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TJC offers new degrees in public service

Imagine being in an incident where there might be a need for firefighters, police officers and possibly emergency medical technicians. Also imagine what would happen if the firefighters, officers and EMT could not relate to or have any understanding or communication with each other.

Tyler Junior College is taking the steps that are necessary in order to prevent this type of situation from happening. TJC is offering a basic fire academy and fire science program that is offered in order for students to achieve state certification in firefighting.

According to Brent Smith, managing director of the fire science program, the basic fire academy will allow a volunteer firefighter to seek employment and also to anyone that is seeking a degree in fire science.

“A lot of departments are now requiring an associates degree for promotion,” Smith said.

Something unique about this degree is that the program is also trying to incorporate other public services such as EMT and police training.

“It is our desire to develop some joint training in order to work together with other fields so each student has an understanding of what each field does,” Smith said.

Students who are currently enrolled in a fire academy program believe that it is best for firefighters to always be prepared to handle any situation.

Alex Lopez is a student who is currently attending Houston Community College, which offers the coupling of firefighting and EMT.

“EMT certification for police and firefighters is a great idea. I think all first responders should have EMT certification,” Lopez said.

State certified firefighters also see that being experienced in every area as vital when it comes to public services.

Cary Gonzales, a firefighter of 15 years for the City of Houston, believes that it is very important for firefighters to be trained to correlate with other public services.

“We were trained in EMT and firefighting. We do dual work for the city, we provide EMS and firefighting services. With whatever EMS or firefighting situation, we are called on and we are prepared to handle it,” Gonzales said.

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