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Columbia College Fire Academy Announces Graduation

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Columbia, CA– The Columbia College Fire Academy has announced the graduation of 34 successful students who have earned Certificates of Completion from the Fire Technology Program. The ceremony for the students who completed Firefighter 1 and 2 will take place on December 14, at Columbia College’s Oak Pavilion at 6 p.m.

Certificates are bestowed upon students who complete the academic and manipulative training required for California Firefighter 1 & 2 Certification. Additionally, graduates must fulfill six months of full-time or a year of part-time field experience before applying for state certification. Chief Shane Warner, Columbia College Fire Technology Program Coordinator/Instructor, mentioned, “Some graduates will apply for or continue with reserve, intern, and volunteer positions at local fire departments that they’ve held since entering the academy.” Instructor Andy Van Hoogmoed added, “Students are given the opportunity to complete the standard application process for seasonal employment with CAL FIRE, US Forest Service, and local fire agencies.”

Columbia College President Dr. Lena Tran said, “I applaud our graduates. Firefighters have a demanding
job that requires strength, commitment, and motivation, and challenges their mental, emotional, and
physical preparedness. We are proud to know that our students are well-trained to serve the

The students underwent an intense 16 weeks of rigorous training, totaling more than 616 hours of academic and manipulative training, designed to prepare them for careers as professional firefighters, according to Chief Shane Warner. In addition to routine fire training classes, students received specialized training in Incident Command Systems, Hazardous Materials, Firefighter Survival, Low Angle Rope Rescue, Mental Health and Peer Support, Confined Space, Basic Power Saw Safety, and Common Passenger Vehicle Rescue.

Special thanks were extended to various entities, including the Columbia College Fire Department, Copperopolis Fire Protection District, Ebbetts Pass Fire District, Castle Training Center, Sonora City Fire Department, Tuolumne City Fire Department, Mi Wuk Sugar Pine Fire Department, Tuolumne County Fire Department, CAL FIRE TCU, CAL FIRE MMU, Hayward Fire Department, Merced Fire Department, Vic’s Towing, and Sierra Conservation Center.