LAREDO — Twenty-seven cadets from five states and Canada are on their way to realizing their dream of becoming a firefighter with the graduation ceremonies of the first Laredo-based Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) Recruit Firefighter Academy on Friday, Aug. 26, at 6:30 p.m.
The academy, which was formed as part of an innovative agreement between TEEX and the city of Laredo, is held at the Laredo International Fire and Law Enforcement Training Center, which opened in 2002.
After braving the intensive, 12-week week program, the cadets are working to achieve both state and national certification as firefighters.
“These cadets are pioneers in Laredo-based fire training,” said Chief Les Bunte, division director of the TEEX Emergency Services Training Institute. “This first graduating class sets precedence for years of future firefighting excellence in Laredo.”
TEEX, a member of The Texas A&M University System, offers three additional Recruit Firefighter Academy classes each year in College Station at the Brayton Fire Training Field. TEEX has trained more than 3,000 certifiable firefighters since it established the recruit academy in 1971.
The TEEX Recruit Firefighter Academy is under the direction of TEEX Program Coordinator Donny Boggs, with the assistance of Capt. Fernando Alarcon of the Laredo Fire Department. Recruits in the Laredo class come from Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Wyoming and Canada.
Candidates for the fire service complete classroom and hands-on training with field operations and applications, exercises and scenarios. The program meets or exceeds all requirements set by the Texas Commission on Fire Protection and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard 1001.
TEEX offers hands-on, customized training, exercises, technical assistance and technology transfer services impacting Texas and beyond. TEEX programs include fire, homeland security, law enforcement, public works, safety and health, search and rescue and technology transfer.