AP NEWS

Area recruits graduate fire academy

May 16, 2019

The South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation’s South Carolina Fire Academy graduated 22 recruits on May 9 from its eight-week firefighter candidate school in Columbia. These firefighters underwent a 320-hour training program of classroom and hands-on firefighting skills development. Keynote speaker was Chief Dennis Ray, fire academy superintendent.

“This challenging eight-week program requires commitment, passion, and dedication,” Ray said. “These recruits have successfully worked together as a team, performed extensive hands-on training with live fires, and passed intensive practical skills evaluations and written tests to meet the National Fire Protection Association standards,” he said.

The comprehensive training, offered quarterly at the Fire Academy, includes emergency responder first aid training, hazardous materials operations training, auto extrication, flammable liquids and gas firefighting, rescue training, and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Firefighter I and Firefighter II levels.

“With the successful completion and graduation of these new firefighters who will now be dedicating their lives to serving their communities and the state, our South Carolina fire service is enhanced,” Ray said. “I am proud of their accomplishments and I also commend the dedicated Fire Academy instructors who brought the recruits through these weeks of instruction leading to graduation.”

The following recruits graduated May 9: Andrew Anderson, Drew Cunningham, Matthew Dandridge, Tony Everhart, Anthony Fuster, Payton Gibson, Timothy Gilbert, Mitchell Hinton, Ryan Krauss, Brandon Kubik, James Llewellyn Jr., Preston Lood, Connor Mayes, Paul McEachern, Patrick Mejia, Medgar Patten, Derek Penvose, Aaron Pettry, Christopher Pugh, Adam Rocafort, Nicolae Toma and Tristan Watson.

Everhart was awarded the Order of the Maltese. The Maltese Cross is a firefighter’s badge of honor, signifying that he or she works in courage – a ladder rung away from death. The Eight Obligations of The Maltese Cross are: Live in Truth, Repent of Sins, Love Justice, Be Sincere and Whole-Hearted, Have Faith, Give Proof of Humility, Be Merciful and Endure Persecution.

The Maltese Cross is a firefighter’s badge of honor, signifying that he or she works in courage – a ladder rung away from death. The Eight Obligations of The Maltese Cross are: Live in Truth, Repent of Sins, Love Justice, Be Sincere and Whole–Hearted, Have Faith, Give Proof of Humility, Be Merciful, and Endure Persecution.

This award is chosen by the class recruits.

Rocafort received the Chief Robert Frick Award. The Chief Robert Frick Award is given to the recruit with the highest grade point average.

Gibson was named the Pride of the Battalion. This award is given to the recruit who has demonstrated “Leadership, Integrity, Determination and Good Value.”

This award recipient is chosen by the instructor staff who worked with the recruits during the eight-week program.

The Fire Academy provides emergency services training to the municipal fire service – both paid and volunteer – airport crash rescue departments, industrial fire brigades and emergency teams and service organizations including EMS, law enforcement and military from around the state and the world. The Fire Academy is accredited by the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress and National Board on Fire Service Professional Qualifications (Pro Board) for multiple NFPA firefighter levels.

The Fire Academy and the State Fire Marshal’s Office make up the Division of Fire and Life Safety, which is a division of the S.C. Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.