Retiring from active duty military can be daunting when you are unsure of where you will find work as a civilian. Stationed at Pope Air Force Base since 2014, Seth Hatfield joined the Air Force at age 18. He became Sandhills Community College’s first participant in the “Troops to Firefighters” program.
Troops to Firefighters is a not-for-profit fire service and 9-1-1 call center career outreach development and placement mentor. It serves to transition troops and spouses who are interested in the public safety career path. Hatfield learned about the program at a briefing discussing Career Skills Programs preparing airmen for civilian life.
With the assistance of the Continuing Education Public Safety department, Hatfield enrolled in the SCC Fire Academy while still serving active duty. He said, “I knew that this academy would set me above almost all other applicants in the Fire Service career field,” said Hatfield.
Most days, Hatfield is in class at the training center from 8:30 am until 5 pm. The Forcible Entry class taught by Capt. Forrest Cox has been Hatfield’s favorite class to date and he says all of his instructors have gone above and beyond to ensure the entire group comprehends the material and enjoys the experience.
Following the day’s training, he manages to spend time with his girlfriend and makes time for a workout at the gym. He also enjoys hanging out at the pool, playing poker with his friends, and walking his dog.
Hatfield’s goal next year is to be hired full-time by a fire department thus, beginning his new career and serving the citizens of his community.
Hatfield hopes his completion of the academy will show leadership at Fort Bragg and Pope Air Force Base how beneficial the “Troops to Firefighters” program is for transitioning military members wishing to pursue a career in Fire Service. The program can assist students in their journey to gainful employment with local, state and federal agencies.
Fire Academy at SCC
Launched in 2012, the Fire Academy at Sandhills Community College is now accepting applications for the spring semester program that begins on February 13, 2018.
At the end of this full-time program, cadets will have earned Firefighter I/II with Hazardous Materials Level 1 Responder and Technical Rescuer. Students will also take EMT-Basic as part of the program and upon successful completion of the class, will be eligible to take the state certification exam.
Students will have the opportunity to participate in or observe advanced training with surrounding departments, many of which provide support, equipment use and accommodations for students when needed. Many of the graduates are now full-time or part-time employees with local departments.
Registering for the February Class
Those interested in being members of the next Fire Academy class should request information and an application packet from Michelle Bauer, Sandhills’ Fire and Rescue Director at (910) 695-3774 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications will be accepted as long as seats are available.
Current volunteer firefighters may be eligible for a fee waiver based on their membership with a local, city, county, or state fire department.