New program makes volunteer firefighter training more flexible - - Columbia, South Carolina

New program makes volunteer firefighter training more flexible


A new firefighter training program isn't just a first for Orangeburg County, it's also a first for our state. It's been about a year in the making for the Orangeburg County Fire District.

"We know the area, we know the people, we know the shifts they work, we know the times they get home," said Carl Thompson, assistant chief of the Provident Fire Department.

The new pilot program allows in-county firefighter instructors to train their own volunteer squad.

"What most people forget is the volunteer firefighters are working during the day and at night," said Teddy Wolfe. "They should be home with their family, so the flexibility is needed to provide them the training."

Until now, training was only offered through the South Carolina Fire Academy on certain days, but starting in January, 24 county instructors will be available to train the over 400 volunteer firefighters.

The odds are likely that other counties use Orangeburg as a model to design similar programs.

"The potential that we have to impact the whole state starting here in Orangeburg is a great, great feeling," said Wolfe. 

Officials in Orangeburg also say the program has the potential to save the state money since instructors will no longer have to travel to the county from the academy.

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