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22 complete firefighter certification

Twenty-two graduates completed a 160-hour volunteer firefighter certification course through the Jemison Fire Department Saturday.

Represented in the group were Jemison, North Chilton, West Chilton, Union Grove, Collins Chapel, Cedar Grove, Enterprise, East Chilton, Verbena, and White City fire departments.

“This is the same education and job performance requirements as if someone went through recruit school,” said Jemison Fire Chief John Dennis, the primary instructor for the course. “Firefighting is the same whether you’re doing it for a career or as a volunteer.”

Dennis, also a captain with Hoover Fire Department, has taught firefighter certification courses since 1995. He said the course helps volunteers have a true understanding of fire behavior, how to attack fires, and how to use equipment properly.

The course ran from June through December and focused on every aspect of firefighting, in addition to rescue training such as extrication of a crash victim from a wrecked vehicle.

Upon recognition, the graduates received two state certificates, one for volunteer firefighting and another for hazmat (hazardous materials) awareness and operations, Dennis said.

“This is the highest level training that a volunteer can get,” he added.

Over the next two years, Dennis wants to teach other courses so the participating volunteers may build on their training.

These will include a second firefighter certification course and an apparatus operator course.

Dennis said the first course began with 34 volunteers, 22 of which went on to graduate.

“The physical drill part of it was pretty demanding, and to have 22 complete it was outstanding,” he said. “It’s going to greatly improve every department that participated in the class by having more highly skilled firefighters in their department.”

The graduates included the following:

Cortley Minor, Derek Abernathy (Jemison/West Chilton), Caleb Hollis (Jemison/Union Grove), Adam Blow, Tyler Snow, Dustin Walker (Jemison), Kevin Dennis (North Chilton), Carolyn Popwell (Cedar Grove), Jay Littleton, Alisha Minor, Shawn Carlisle, Brandon Pate (Collins Chapel), Catheriene Ferguson, Joe Mattingly, Paula Mattingly, Byran Buckner (Enterprise), Sam Mathis, Matt Rollan, Nick Young (Gap of the Mountain), Traci Terrell (East Chilton), Matt Blackmon and Michael Varden (Verbena).