12/08 tahoe mt. news unedited
By Kathryn Reed
Lake Tahoe Community College’s Fire Academy has received provisional accreditation from the state as a regional training program.
With a few tweaks, the college expects to have the conditional certification replaced with full accreditation in a year. Full accreditation is good for five years.
The fire academy has graduated 40 cadets in two years. Many have been hired on by agencies in the basin. This fall began the third year of the program.
Leona Allen, coordinator for the academy, submitted a 118-page application to the state in June. Initial word was that officials would not be able to visit the school until next year. That changed. A team of three arrived in South Lake on Nov. 20.
The trio attended the Fire Science Advisory board meeting at the college, inspected all of the files, went out to the various training sites, and assessed the equipment and classrooms. After dinner the team met with cadets behind closed doors without college personnel.
“They came out and they announced we are conditionally approved as an accredited regional training program with the State Fire Training System,” Allen said.
The state fire marshal just has to sign off on the recommendation.
Allen said state officials were impressed the college does more than the basics to certify a cadet reaches firefighter one level. Ice, swift water and high angle rescues are part of the curriculum, as are interview skills and sexual harassment training.
Some of what the college needs to address is ensuring all the fire science classes are inline with state requirements, testing procedures may need to be changed and officials must create a system to process certificates locally.
A few of the benefits of the state recognition include certificates of completion saying LTCC’s fire academy is accredited, ability to tap state resources, greater ability to qualify for grants and networking with other academies.