Firefighting students responding to car fire

Every year, fires and other emergencies take hundreds of lives and destroy property worth millions of dollars. Firefighters help protect the public against these dangers by responding to fires and a variety of other emergencies. In addition to fire response, they are frequently the first emergency personnel at the scene of a traffic accident or medical emergency. Many firefighters are cross-trained as emergency medical technicians and paramedics and therefore can treat injuries or perform other vital functions.

RCC Firefighting trainingDuties may include fire prevention, hazardous material incident response, search and rescue, and disaster management. Firefighters can work long hours and odd schedules. They must be physically fit and mentally tough. Firefighters can work in federal, state, municipal or volunteer fire stations, responding to all types of calls. Firefighting requires organization and teamwork. Firefighters spend much of their down time at fire stations, training for the next call. Robeson Community College’s fire training program is demanding and challenging. It serves as a model for other colleges in the number of certifications awarded each year by the the North Carolina Office of State Fire Marshal. At the completion of the academy, the student is certified as a firefighter level 1, hazardous material responder, and emergency vehicle driver.

The RCC Emergency Services Training Center features a fire and rescue training tower, a Class A burn building, a propane fire training area,  a rail tanker propane prop, and confined space and trench rescue areas. Vehicle extrication is taught as well.

Employment Outlook

The need for firefighters in North Carolina is expected to grow. The median annual salary for firefighters is $30,700 in North Carolina and $45,100 in the United States. About 9 out of 10 firefighters are employed by local governments. Firefighters usually receive benefits, including medical and liability insurance and retirement.

The rewards that go along with the firefighter profession are many. Firefighters can feel the satisfaction of being a part of a dedicated team, a kinship with fellow firefighters. They experience the excitement of facing unknown challenges, and they enjoy the chance to make a major difference in someone’s life.

All fire academy applicants must be 18 years of age prior to the start date of the fire academy.  The next class is expected to start in September 2017. Contact Robert Ivey at 910-272-3330 or by email at rivey@robeson.edu for more details.