A group of 25 cadets from Hancock College’s Fire Academy demonstrated many of their newly acquired skills Friday morning ahead of a ceremony marking their graduation at the school’s Lompoc Valley campus.
The cadets of Battalion No. 142 completed more than 620 hours of classroom and field instruction to earn their certificates of completion. The academy, which is certified by the Office of the State Fire Marshal, meets all requirements for graduates to become entry-level firefighters.
The training, as well as Friday’s graduation ceremony, took place at the school’s Public Safety Training Complex.
“The academy is the heart of our community college — training brave men and women to enter careers in the public sector,” Hancock Superintendent/President Kevin G. Walthers said. “To our community, if something were to happen to your family, know that if the firefighter or police officer who responds came from Allan Hancock College, they will know how to take care of you and your family.”
Prior to the formal graduation, the recruits put on a show for their friends and family with live demonstrations inside and outside of the Public Safety Training Complex’s six-story burn tower. The demonstrations included running fire hoses, dousing cars and apartment fires, extrication, and climbing ladders to gain roof access.
Steve Lieberman, the Five Cities Fire Authority police chief, delivered the keynote address.
“Trust your training, trust your instincts and pay attention to your captain,” Lieberman told the cadets.
The battalion class included one woman. Two of the graduates have been hired by Morro Bay Fire Department, and one has been hired by the San Luis Obispo City Fire Department, according to a Hancock spokesperson.