is now an Accredited Regional Training Program (ARTP).

On August 20, 2015, The California State Board of Fire Services unanimously approved the accreditation of the Columbia College Fire Academy. Columbia College President, Dr. Angela Fairchilds says, “This is a well-deserved recognition of the high quality training and education provided through our Fire Academy.” Fairchilds credits Shane Warner, Fire Technology Program Coordinator at Columbia College, for initiating the accreditation process in early 2014. Accreditation was gained with help from the college’s administration, industry advisers, Department of Forestry and Fire Protection – Office of the State Fire Marshal, CAL FIRE, and other local and state fire agencies.

Columbia College’s Fire Technology Program is one of only two community colleges in California to operate its own fire station, staffed by students enrolled in the program. Through an agreement with the Tuolumne County Fire Department and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the on-campus station responds to over 350 calls a year.

The college expects the demand for qualified and educated firefighters to grow, with many hiring departments seek applicants with more than basic skills. Some jobs require associate degrees, Search and Rescue and EMS/Paramedic Certification, and most require California State Firefighter 1 Certification for entry-level positions.

The college reports that Dr. Klaus Tenbergen, Dean of Career Technical Education and Economic Development is ecstatic about this milestone. He says, “The mission of the Columbia College Fire Department is to provide the students and visitors of Columbia College with the highest quality fire prevention, emergency care, and fire protection available. We accomplish this mission by aggressive training, methodical preparation, rapid response, and an optimistic/compassionate attitude toward those we are sworn to protect and serve. Students in our Fire Academy will receive the best training possible.”