Local residents should feel a little safer these days due to a recent achievement by members of the Mount Airy Fire Department.
It involved eight city firefighters attaining Advanced Firefighter certification through the North Carolina State Firefighters Association.
This is a voluntary program whereby fire personnel can receive statewide recognition for extra efforts they demonstrate in their public safety field.
“It’s a combination between the education, the number of hours of professional training they have and on-the-job experience,” Immediate Past President Chris Davis of the state association explained during a Mount Airy Board of Commissioners meeting earlier this month.
The meeting served as an occasion for presenting certificates to and honoring the eight firefighters, with Davis, a firefighter from Forsyth County, on hand to do so along with city Fire Chief Zane Poindexter.
Recipients included Firefighter Jason Burkholder, Capt. Scottie Wolfe, Fire Inspector Steve Everett, Assistant Fire Chief Chris Fallaw, Capt. Danny Vipperman. Firefighter Tim Eldridge, Lt. Kenneth Simmons and Lt. Jake Henley.
“It is a testament to each one of these firefighters,” Davis said of their achievement, “to their dedication to their craft, their service.”
“All of these men have sacrificed a lot of time and put in a tons of effort,” Poindexter said of their meeting the requirements for the state certification.
In addition to a minimum four years of experience as a firefighter, the requirement criteria includes an advanced-level fire proficiency and certifications in related realms such as emergency medical and hazardous materials.
The awarding of Advanced Firefighter Certificates involves a peer-review process, according to Davis.
Only a small percentage of Mount Airy Fire Department members now possess that status, according to Chief Poindexter.
“It’s equivalent to the Advanced Law Enforcement Certificate,” Poindexter said in reference to one of the highest honors and accomplishments an officer in North Carolina can attain.