Centralia College East is offering a wildland firefighter certification course spring quarter that, upon completion, will have students prepared to apply for entry-level firefighter positions throughout the country with a whole array of organizations and agencies, including local opportunities with the state Department of Natural Resources and U.S. Forest Service.
The class will be taught by Sami Schinnell, who has more than 20 years of experience in the firefighting field.
“I was born and raised in East Lewis County,” Schinnell said in a Centralia College news release. “Fire has taught me a lot about life and a lot about myself, while getting paid to work in some of the most amazing places. I’m excited to be able to provide some exposure to those opportunities to other folks in East Lewis County.”
Although students do not need to be 18 to take the class, they do need to be 18 to apply for most fire jobs, according to Centralia College.
The class begins with a virtual orientation from 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 4, according to Centralia College.
Prospective students can register by calling 360-496-5022. Space is limited to 20 students. This class is expected to fill quickly, so early registration is encouraged.
Participating students will have from April 4 to May 15 to complete approximately 24 hours of online module content.
Students will then participate in two eight-hour days of hands-on field exercises and fire demonstrations May 20 and 21. Students should have adequate footwear, such as boots, hiking boots or sturdy shoes with enclosed toes, and be prepared to be outside regardless of the weather.
Tools and other personal protective equipment will be provided.
Students who successfully complete the course requirements receive a Firefighter Type 2 certification from the National Wildfire Coordinating Group, according to Centralia College.
“The camaraderie of the fire world is truly something special,” Schinnell said. “The work is hard, the hours are long, and the food at fire camp is sometimes mediocre, but when you see a ‘thank you firefighters’ sign hanging on someone’s fence, you know your work is worth it.”
The class fee is $85 and there are a limited number of partial scholarships available, according to Centralia College. Call Centralia College East at 360-496-5022 for more information on the program, to register for the class or to receive a scholarship application.