State Fire Marshal Director Julius Halas took time during a visit to Flagler County on Tuesday, September 10th to visit the students in the Flagler Palm Coast High School Fire Leadership Academy Flagship program.

He took the time to speak to the high school students about the importance of the fire and medical services in a community and lauded the student’s hard work at such an early age and how this will help them moving forward. “You have the opportunity to get to know each other over these four years and build a special bond that will last throughout your careers.” Director Halas added, “You’ve got four years to learn this, to put your skills and knowledge to use so you’ll be better prepared for those first weeks on the job.”

Chief Don Petito with Flagler County Fire Rescue is already seeing the partnership pay dividends. “We have two graduates from last year that are going through the process that we are probably going to hire. And I believe they’ll be outstanding employees.”

The Fire Leadership Flagship opened its doors to students in January of 2017, with an inaugural class of 50 students. This flagship has continued to grow since then, filling to capacity each year. Interested students must enroll in the flagship as freshmen. In order to complete the entire program, students must begin their freshman year and remain in the academy through senior year.

The lead instructor for the Fire Leadership Flagship courses is a state-certified firefighter and a certified Florida State Fire College instructor. Flagship coursework focuses on leadership development, preparing students with skills including but not limited to: fire behavior; first responder model; personal protective equipment; use of ropes, tools, and equipment; use of fire streams; fundamentals of extinguishment and rescue procedures. Students are taught the history, equipment and specialties in fire service, and become CPR certified. Clear career pathways are explored including firefighter certifications, EMT coursework, associate degrees, paramedic training programs, and bachelor’s degree programs.

As students work to complete program coursework, they will actually be checking off completed components through the State Fire College. Students will become certified in CPR and as Emergency Medical Responders (EMR). Upon graduation from FPCHS, students will complete a short IDLH course through Flagler County Fire Rescue and then sit for the state fire exam. State law requires students to be 18 in order to complete the IDLH component and to sit for the state exam.

Students in the Fire Leadership Flagship will also have the opportunity to dual enroll their senior year through Flagler Technical Institute, in order to complete the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) program. This means that right after graduation our Fire Leadership students will be state-certified firefighters and certified EMTs.

The FPCHS Fire Leadership Flagship is a joint effort between Flagler Schools and our local fire municipalities: Flagler County Fire Rescue, The City of Palm Coast Fire Department, and the City of Flagler Beach Fire Department. Without their input and support, this academy would not be possible. The Flagler County Economic Development Board has determined fire and medical as a high need employment area within Flagler County. The goal of the FPC Fire Leadership Flagship is to graduate job-ready firefighters and EMTs who will be fully trained to work and live in Flagler County.

Indian Trails Middle School 3-peats as School of Excellence

“Congratulations” goes out to Indian Trails Middle School for a third consecutive year. ITMS has been designated a Florida School of Excellence for the 2018-19 school year. The school was also named a School of Excellence in 2017-18 and 2016-17.

“Principal Paul Peacock, his students, teachers, staff, administrators, and parents consistently show us the value of the partnership they have formed,” says Flagler Schools Superintendent James Tager. “This is a testament to the hard work put in by everyone on that Mustang team, year in and year out.”

James Tager