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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Trainees gain experience in NW fire academy

By Susan Tallant/managing editor

   Matt Magoffin and Max Godoi encompass very different backgrounds, but have one thing in common. They both love helping people and are pursuing certification on NW Campus to become firefighters.
   And the recent statewide fire danger reminds the community just how much help professionals in fire service industry must provide.
   Magoffin, 33, is a TCU communications graduate from Fort Worth. He worked as an emergency medical technician in Vail, Colo., for four years before moving home to Texas to earn his basic firefighter certification.
   “ The job I had in Vail was actually similar to the job of a fireman,” he said.
   “ We were posted everyday with the same guys and responded to emergency calls,” he said.
   Magoffin said the switch from an EMT to fireman just seemed like a natural progression.
   “ I am not a sit-behind-the-desk kind of person, and this was something that sounded exciting,” he said. “It will definitely be a challenge but it is something I look forward to doing.”
   Godoi, 38, moved to the United States eight years ago from Brazil.
   “ I always had the dream to come to America, he said. “I think this is the best place to be.”
   Godoi became a citizen three months ago, but said it was a lengthy process because of background checks for security reasons since the Sept. 11 attacks.
   “ I was a volunteer firefighter in Brazil, but could not get work right away here in the United States as a firefighter because I did not speak English and did not have a citizenship,” he said.
   So he started out working in construction and began to learn English.
“ It’s still hard, and I am still working on my English, but I think I am doing just fine right now,” he said.
   Godoi said he loves to help people and always dreamed of being a firefighter.
   “I know I can do this, even at my age,” he said. “It is never too late to start something.”
   Godoi is now getting experience as a volunteer firefighter for the North Tarrant County Fire Department and has been helping to fight some of the recent brush fires.
   “ God has been faithful to me, and I feel blessed to have accomplished the things that I have here,” he said.
   The first TCC fire academy class began in 1989.
   “ We are currently on day class 47 and night class 15,” said Bill Pearson, TCC fire academy coordinator.
   Day classes start three times per year, each running about a semester in length. The night class is longer, but allows people who work the opportunity to enter the program.
   “ We teach the basic fire academy curriculum put out by the state fire commission,” he said.
   Pearson said as a requirement, each student must be an emergency medical technician before entering the program and can get the certification through NE Campus.
   Students must also pass a physical agility test before acceptance into the program.
   “ The test basically consists of running a mile and a half in 13 minutes, carrying hose up the drill tower and passing a black-out drill, which tests for claustrophobia. It is just a basic over-all physical agility test that most departments would give,” he said.
   Classes consist of instruction in fire science, inspections, hazardous materials safety, emergency driving, ventilation, hose practices and search and rescue operations.
   “ It’s a combination of classroom and hands-on training,” he said.
   Pearson also said at the end of the class, students participate in live fire training scenarios such as actual fire ground activities.
   After the students complete the required hours, they take a state test on site. If they pass, they are a certified firefighter in Texas.
   For more information, contact Pamela Henke at 817-515-7718.

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