17 Days before the Fire Academy begins, we had a three hour orientation. We were given material covering the many rules and regulations we’ll be expected to follow and adhere to. We were explained in great detail the specifics of our uniforms, where to get them, how to wear them and how we’ll likely screw it up anyway. All this was explained to us with an air of good humor, but with an undercurrent of the seriousness which will accompany academy life.
Los Medanos college runs a good fire academy, though there are of course the true “elite”. Butte College is known for having possibly the best fire academy in California (though maybe it’s the best in Northern California). One thing about Butte is that you don’t need your EMT cert to go there. This is because they put you through their own EMT certification, not to mention an intense, rigorous, and very well respected academy.
I am quite happy to be attending LMC regardless. Lately I’ve been told by a few people including Mr. Grillo that upon graduation of the academy, doors really begin to open. This is the kind of thing I want to hear as it is easy to get down on the idea that the economy is in the tank and nobody is hiring.
Just two days ago I was at L.N. Curtis & Sons buying gear for the academy and I met Sharon Oliver, Training Officer for the Alameda Fire Department. Myself and a fellow cadet spent some time talking to her and I’m quite glad we did. She too had some very positive and motivational words for us. She reiterated what Captain Grillo told us, that opportunities will abound after graduating from the academy and that fire departments will never stop hiring. She went to reassure us that while there are a few layoffs taking place right now, it won’t be very long (1-3 years is the impression I got) before a good healthy hiring upswing takes place. She highly recommended we get our paramedic license under our belts.
In the end, I feel better. I’m excited for the academy and I’m more excited at the prospect of what may come when it’s over.