COLLEGE STATION — Forty-eight new firefighters graduated Dec. 17 from the 20th Online Firefighter Recruit Academy at the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX). They completed 335 hours of training online before traveling to College Station for an intensive 21-day, hands-on firefighting “boot camp” at Brayton Fire Training Field.
The graduates came from Texas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii and Oklahoma in the United States, and from Ontario, British Columbia, Alberta, New Brunswick and Yukon in Canada. Chief Mark R. Ledford of Joint Base San Antonio was the keynote speaker at the graduation ceremony at the Annenberg Presidential Conference Center at Texas A&M University. A reception for the graduates was held at the Smith Building at Brayton Fire Training Field.
The Firefighter Recruit Academy prepares entry-level firefighters to earn the Texas Commission on Fire Protection, International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC) and ProBoard certifications for Firefighter I, Firefighter II, Hazardous Materials Awareness and HazMat Operations.
The program is eligible for college credit through the Fire Science Technology degree program at Blinn College and the Fire and Emergency Services Administration degree program at Texas A&M University-San Antonio.
The TEEX Academy meets or exceeds the requirements in most states and countries for preparation and/or certification of municipal firefighters. The Online Firefighter Recruit Academy has trained nearly 650 certifiable firefighters since the first class was held in 2011.