firefighter graduates
(left to right) Instructor John Wilson, Joseph Moore, Derrick Myers, Richard Fehr, Johnnie O'Neal, Logan Langley, David Linton, Ryan Davis, Evan Peed, Casey Langley, Zach Cosentine, Director Andrew Coccaro, and Mike Harmon.

Twelve graduate from BCCC fire academy

Twelve students celebrated their completion of Beaufort County Community College’s Fire Academy on August 24. The twelve in the cohort were split evenly between two volunteer fire departments, Bunyan and Chocowinity. Students in the academy are sponsored by their fire departments.

The program gives volunteer firefighters the opportunity to achieve an academy-style training in this region. The only full-time fire department in the BCCC service area is the Washington Fire, Rescue and EMS Department, so the academy helps volunteer departments provide a comparable level of service to their communities.

Students completed 500 hours of class time and training through the academy. The program was one of the few that continued in person while the college moved most classes online in order to keep first responders trained as the COVID-19 pandemic surged.

Bunyan Volunteer Fire Department members Zach Cosentine, Ryan Davis, David Linton, Joseph Moore, Johnnie O’Neal, and Evan Peed joined Chocowinity Volunteer Fire Department members Richard Fehr, Casey Langley, Logan Langley, Derrick Myers, Mike Harmon, and Timothy Pendley.

Tony Smart, Assistant Chief-Town of Winterville Fire/Rescue/EMS, spoke to the graduates about seeing prevention as equally or more important than responding to emergencies. While changing batteries in smoke detectors might not be what the graduates signed up for, he said, these acts of prevention work to keep the public and themselves safer.

The academy makes use of a state-of-the-art fire training facility where students practice working in dark and confined spaces, rappelling and working with smoke and live fire. Students learn about extrication, ladders and ventilation, forcible entry and loss control, building construction and fire behavior, personal protective equipment, and firefighter safety.

Individuals or departments can contact Andrew Coccaro, Director of Fire/EM Training, at 252-940-6363 to enroll in the next fire academy