Oconee County Fire Rescue proudly announces the completion of 210 hours of Firefighter I training by six Oconee County Volunteer Firefighters. The following men and women unselfishly dedicated many hours away from their families and friends to participate in this course in order to better serve their communities:
Ernie Mitchell – Station 1, Watkinsville
Jacob Ash – Station 6, North High Shoals
Matt Gentry – Station 6, North High Shoals
Chad Wohlert – Station 6, North High Shoals
Ryan Kinsley – Station 7, Bogart
Vincent Pair – Station 8, Barber Creek
In order to become an Oconee County Volunteer Firefighter, all recruits had to pass a criminal background and driving history check, pass an assessment lab to ensure proper physical condition, pass a drug test, and complete and pass the Firefighter I course.
The 210-hour course, equivalent to the same basic essentials of firefighting taught in paid fire departments, began January 3, 2020. The following instructors held training every third night and some Saturdays through June 6, 2020: Retired Battalion Chief David Smith from Athens-Clarke County Fire Department, Station 8 Captain Mike Towe, and Station 6 Firefighter Ben Holton. After extensive classroom and hands-on training, the volunteers participated in a 7-hour live burn at the Athens-Clarke County Fire Training Center. The course concluded with the National Professional Qualification (NPQ) written test and the NPQ skills test administered by the Georgia Fire Academy.
Oconee County Fire Rescue is one of the few Volunteer Fire Departments in Georgia requiring volunteer firefighters to be tested using the National Standardized Test Format for firefighting. This is the same test that paid departments require, and is a standard of training recognized throughout the country.
Membership inquiries or questions should be directed to Fire Chief Bruce Thaxton at (706) 769-3975.