CHIPLEY – Florida Panhandle Technical College has been instrumental in training many of the local volunteer firefighters for their Fire I certification and Emergency Medical Technicians for their certifications as well.
Soon, FPTC Public Safety Department will be offering training for Firefighter II certification.
Over the last several years Public Safety Director Greg Hutching and Public Safety Coordinator Brandon Stevenson have been diligently gathering equipment needed for the class. Recently, five connex containers were purchased with funds from a Perkins Grant that FPTC receives annually as a way to fulfill wish list items for departments at the college.
Four of those connexes are being used to construct a burn building to be used for training exercises with the fifth used as storage for equipment at the training site. Other FPTC programs have been instrumental in helping bring the connexes and site to life. The Welding Program welded the connexes together to form one building that will contain
stairs and various structures to aid in training exercises. In order to
stack the containers together, the Heavy Equipment Program lent their machinery to complete the task. The laying of the concrete slabs was done by the Construction Program.
According to Hutching, the help of each of these programs has been invaluable. Not only have other programs helped this come to fruition, but we in turn have also been able to help them provide training for their programs, said Hutching. “We are grateful to these other programs for the help they have given.
With the addition of the ability to offer Firefighter II certification
as well as EMT training, students that want to combine the two will no
longer have to pay out of pocket as the program will be Pell Grant
eligible. Taking Firefighter I, Firefighter II or EMT separately will still need to be paid out of pocket, which means any combination of the three can be paid for with a Pell Grant if they students qualifies.
Stevenson says the difference between Firefighter I and Firefighter II is simply the ability to be a paid firefighter.
Firefighter I certification is a 190-hour course that allows the person to become a volunteer firefighter, said Stevenson. Firefighter II certification is a 301-hour course that will allow the person to become a paid firefighter in the State of Florida. The extended training allows the student to be more employment eligible.
We want to be able to meet the demand for Firefighters, Law Enforcement and EMTs, said Stevenson. We want to expand these programs out to meet that demand.
FPTC Public Safety is hopeful the program will be set to begin in August of 2022.
For more information contact Florida Panhandle Technical College at 850-638-1180.