The 20th Roanoke Valley Regional Fire & EMS Academy made up of 23 recruits graduated on December 15. The ceremony was held at the Berglund Center Performing Arts Theater.
According to Jennifer Sexton, Volunteer/PR Coordinator for Roanoke County Fire & EMS, 16 individuals representing the Roanoke City Fire-EMS, five representing Roanoke County Fire & Rescue, and two from Salem Fire/EMS spent 18 weeks and nearly 1,000 hours “receiving instruction and practical training in the areas of basic firefighting skills and emergency medical service (EMS) instruction.” Classes for this academy began in August.
The fire training included building construction, forcible entry, ventilation, search and rescue, and hazardous material operations. The EMS training included basic anatomy and physiology, medical trauma assessments, diabetic difficulties, cardiac, respiratory, and heat and cold emergencies, how to use a variety of medical equipment, and the importance of patient rights.
The academy concluded with a “live-burn” at the Roanoke Valley Regional Fire & EMS Training Center (RVRTC) on Kessler Mill Road in Roanoke County. Most of the training was conducted at the RVRTC.
Roanoke City Fire Chief David Hoback, Roanoke County Fire and Rescue Chief Stephen Simon, and Salem Fire/EMS Chief John Prillaman addressed the new firefighters and their families in attendance at the graduation ceremony, along with numerous state and local dignitaries and officials.
Chief Prillaman asked the firefighters to always have “pride, honor, and integrity” knowing that “mothers will trust you enough to hand you their babies.”
Chief Simon reminded the graduates to be role models because “children look up to firefighters.”
Recruits were pinned with their Fire-EMS badges and took the Firefighter Oath at the conclusion of the ceremony. The graduates also received their station assignments immediately following the event. Some reported for duty that same day.
“Bringing the Fire and EMS Departments together to learn, train, and grow provides consistency among all firefighter/EMS personnel— whether stationed in the City of Roanoke, Roanoke County, or the City of Salem— minimizing costs to each jurisdiction through shared instructors and equipment,” said Sexton.
The Roanoke Valley Regional Fire & EMS Training Center is a partnership between the Cities of Roanoke and Salem, Roanoke County, and Vinton. It is “a continuing effort to enhance fire and EMS safety operations and to improve the delivery of these critical services through better training. It creates a system that allows for each area to have access to a state-of-the-art facility, as well as the sharing of resources to include specialized instructors and equipment, resulting in greater productivity region-wide.”
Graduates from Academy No. 20 included Sean Belcher and Joseph Trigg, who will be assigned to Salem; Christopher Binkley, Hunter Creasy, Jason Lim, Ian Mullins and Christopher O’Brien, who are assigned to Roanoke County; and Matthew Bower, Zachary Coleman, Ambrose Ezeigbo, Zachary Flippen, Keith Gaines, Dewayne Gray Jr., Ryan Hidalgo, Terry Lane, Joshua Ledford, Marvin McGinnis, Taylor Neas, Jacob Rickett, Andrew Sellers, Robert Stuart, Patrick Webber, and Kevin Wilson, who are assigned to Roanoke City stations.
Hunter Creasy is a 2012 graduate of William Byrd High School. He has been assigned to the Cave Spring Fire and Rescue Station No. 3. Creasy was a member of the William Byrd High School Air Force JROTC program.
“Hunter was one of my top drill team members, and captain of the team his senior year,” said Master Sgt. Paul Richardson, Aerospace Science instructor for the William Byrd (now retired). “He was state champion in the individual knockout event.”
Creasy is the son of Greg and Stephanie Creasy.