BC host employer panel with local fire departments and emergency services

Bakersfield College’s webinar on Fire and EMS Employer Panel on April 14 included U.S. Forest Services fire prevention technician Eddy Rosales, who showed examples of work his department does such as prescribed fires to cut down on the dangers of forest fires.

Aubrianna Martinez, Reporter

Bakersfield College hosted a webinar on April 14 presented by Dean Lora Larkin titled Fire and EMS Employer Panel which featured members from local fire departments and emergency services who spoke on the subject of how people can enter these professions.

The speakers listed the education requirements needed to apply to each of the branches of emergency services present and referenced that more information on their respective websites and social media pages. 

Each speaker noted the minimum education requirements for applying for a position in their respective emergency service and referenced possible other training courses available at BC is a high school diploma or equivalent and the applicant must be 18 years old. The school’s Public Safety Pathway counselor Fabiola Johnson showed a presentation wherein she walked attendees through the programs available, “we are currently registering for summer and fall,” she said.

Professor Charles Truvillion spoke on the firefighter academy as he explained the specifics necessary for applying to these agencies and the training BC offers in their Public Safety courses.

Heather Lee presented on Hall Ambulance where she spoke from her nearly 16 years of experience, noting that Hall is Kern County’s “largest emergency medical service provider […] we do over 80% of the county”

When she discussed working as an EMT Lee explained, “You have to remember that you’re going to see people on the worst day of their lives; they’re sick, they’re hurt, they’re scared. You have to make sure you’re compassionate with them and that you are very sensitive to their needs.”

The other speaker from Hall Ambulance’s human resources department, Beth Cornell, mentioned that Hall accepts applications throughout the year and urged applicants to include every previous example of employment they have on their resume, “even if they don’t have previous EMT experience, paramedic experience, etc. we want to see what you’ve done—honestly, I want to see that you’ve worked in the drive-thru at Starbucks because that’s helpful, it’s a highly stressful job, really fast-paced so it’ll help build some skills,” she said.

Amanda Diamond with Liberty Ambulance during her presentation spoke about emergency and non-emergency calls and described the shift schedule they use. She also emphasized the strong family dynamic that exists within the company.

Diamond explained that the company looks for “professionals that would want to serve the community and are committed by providing exceptional care.”

The Department of Agriculture’s U.S. Forest Services fire prevention technicians Joaquin Ibarra and Eddy Rosales explained their work in preventing wildfires, referencing people’s likely familiarity with the Smokey the Bear signs “as fire danger increases or decreases the signs tend to reflect that,” Ibarra said.

Rosales explained the schedule the department uses for their prescribed burning “in the winter is usually when we do a lot of [them] because it allows us to use a drip torch to light the piles, sometimes we’ll just let them burn—we don’t need to monitor as much, we’ll have limited people because we know it’s not going to cause a big fire with that amount of snow.”

Bakersfield Fire Department Fire Battalion Chief Michael Walkley spoke about the “military-like program” within the department, “you have to have a bachelor’s degree to be a fire chief […] if you aspire to be a deputy or a fire chief you’ll have to keep working on your education,” he said.

Walkley referenced COVID-19 restrictions lifting and how the BFD is planning around tier shifts, “we’re going to bring our ride-along program back. You can come to ride out and see what it’s like to be a firefighter before you make a commitment,” he stated. 

Kern County Fire Department engineer Andrew Freeborn showed footage of the department’s past work across their 47 stations “we’re always here to help out, that’s why we have the new fire recruit systems program, where we’re working with Bakersfield College,” he stated.