EMTs, Firefighters Trained, Learn Locally at CMC
The first responder to the next fire or medical emergency in Lake County will likely be a graduate of Colorado Mountain College (CMC).
Since 2012, many area firefighters and emergency medical technicians have taken classes or graduated locally from either the college’s fire science technology or emergency medical services programs, providing essential services to their hometowns.
CMC – Leadville offers fire science classes and Certificates in Fire Academy I and an Associate of Applied Science degree are available through the college, in a hybrid format, a combination of in-person and on-line learning. In fact, last December, 18 students graduated from the Fire Academy I in Leadville.
And it’s not unusual that many of these students are local. In 2014-15, 75 percent of all students at the Leadville campus came from within the Colorado Mountain College district.
Hands-on training leads to quick employment for firefighters
Andy Majeski works for Leadville/Lake County Fire Rescue and said he was working for Salida Fire Rescue when he obtained a grant through the Colorado State Firefighters Association to further his education at Colorado Mountain College in Leadville. The STRIVE grant covered up to $5,000 in tuition and books for an academic year.
At CMC, in his late 30s, he earned certificates in both Fire Academy I and EMT Basic. A resident of Poncha Springs, he currently is also an assistant fire instructor in the program.
“I know a lot of other fire science programs don’t have nearly as much hands-on training and fire burn experience,” he said. “Last year we had 13 live-fire days, and other academies may have only one.” The CMC program features a live-fire training facility in Dotsero, Colo.
Majeski said having instructors with real-world firefighting experience is another plus adding “That also helps you get a leg up when it comes to finding a job.”
He had intended to return to Salida, but a few openings surfaced in Leadville. “I’d worked with some of the guys on the department through the CMC program and I liked how they did things,” he said. “I’m planning to stick around now.”
Dave Truesdell has worked for Leadville Fire Rescue for the past several months, after earning a Fire Academy I certification from CMC. He is working toward earning his associate degree in fire science technology, and afterward wants to stay in the Leadville area.
“I think the program has been a big plus because it helps bring more people to Leadville,” Truesdell said.