Klamath Community College is seeking applicants for an educational opportunity that allows students to live at a local firehouse and receive first-hand, real-world experience while pursuing an Associate of Applied Science degree at KCC, according to a news release.
KCC’s Resident Student Firefighter Program is in its second year and consists of a blend of academic instruction and hands-on emergency response. It is designed to provide support for people who want a career as a professional structural and wildland firefighter or emergency medical technician (EMT).
Resident locations may include Bly, Chiloquin, Keno rural fire protection districts, and Klamath County Fire District 1 (KCFD1). Applications for the 2019-20 academic year are due April 26.
“Klamath County Fire District 1 and the other participating departments are pleased to see the effort and commitment being made in support of KCC’s emergency response operations and Resident Student Firefighter programs. This truly is a great opportunity for students to gain real-world experience while working through the required academic program,” said KCFD1 Fire Chief John Spradley.
The program provides students college expense reimbursement up to $4,500 per academic year; rent-free housing at a district firehouse; training toward completion of certifications including Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) Structural Firefighter 1 and 2, National Wildfire Coordinating Group Wildland Firefighter II and state and national EMT, and opportunities for paid part-time fire service employment during academic breaks.
Students who enrolled in the program last year have earned multiple certifications from the Oregon DPSST and are working with first responders. Some of the certificates they have earned include Wildland Firefighter Type 2, National Fire Protection Association Firefighter I, Hazardous Materials Awareness, and Operations and Fire Apparatus (pumper) Operator.
“A lot of stations have a family feel. Our stations have been really good about working with us to get us up to speed,” said Paige Hahn, who enrolled in the program in 2018. “I am definitely more confident in my abilities, and I’ve learned what it really takes to be a firefighter and to do emergency medical services.”
Program participants must enroll at KCC and pursue an associate of applied science in emergency response and operations (structural fire science emphasis). Participants are required to work one 24-hour shift per week at their assigned fire district.
“Student residential firefighter programs, such as the one offered by KCC and its partners, offer a great opportunity for those interested in a professional career as a firefighter/EMT,” said Mac Brock, director of the KCC Klamath Basin Public Safety Training Center. “It’s a package deal that includes academic training, state certification, professional mentoring with hands-on experience along with free housing and financial assistance for college expenses. It doesn’t get much better than that.”
Applicants must have a valid state driver’s license, a high school diploma or GED, and be at least 18 years of age when training begins.