Both experienced firefighters who want to retrain their skills and new recruits trying to build a future in the field look to Lone Star College-CyFair for an education in saving lives.
The Lone Star College Fire Academy, launched in 2003, trains current and aspiring firefighters through academic courses and simulated field training.
Diane Troyer, founding president of Lone Star College-CyFair, collaborated with the Cy-Fair Volunteer Fire Department and Harris County Emergency Services District No. 9 to create the academy. Michael Naglieri, department chair of fire science at LSC-CyFair, said the partnership was formed to create a place for firemen to be properly trained.
“We have high standards here,” said Naglieri, a former fireman with more than 25 years of experience. “We don’t want just anyone to graduate. They have to earn their spot physically and academically.”
Courses at the Fire Academy cover handling hazardous materials, staying physically fit, developing healthy nutrition, fighting fires and rescuing victims from danger.
Part of the coursework has students navigate through controlled burns, or staged fires that are set in the academy’s burn building using hay. Controlled burns test a student’s ability to save citizens from fires with limited vision and time, Naglieri said.
The approximate cost of attending the academy is $1,000 per semester for in-district students and $2,100 per semester for out-of-district students. Although some graduates stay in Cy-Fair, some also move on to other fire stations, Naglieri said.
Naglieri said he believes the academy is a worthwhile experience for firefighters or students willing to put in time and effort to make the grade.
“For every hour in class, you have to study for two hours,” he said. “For nine months, you’re going to be concentrated on this.”
9191 Barker Cypress Road, Cypress