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Jim Flint

SAC Fire Academy Puts Top Candidates on the Line

 “I’ve been through three full-time fire academies, and the Santa Ana College Fire Academy is far superior for extensive basic training,” enthuses Jim Flint. A firefighter in Long Beach for the last five years, Jim earned his Bachelor of Science degree from California State University, Fullerton in 1996 in kinesiology and began work as a exercise physiologist in the Fitness Lab of SAC’s Fire Academy.

 This exposure to the work of firefighters drew him to join the Academy himself. It offers a full-time program, as well as a nine-month program, with classes on two evenings and one weekend day. Jim graduated from the 14-week full-time program in 1999 and joined the Beverly Hills Fire Department in 2001, after a rigorous hiring process and completing its fire academy.

 SAC’s Fire Academy teaches the basic skills and knowledge required to become a successful firefighter. It comprises two major components, EMT and operational training. Jim explains that 80-90% of calls are medical-related, and the academy teaches emergency medical responses suitable for the field. Operational training spans a broad spectrum of important skills, including how to use chain saws and axes, search and rescue tactics, hose lays, extractions, rappelling and more.

 And then there is the Fitness Lab, with its campus program as well as three mobile units that serve fire departments from Orange County to San Bernardino and Burbank. It’s a wellness program that teaches firefighters exercise regimens to stay fit in their physically and emotionally demanding profession. It also offers a series of analytical tests, including strength, cardio, body composition and pulmonary function.

 “The SAC Fire Academy provides a wonderful structure for all to succeed,” says Jim, “and it even helps after graduation with the hiring process.” The hiring process is rigorous, and rightly so. “It easily takes six months to a year to join a fire department,” he continues. The process includes lengthy tests of knowledge and physical ability, oral interviews, background checks, medical and psychological exams, and numerous levels of interviews.

“Being a firefighter can be a very stressful job, and you are living one-third of the year with a minimum of three other people, 10 days a month, 24 hours a day. There has to be a high level of trust, honesty, respect and appreciation of the rank structure. Someone failing could mean someone else getting hurt,” he explains.

 Jim also cites the emotional toll of the job, remembering being called recently to help a father who died at his daughter’s college graduation ceremony or a baby thrown down a flight of stairs. It’s not a job for everyone, but Jim assures us that SAC’s dynamic Fire Academy with its extensive training puts out top-tier candidates. “It was a great experience for me; the training and structure are incredible, and I am proud to be one of its instructors today,” he concludes.

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photo Jim Flint and his wife Kim

ALUMNI PROFILE
Jim Flint

SAC Fire Academy Puts
Top Candidates on the Line

“I’ve been through three full-time fire academies, and the Santa Ana College Fire Academy is far superior for extensive basic training,” enthuses Jim Flint. A firefighter in Long Beach for the last five years, Jim earned his Bachelor of Science degree from California State University, Fullerton in 1996 in kinesiology and began work as a exercise physiologist in the Fitness Lab of SAC’s Fire Academy.

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