This morning, a group of dedicated Key West High School students graduated from the Key West Fire Department's Firefighters Academy. Proud families, Key West Fire Department members, and City officials were on hand during the ceremony to acknowledge these students' hard work and dedication who have invested two years of training for their future careers as first responders.
These students earned certifications in Firefighter I, Emergency Medical Responder, and Hazmat Awareness.
Capt. Timothy Anson, who leads the academy, praised the group for the tenacity it requires to finish the academy, noting that they would do their grueling physical training in the early hours before heading off to a full day of high school.
Fire Chief Alan Averette congratulated the students and said he hopes they pursue a career in firefighting and EMS. He pointed out current members of the department as graduates of the academy.
“But whatever career you pursue,” he said, “these skills will always be with you. I look forward to welcoming you if you decide to become part of this department.”
Among the attendees of the graduation ceremony was retired Fire Chief Billy Wardlow, one of the founders of the academy and now a city commissioner.
The two-year fire academy trains future firefighters while they're attending their final two years of high school and provides them, upon completion, the equivalent training of a Certified Firefighter I, which puts them halfway through the training required to become a Key West Firefighter.
In the photo from L to R: City Manager Albert Childress, Commissioner Billy Wardlow, Retiring City Manager Patti McLauchlin, Captain Timothy Anson, Richard Estevez, Clerf Alexandre, Albert Munzanarez, Danna Correa, Natalie Arguello, Jasmine Cisneros-Montes, Ernest Liz, Eric Sellers, Jacob Rookey, Nathan Bremer, and Fire Chief Alan Averette.