celebrates the graduation of 18 students
|Firefighters in the academy practice putting out |
a car fire during field training. Photo by Matt Zmuda.
The group graduated from the Northville City Fire Department Firefighter Training Academy in July and each became qualified to now seek Firefighter 1 and II certification through the State of Michigan. The students enrolled in the academy last November but classes stretched four months past the anticipated graduation date due to the requirements of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The instructors had to work diligently with the State to figure out how to continue when the pandemic broke out. They could do classroom sessions by remote conferencing but it had to be live and interactive,” said Fire Chief Steve Ott.
“I'd like to give a shout-out to all the instructors for assisting with the coursework and field training, and to the students for their hard work and dedication,” he added.
The students took the class written exam but had to wait before they could complete practical training, which took approximately four weeks.
Northville Police Ofc. Melissa Vernon was among the graduates. Eight of the graduates said they will apply to join the Northville Community Fire Department as on-call firefighters. The Northville department serves the cities of Northville and Plymouth and utilizes a total of 60 on-call firefighters, according to officials.
Course Manager Lt. Tim Catalano led the instructors, which included Lt. John Lapenta, who is the department training officer. Firefighters in the department assisted the instructors with the classroom portion, which fulfilled their requirement for student teaching. Others helped out with practical training, resulting in a 5:1 student/teacher ratio. As a result, the academy also increased the number of firefighters currently on-call at the Northville Community Fire Department who became certified fire instructors.