On Monday, July 20, 2020, the Howell Public Schools Fire Academy celebrated the graduation of its seventh class of future firefighters. This year, 17 cadets completed the practical training and classwork needed to pass the State of Michigan firefighters certification exam. The exam is a two-part test consisting of a written and practical test. All 17 cadets have passed the state’s practical exam, and they are currently waiting on the results of their written exams.
Over the course of the school year, the cadets completed more than 450 hours of training and classroom exercises, which is double the amount of training required by the State of Michigan. The practical training ranged from forced entry into a vehicle to extinguishing a fire in a controlled burn building. Each practical training builds on the lessons learned during the cadet’s classroom instruction.
During the graduation ceremony, there was a special presentation to Cadet Trevor Nelson, by Rob Glenn, Bangor Township fire chief. Chief Glenn presented Nelson with a certificate of honor, recognizing his quick and lifesaving actions on Sunday, June 21. On that day, Nelson was at Bay City State Park when an individual experienced a cardiac event. Nelson and an off-duty firefighter jumped into action and initiated CPR until Bangor Township firefighters arrived.
Of the 17 cadets who graduated from the academy, 12 are currently employed by local fire authorities. Additionally, in the coming days, Cadet Owen Gutzeit will be moving out west to become a wildlands firefighter. Gutzeit was one of 100 individuals invited to apply for this unique position, and one of only 19 offered a job.
The Howell Public Schools Fire Academy is a unique program that allows high school juniors and seniors to complete the required classroom and practical training needed to earn their state firefighters certification. Area fire departments now employ several graduates of the Howell Public Schools Fire Academy.