Fun Fact Friday – Fire/Rescue Training

Fun FactDid you know Wilson Community College (WCC) has trained HUNDREDS of firefighters since 1998?

Did you know that our Fire & Rescue Academy was the first one of its kind in the state?  Phil Batts, former WCC Director of Health and Emergency Services and current Fire Chief for Silver Lake Volunteer Fire Department, founded the Academy in 1998.

The WCC Fire & Rescue Cadet Academy is a 22-week program that allows the cadet, upon completion, to become certified in Firefighter, TIMS, RIC, HAZMAT Level One Responder, Technical Rescuer, and EVD, and is held twice a year (January-June and June-November).  As of December 17, 2018, WCC  has completed 41 consecutive Regional Cadet Fire and Rescue Training Academies since its inception, and the 42nd class will graduate in June of this year.  Approximately 96% of the firefighters graduating from the program have been successful in obtaining employment from fire departments all across North Carolina and other states that are members of the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC).

Some interesting facts about the program:

  • WCC partners with Wilson Fire/Rescue Services to provide various resources.
  • The majority of the program instructors are graduates of the WCC Fire & Rescue Academy.
  • Captain Wesley Thornton with the City of Wilson teaches Rapid Intervention Crew (RIC) certification under Live Fire, which is rare. He also teaches for the Fire Department Training Network in Indianapolis, IN.
  • Battalion Chief Jim Miller, also with the City of Wilson, teaches the Flashover Simulator for every academy and assists with Live Fire Trainings. Chief Miller teaches at the NC Breathing Equipment School, which is the toughest training in NC, possibly the nation.  People from all over the country attend this training.
  • We have a total of three weeks of various Live Fire Trainings, which is more than most academies.
  • The Hazmat portion of the Academy is taught by one of the best instructors in the state – Brandon Gayle. He is also a member of the State Regional Response Hazmat Team Four (RRT-4) out of Raleigh. During his instruction, he brings in RRT-1 out of Williamston for display and discusses available resources.  WCC Director of Health and Emergency Services J.R. Griffin is a WCC Fire Academy graduate, Class 13, and also a member of the State Regional Response Hazmat Team (RRT-1).
  • WCC runs the Technical Rescuer certification block (TR), which is taught by Joe Burris.  Burris helped write the entire TR program when he was employed with the Office of State Fire Marshal (OSFM). He has also won several TR competitions, including world championships.

Applications are now being accepted for the 43rd Fire/Rescue Academy.  Candidates must be a member of a volunteer fire department, employed full or part-time with a fire department, or the candidate must be sponsored by a fire/rescue agency to be eligible for enrollment.  Please contact the Fire/Rescue Division at (252) 246-1372 or to request an application package.

We are proud to offer this program at YOUR community college!


Find us online:

Main Campus

902 Herring Avenue
Wilson, NC 27893
Phone: 252-291-1195

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Lee Technology Center

4815 Ward Blvd
Wilson, NC 27893

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Coastal Plains Law Enforcement Training Center

3997 Ward Blvd
Wilson, NC 27893

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