FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Oct. 21, 2013
For more information
Contact: Amanda Shell
The Insurance Professionals of Greater Knoxville (IPGK) has named Rural/Metro Lieutenant Brian Woods as the Firefighter of the Year for the Knoxville area.
Woods’ recognition from the Insurance Professionals at its Oct. 15 annual awards banquet was in large part due to his work as an instructor for Rural/Metro’s Fire Cadet Academy training program at South-Doyle High School. The innovative, one-year Career and Technical Education (CTE) course is the first of its kind in the country that gives high school students the opportunity to become licensed firefighters and guarantees them a job as a Rural/Metro reserve firefighter after graduation.
“With more than 20 years of experience as a firefighting instructor, Woods is highly dedicated to both the professional training and personal development of his students at South-Doyle and at Rural/Metro’s Fire Cadet Academy,” said Jeff Devlin, Rural/Metro Fire Department Battalion Chief. “The IPGK Firefighter of the Year Award is a prestigious honor, and Lt. Woods is highly deserving of this recognition.”
During the 2012-13 school year, seven high school students went through the South-Doyle program. Three of those students have completed the process and are now certified and employed by Rural/Metro Fire Department as reserve firefighters. Seven students are currently enrolled in the program at South-Doyle.
For the 2014-15 school year, the program will expand to the Byington-Solway CTE Center, which is part of Knox County Schools, and any high school senior in Knox County will be eligible to take the course by contacting a school counselor.
Rural/Metro carries the full cost of the program, curriculum and instructors, who have all been approved by the Tennessee Department of Education. Woods is certified by the Tennessee Commission on Fire Fighting and has been training firefighters for more than 20 years.
The 180-hour South-Doyle firefighting course includes lectures and hands-on practical training outside of the classroom in the school’s parking lot. Woods teaches students vital skills such as how to handle fire hoses, climb ladders, use hand tools properly and perform other firefighting techniques.
During the summer, any student 18 years or older that completes the course and receives a high school diploma will have the opportunity to complete a finishing school, which includes live fire training exercises, riding on Rural/Metro fire trucks and other practical firefighter training. Successful completion of this phase makes the students eligible to take the Firefighter 1 test.
If students choose to attend college, they can work at Rural/Metro part-time and live in the fire station while they go to school. They also have the opportunity to complete training to become a licensed emergency medical technician (EMT) on a Rural/Metro fire engine.
“Thanks to Lt Woods’ hard work, three South-Doyle students graduated last year and found a place at Rural/Metro,” Devlin said. “Whether they become full-time fire fighters or part-time reservists, Lt. Woods’ expert leadership and guidance will give students the skills and confidence to tackle whatever career path they choose.”
Woods works and resides in South Knox County with his wife, Donna, who was also present at the awards ceremony.
Firefighters from the City of Knoxville Fire Department, Seymour Volunteer Fire Department, Karns Volunteer Fire Department, Sevierville Fire Department and other agencies were also nominees for this year’s award. Nominations are submitted by local department fire chiefs and captains.
Insurance Professionals of Greater Knoxville (IPGK) is a non-profit organization made up of professionals in all lines of insurance and risk management. If interested in finding out more about this organization, please contact Lisa King at [email protected] or 865-670-6556.
About Rural/Metro of Tennessee
Rural/Metro of Tennessee is the largest emergency service provider in East Tennessee, with a combined workforce of more than 800 firefighters, paramedics, EMTs, telecommunicators and other support personnel. Rural/Metro Ambulance Service is accredited by the Commission for Accreditation of Ambulance Services (CAAS) with contracts for 911 service in Knox, Blount, Loudon, Franklin and Polk counties.
Rural/Metro Fire Department is the third largest in the state by population protected and has provided fire protection for Knox County since 1977. Rural/Metro Corporation provides emergency and non-emergency medical transportation, fire protection, and other safety services in 22 states and approximately 400 communities throughout the United States.