Area firefighters graduate from SC Fire Academy

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Three northern Beaufort County recruits were among the 22 graduates of the South Carolina Fire Academy in September.

Ronald L. Ball, Jr. (City of Beaufort/Town of Port Royal Fire Department), Tommy Buskirk (Lady’s Island-St. Helena Fire District) and Jessica Tomasoski (City of Beaufort/Town of Port Royal Fire Department) graduated Friday, Sept. 27 from the eight-week firefighter candidate school in Columbia.

The graduation’s keynote speaker was Chief Bruce Kline of the Lady’s Island-St. Helena Fire District. The firefighters underwent a 320-hour training program of classroom and hands-on firefighting skills development.

“This challenging eight-week program requires commitment, passion, and dedication,” Fire Academy Superintendent Dennis Ray said. “These recruits have successfully worked together as a team, performed extensive hands-on training with live fires, and passed intensive practical skills evaluations and written tests to meet the National Fire Protection Association standards.”

The comprehensive training, offered quarterly at the Fire Academy, includes emergency responder first aid training, hazardous materials operations training, auto extrication, flammable liquids and gas firefighting, rescue training, and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Firefighter I and Firefighter II levels.

Ball earned the Pride of the Battalion award, given to the recruit who has demonstrated “Leadership, Integrity, Determination and Good Value.” This award recipient is chosen by the instructor staff who worked with the recruits during the eight-week program.

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