CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Across the state, there continues to be a need for well-trained firefighters. In a dangerous situation, you want to know that they are as prepared as possible to meet the challenge, relying on both experience and training.
For many firefighters in the Coastal Bend and beyond, much of that has come from the Del Mar College Regional Fire Academy.
Michael Schmidt is the Program Director of Fire Science at the College. He is also a veteran Corpus Christi firefighter, with 25 years on the job.
“We train a bunch of students from all around the county, and actually San Antonio, Houston, Dallas,” says Schmidt. “We’ve also been teaching the Corpus Christi Fire Cadets for, I guess, going on 4 or 5 years now.”
Schmidt tells us that in order to help students who are able to go to school full-time finish more quickly, the next academy has been shortened to just two semesters. That includes fire training as well as becoming certified as an Emergency Medical Technician.
“We do cover about 250 hours more than the state’s minimum, and that’s really just to know that they’re competent and they can do the job and they can come out and not put themselves in harm’s way or danger by being inexperienced,” says Schmidt.
When asked whether this new schedule means that there is also a reduction in training, he is quick to point out that it is the same work, but the hours have been expanded, with courses now held Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
In that time, cadets master more than 100 skills.
Schmidt tells us, “We cover the exact same material. We have not decreased any of the hours. We have not cut anywhere. We’re still going to have the same high-end cadets we’ve always had.”
Whether or not a graduate wants to remain in the area, there are multiple opportunities for work, making this the first step in what could be a long-term career.
Classes are limited to just 25 students. The course begins August 9 and the deadline to apply is Friday, July 16.
To find out more, visit the Del Mar College website https://www.delmar.edu/degrees/fire-science/index.html.
You may also call (361) 698-1724 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.