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Fire Academy to Begin in July

Launched in 2012, the Fire Academy at Sandhills Community College is now accepting applications for the summer program that begins on July 12.

At the end of this full-time program, cadets will earn Firefighter I/II with Hazardous Materials Level 1 Responder and Technical Rescuer. Students will also take EMT-Basic as part of the program and upon successful completion of the class will be eligible to take the state certification exam.

A diverse class of cadets is expected. Students from past academies have ranged in age from 17 to 35 years old. Sandhills Fire Academy welcomes veterans who are seeking a post-military career that still enables them to serve their community.

Students will have the opportunity to participate in or observe advanced training with surrounding departments. The current class recently participated in a three-alarm fire where they employed skills learned in the academy to assist and provide aid to local departments. These enriching activities provide our students with an advantage when applying for a job after graduation.

SCC has a very close relationship with nearby departments who provide support and equipment use for students and even accommodations if needed. Many graduates are now full-time and part-time employees with local departments.

Top Notch Training Center

Fire services have changed from the days when primarily a volunteer force. Today, highly trained, proficient individuals staff fire and rescue departments.

A considerable advantage to cadets in training is Sandhills’ facility, the Larry R. Caddell Public Safety Training Center. Located on almost 40 acres on Niagara-Carthage Road, this permanent training center is state-of-the-art in fire training. A residential burn building, four-story drill tower, and an auto extrication/burn pit help instructors teach fire and rescue techniques in a wide range of situations and circumstances.

The North Carolina Office of the State Fire Marshal approves Sandhills’ Fire Academy program.

The Training Center was recently added to the college’s virtual tour. In addition to seeing the entire Center, viewers can enjoy rappelling down the tower with instructor Chad Thomason through the lens of a 360° camera. The camera was also used to film a burn in the residential burn building and film the burn from outdoors. To view the Virtual Tour and 360° videos, go to

Job Opportunities

Helping graduates secure jobs is an additional advantage of the Sandhills’ Fire Academy. Chiefs and Deputy Chiefs visit the classes and know the cadets. Students are made aware of job openings statewide; recruiters come from across the state to present the opportunities in their departments. Often cadets start the interview and hiring process with departments before graduation.

Sandhills’ cadets receive significant assistance with the interview process through mock interviews. A panel of fire chiefs evaluates the cadet’s interviewing skills and give pointers.

Registering for the July Class

Those interested in being members of the summer Fire Academy class should request information and an application packet from Michelle Bauer, Sandhills’ Fire and Rescue director at (910) 695-3774 or Applications will be accepted as long as seats are available.

Current volunteer firefighters may be eligible for a fee waiver based on their membership with a local, city, county, or state fire department.

The Fire Academy is a full-time program with classes held Mondays through Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Fridays from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. The cost of the academy ranges from $75 – $185 and may be waived for qualified students. There is a $180 uniform fee and $2.50 cost for insurance.

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