Cadets of the 14th Fire Academy have successfully completed the first phase of their training and have begun the second phase, which focuses on academics.
Last Friday, the 43 cadets enrolled in the 14th cycle of the Fire Academy officially started the academic phase, which is expected to last another four months.
JJ Concepcion, who is the DFEMS training coordinator, said the cadets completed the “Red” phase of the academy, better known as the physical training, last Monday. The Red phase, Concepcion said, consisted of intense physical fitness training, discipline, and the ethics of being a cadet and being a firefighter. The phase lasted a month and the cadets will now undergo the academic phase, where they must acquire 40 credits at the Northern Marianas College.
“Upon completion, they will officially take on the title of Firefighter 1 and will undergo a recognition ceremony,” he said.
The cadets are on track for their graduation, which is scheduled for December. Following graduation, they will go on ride-alongs—where they will join firefighters as they go about their work—for actual, on-the-job, training.
Of the initial 52 cadets, 43 have completed the first phase and successfully entered the second. Of the 43 cadets, seven are from Rota, six are from Tinian, and 30 are from Saipan.
Initially, the target date for the start of the academy was some time around June but had to be pushed back. The academy officially began on July 19.
DFEMS launched the emergency Fire Academy earlier this year to make up for the loss of the nine firefighters who were earlier terminated for refusing to get vaccinated. The department was left with only 114 personnel due to the loss of the nine firefighters.
Initially, 23 individuals signed a petition against the mandatory vaccination. However, only nine were issued termination notices. Currently, the nine are suing DFEMS and its commissioner, Dennis Mendiola, for violating their constitutional rights and are asking the court to reinstate them to their previous posts while their lawsuit is pending.