State Fire School gives students new opportunities

The State Fire School is a program at the University for students who are interested in becoming a

firefighter.

Assistant Director of the State Fire School, Kerry Gonzalez said, “We offer fire officer classes, fire instructor classes, hands on classes including: truck company, firefighter survival, auto extrication and rope rescue.”

That is just to name a few. The State Fire School offers two annual schools held on the University’s campus in May and October, as well as off-site training throughout

the year.

Gonzalez said, “We usually have 400 to 450 students and about 100 instructors in attendance.” The May Fire School is the oldest in the program, running since 1974.

In this week long program, students are presented with the opportunity to choose a discipline within the State Fire School program and gain hands-on training with real-world scenarios.

“We split them into about 25 to 30 classes, so our classes stay pretty small. Then they all take different disciplines, and when they choose a topic they stay in that topic all week. It gives them more specialized training”

said Gonzalez.

Registration for the May Fire School 2015 program is now open.

Students who attended the classes agreed that the program thrives due to the veteran instructors and excellent training.

“Instructors were great. Very knowledgeable,” said Brad Mauk, a firefighter and paramedic. “Not once did I hear this is how we do it. Just very practical, every day on the job skills that I can use.”

Chris Jones, another program participant, agrees with Mauk,

“The instructors have great knowledge of real life firefighting … awesome teaching styles,”

said Jones.

Gonzalez said, “Our instructors who are getting a little older have mentored a group of instructors underneath them. The students come here because of the quality of training.”

The firefighters represent 132 fire departments and groups not only from Ohio, but Michigan and Ontario, Canada, as well. The classes, taught by fire instructors, range from veteran instructors from Ohio to instructors coming from New York, Kentucky, Florida and more.

“Our instructors have developed a curriculum students want to know,” Gonzalez said. “We make sure students are getting the most up-to-date training.”

This program came to Bowling Green from Columbus in 1974.

“The Ohio Fire Marshals and the Ohio Department of Public Safety chose Bowling Green for its location because they realized there was a need for training up here”

Gonzalez said.

By 1999 the program was completely run by

Bowling Green.

State Fire School awards students scholarships credited to the programs relationships with businesses such as Nationwide. Awards typically include $12,000 in May and $8,000 in October.

Students can fill out a scholarship application that can be found on the State Fire School Website.