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Monument and Black Forest Fire departments fully staffed thanks to new regional academy

Posted at 6:17 PM, May 06, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-06 21:58:26-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — The Monument and Black Forest Fire Departments are now fully staffed just in time for peak fire season. It's thanks to a new Joint Fire Academy with Pikes Peak State College (PPSC).

The academy's first class of 15 helped bring Monument Fire District to 24 firefighters and Black Forest to 30.

As smaller agencies, the two fire departments relied on larger agencies to train their new recruits, said Monument Fire Chief Andy Kovacs.

"This year we didn't have that opportunity because the academies were full," said Chief Kovacs.

That's when the two fire departments worked with PPSC to create their own 16-week training course.

The academy gets students state fire certified so they can start working right after graduation.

"Through the national fire administration, we are one of the most rigorous and strict fire academies in the nation," said PPSC associate dean of business, technology and public service Tina Bynum.

Chief Kovacs said on average, they get 75 applicants every year.

"We are really making sure we pick the right people for the job, people that are humble, are servant leaders," said Chief Kovacs. "We can teach them how to pull hose and throw ladders and tie knots in a row."

The academy will start up again next fall. Chief Kovacs hopes more fire departments send recruits.

"When our firefighters meet each other on the fire ground, they're all doing business the same way which makes us more efficient, effective and it keeps all of our firefighters safe," said Chief Kovacs.


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