Nebraska Southeast Community College Board of Governors
United States of America

I personally know of fellow students that have moved to Lincoln to attend SCC for the paramedic and the fire program. I know of other students who are thinking of moving or have already moved to attend an out of state college that has both a paramedic program and a fire program. Before I learned that I might not be able to get the degree if I waited, I was planning to get my associates degree as a paramedic and then also get one in fire science. Emergency services need both programs. Rather than focusing on the paramedic program alone more effort could be put into promoting them both, enthusiasm for one could boost the other. In terms of long term satisfaction and career longevity, Paramedic is almost useless without some fire training. A paramedic’s best chance at a sustainable paycheck with benefits is on a career fire department. The intense focus on paramedic to the exclusion of fire protection does our students an extreme disservice.
There are only two other colleges in Nebraska that offer a fire science program at all. Nebraska is already a bit behind the rest of the nation in terms of certifications available or required at the state level. As a community college, I know our goals are to promote forward movement in all areas of the community, but the removal of the degree program without first making adjustments to the existing marketing and recruitment strategies seems counterproductive. If attempts were made to encourage the program chair to actively recruit, they seem to have failed. If that is the case I would rather see a new program chair appointed than see the program die. We need to be in the high schools actively promoting the program.
Regarding our program chair, while I have very high regard for him as an individual, given the fact he actively tells students to pursue paramedic almost exclusively, I really feel someone who doesn't seem to dislike career firefighters would be a better fit. It’s hard to stay in the program if you have to fight against your advisor.
A fire sciences degree may not be required to obtain an entry-level position in a fire department, but when it comes time for advancement in a department, a college education is a hugely beneficial element. The emergency services nationwide are fighting to change how we are viewed by the public and given the volumes that have been written over the years I am not alone in the feeling that educating our public servants is an integral part of continued growth and professional development. As professionals it is important to know why we are trained to do things the way we are, it is important to know the science, not just the practical applications.

We, the undersigned, call on the school administration to reinstate and maintain the Fire Protection Associate Degree Program and to actively take measures to ensure its continued availability for students and the community.

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The Save the SCC Fire Protection Program petition to Nebraska Southeast Community College Board of Governors was written by Jessica Oakes and is in the category Education at GoPetition.