Columbia State Community College hosted a Fire Science kickoff event Wednesday, Oct. 10 introducing the new program and its director, Jeremy Martin.
The event hosted area fire chiefs, public safety officials and other community leaders for the presentation, which highlighted the areas of study that the program will cover.
“The content of this program is extensive and includes the use of equipment, facility inspection, the study of hazardous materials, risk assessment, basic first aid and fire safety,” said Dr. Mary Lou D’Allegro, Columbia State vice president for academic affairs. “This program will ensure that our graduates are prepared for entry-level work. Students interested that are already in the industry will be up-to-date on the current and relevant topics.”
The technical certificate program will provide fundamental knowledge that applies to a variety of jobs within the fire service. The program is designed to prepare individuals who have little or no experience with the firefighting profession for entry-level positions in the industry, and allows experienced firefighters to receive credits for knowledge gained through on-the-job training and certifications.
“I think that a young man or woman, or any age, who wants to go to school and have a career in public safety should be able to do that and shouldn’t have to travel long distances, but be able to do that in your own backyard,” said Columbia Fire Chief and Columbia State alumnus, Ty Cobb. “Columbia State has been a valuable institution for the southern Middle Tennessee region and is the reason I’ve got my education. I want to see future leaders go through programs like I’ve been able to go through and be able to do that here at home and invest in our community.”
Cobb stated that the fire science program, starting in spring 2019, is something that he and Dr. Janet F. Smith, Columbia State president, have been talking about for almost three years.
“Over the past few years we have added to the number of technical and certificate programs that Columbia State offers because we know of the various needs for our community and for future students in terms of their careers,” Smith said. “Part of our responsibility as a community college is to work with our communities to provide programs that meet the needs of our workforce, communities, businesses and industries, so part of the drive for this program results back in meeting those needs.”
The mission of the Fire Science program is to help students develop the necessary skills and knowledge for professional fire protection.
“What Columbia State is doing for the fire service in Middle Tennessee is unprecedented in that it will help provide a gateway for our volunteer firefighters to change our career from a trade into a profession,” said Jay Bonson, Williamson County fire coordinator.
Martin expects this program to allow students to gain experience in a variety of public safety and fire science activities.
“By working together we can enhance and inspire the next generation of firefighters,” Martin said. “The training necessary for emergency responders continues to increase and constant education and training is essential to the success of our public safety programs.”
Martin, a Brownsburg, Indiana native, started his fire service career in 1987 as a volunteer firefighter after working with his local sheriff’s department as a sheriff explorer in high school. During his career, he served at several agencies including the Alabama Task Force One. Martin was a member of the International Association of Firefighters and served as an evaluator at many assessment centers for fire captain and fire sergeant until he retired from the City of Mobile Fire Rescue Department as a fire service captain in October 2016. During his time in the IAFF, he was proactive in making continuous firefighting and EMS training a priority as well as encouraging members to broaden their leadership education. Martin earned a bachelor’s degree in occupational health safety and a master’s degree in emergency management from Columbia Southern University, and a master’s degree in organizational leadership with a concentration in public administration from Waldorf University.