Fire academy resumes in-person class
By Maddy Warren
Editor In Chief
LCC’s fire academy program resumed in-person classes at west campus the week of June 22 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
For the first time since the college moved instruction online March 18, the fire academy’s paused classes were able to continue again, with social distancing orders set in place.
“Each recruit has their own ‘space’ marked off on the apparatus bay floor that only they go into with their gear and supplies,” Fire Academy Coordinator Bill Pawluk explained. “All recruits and instructors maintain physical distance (and) wear a mask or full firefighting PPE.
“The Michigan Fire Fighter’s Training Council also mandates safety regulations in regards to COVID-19 as we are a Regional Fire Training Center for the State of Michigan under the guidance of the State of Michigan Fire Marshal. To summarize, in short, it is quite extensive.”
Pawluk credited both LCC Dean Cathy Wilhm and Interim Associate Dean Tim Baker for their outstanding job planning and preparing for the academy’s resumption.
Fire Academy recruit Lucas Fleming, who has been in the academy since January 2020, said he and the other students have adjusted to social distancing measures in class.
“We are required to be at least six feet apart at all times with masks and gloves if we are to be within close range of each other, or to come in physical contact with one another, during an exercise,” Fleming said. “We are to be in full turnout gear and our SCBA, self-contained breathing apparatus.
“We have been taught to be quite adaptable, thanks to our very wise instructors, which has made this adjustment most definitely easier to handle,” Fleming added. “I am just thankful to be back and able to complete the course.”
Fleming said he plans to take more face-to-face classes during fall semester.
The spring 2020 70th Fire Academy is scheduled to finish Friday, July 24.