Florence Career Center is offering something new for students this year. With some 18 students enrolled, a firefighter curriculum is set to teach students who want to become certified, paid firefighters. Alphonso Bradley, Florence Career Center director, said county administrator Rusty Smith expressed an interest in the fact that the number of firefighters in our state is dwindling. He said Smith visited other career centers where the firefighter curriculum was offered. “After Mr. Smith’s visits to places like Georgetown County and after our staff and local fire chief Billy Dillon received training offered by the S.C. Dept. of Education, we became ready to help combat the concern about the availability of fewer fighters,” said Bradley.
Through staff development received from the South Carolina Fire Academy and South Carolina State Firefighters’s Association, the Florence Career Center has coordinated with the local fire department to develop a Career and Technology Center curriculum guide for delivering certification-level training to high school-aged students. Bradley said the curriculum includes Firefighter I and Firefighter II courses which are designed to ready course-completers for hiring by local fire departments. During a press conference announcing this new program last week, Jeffrey Allen, the instructor for the program, said all the area fire departments contributed firefighting equipment, including the City of Florence, Timmonsville, Johnsonville, Sardis, Howe Springs, Windy Hill, West Florence and S. Lynches River fire department. A 1975 Mac fire truck was donated by Sardis Fire Dept., Allen said.