The Snohomish County Fire Chiefs Association directed the development of the local academy as the county’s growing hiring needs outpaced available enrollment
at the Washington State Training Academy in North Bend. The intensive 14-week academy will be based at South County Fire near Everett. Member agencies
are: Arlington Fire Department, Everett Fire Department, Lake Stevens Fire Department, Marysville Fire District, Mukilteo Fire Department, North County
Fire & EMS, Snohomish County Fire District 4, Snohomish County Fire District 7, Snohomish County Fire District 19 and South County Fire.
“The Snohomish County Fire Training Academy will improve firefighter safety and enhance services for the citizens of our region,” Marysville Fire Chief
Martin McFalls said. “Partnering with other local departments means that training, equipment and operations will be standardized, ultimately reducing
the risk in our communities. This collaborative approach is not only effective and efficient; it’s being fiscally responsible with taxpayer dollars.”
Three new full-time Marysville Fire District firefighters are among 27 recruits attending the academy: Firefighter/Paramedic Brian Donaldson, Firefighter
Katie Hereth and Firefighter Michael Work. Marysville Captain Jason Huizenga and Firefighter Ryan Hopp are among 45 academy instructors.
Recruits will train 40 hours a week learning skills to prepare for their first shift assignment. Instructors are drawn from all 10 member agencies. Many
have previous teaching experience at the Washington State Fire Training Academy. Instructors from Everett Community College Fire Science program will
provide strength and conditioning to prepare the recruits for the physical demands of a career in the fire service. Other training will focus on the
mental demands of the job including handling stress in emergencies.
Providing a local recruit academy not only addresses the county’s hiring needs, but offers other benefits as well:
The local academy will include training in Snohomish County protocols not available at the state academy. This will greatly reduce or eliminate the need
for post-academy training, allowing departments to put recruits to work at local fire stations more quickly.
Multiple departments sharing local expertise breaks down borders so firefighters can work together more effectively on mutual aid incidents.
Sharing instructors and curriculum reduces duplicated effort.
Training locally allows recruits to go home to their families at night instead of spending 14 weeks at the state academy in North Bend.
The costs for the initial year are equal to the expense of sending a recruit to the state academy. Participating fire departments are donating the use
of apparatus and equipment. The academy is seeking a federal grant to pay for equipment needs going forward.
Fire departments are looking at other regional opportunities. The Snohomish County Training Consortium formed last year to explore ways to expand multi-jurisdictional
training and work together across jurisdictional boundaries.
All information direct from MFD Press Release, 3/15