Fire Academy graduation set for December

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The Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services expects to host a graduation for its 14th Fire Academy cycle on Dec. 7 but that sate is still tentative.

According to DFEMS spokesperson Rob Mojica, “Dec. 7 is the projected date they want to have the graduation.”

According to him, the cadets are currently halfway through the Emergency Medical Services training portion of the academy. The final obstacle before graduation the cadets will face, Mojica said, will be a skill sets test to ensure that they are ready to go out into the field.

Currently, the cadets are on track for their graduation scheduled for December. Following graduation, they will go on ride-alongs for actual on-the-job training.

According to a previous article on the Saipan Tribune, there were initially 52 cadets at the beginning of the academy. However, only 43 completed the first phase and successfully entered the second. Of the 43 cadets, seven were from Rota, six from Tinian, and 30 from the CNMI.

The first phase of the academy, also known as the Red phase, consisted of intense physical fitness training, discipline, and the ethics of being a cadet and being a firefighter.

Currently, the cadets are in the process of completing the academic phase where they must acquire 40 credits at the Northern Marianas College to officially pass.

DFEMS launched the emergency Fire Academy earlier this year to make up for the loss of the nine firefighters who were terminated for refusing to get vaccinated. The department was left with only 114 personnel at that time.

Initially, the target date for the start of the academy was some time around June but that had to be pushed back. The academy officially began on July 19.

A total of 23 individuals initially signed a petition against the mandatory vaccination. However, a number of these individual eventually had themselves vaccinated and only nine were eventually terminated. Those nine individuals filed a lawsuit against the Department and its commissioner, Dennis Mendiola.

Last September, Superior Court Associate Judge Joseph Camacho granted the agreement between the nine firefighters, Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services, and Mendiola to dismiss the case without prejudice. That means the plaintiffs can re-file their suit with the court if they choose.

Prior to that, on Sept. 13, the court issued an order denying the preliminary injunction to reinstate the terminated firefighters.

The court denied the plaintiff’s motion on three grounds; they failed to exhaust their administrative remedies, the preliminary injunction was not a proper remedy for economic harm, and the plaintiffs did not have a strong likelihood of success on the merits for any of their claims, the level of threat of irreparable harm was not present, and the public’s interest in protecting health outweighed the interest of plaintiffs.

Kimberly B. Esmores | Reporter
Kimberly Albiso Bautista has covered a wide range of news beats, including the community, housing, crime, and more. She now covers sports for the Saipan Tribune. Contact her at kimberly_bautista@saipantribune.com.

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