Eleven Complete Firefighter Course in Oconee County
The following is a news release:
The Oconee County Fire Department proudly announces the completion of 220 hours of Firefighter I training by eleven Oconee County Volunteer Firefighters. The following men unselfishly dedicated many hours away from their families and friends to participate in this course in order to better serve their communities:
- Daniel Culbertson - Station 1, Watkinsville
- Brian Dennard - Station 1, Watkinsville
- Paul Goetz- Station 7, North Oconee
- Joshua Mallory- Station 6, North High Shoals
- Chris Mengak – Station 1, Watkinsville
- Lauren Minter – Station 1, Watkinsville
- Jonathan North – Station 8, Barber Creek
- Matt Payne – Station 1, Watkinsville
- Andrew Petersen – Station 2, South Oconee
- Steve Rose – Station 7 – North Oconee
- James Ware – Station 2, South Oconee
In order to become an Oconee County volunteer firefighter, all recruits had to pass a criminal background and driving history check, pass an assessment lab to ensure proper physical and mental condition, pass a drug test, and complete and pass the Firefighter I course.
The 220-hour course, equivalent to the same basic essentials of firefighting taught in paid fire departments, began January 9, 2012. The instructor, Battalion Chief David Smith, a Firefighter/EMT from Athens-Clarke County Fire Department, held training every third night and some Saturdays through May 26, 2012. After extensive classroom and hands-on training, the volunteers participated in an 8-hour live burn at the Athens-Clarke County Fire Training Center. The course concluded with the National Professional Qualification (NPQ) written test and the NPQ skills test administered by the Georgia Fire Academy.
The Oconee County Fire Department is one of the few volunteer fire departments in Georgia requiring volunteer firefighters to be tested using the National Standardized Test Format for firefighting. This is the same test that paid departments require, and is a standard of training recognized throughout the country.