Nick Cirillo spent years preparing himself as a candidate for a firefighting career.
His efforts paid off recently when, after completing the Fire Fighting Technologies Certificate (FFTC) program at the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC), Nick was hired as a probationary firefighter at Richmond Fire-Rescue.
Before attending JIBC, he added a number of work and educational experiences to his resume. He worked as a lifeguard and swim instructor for eight years, and for St. John Ambulance in helping transport non-emergency patients. In addition, he completed a Bachelor of Physical Education and Coaching at Douglas College.
Nick’s dad was a firefighter so he came by his interest in firefighting naturally. When he decided to begin his pursuit of a firefighting career, Nick turned to JIBC.
“I heard a lot of positive feedback from other firefighters who had taken the FFTC program,” he said. “In addition, I did a lot of my own research on the FFTC program as well as some of the other fire schools around North America. FFTC was easily the best choice because it offered the most comprehensive and hands-on program.”
The program is comprised of up to 12 weeks of online, knowledge-based courses, followed by seven weeks of hands-on, live-fire training at JIBC’s Maple Ridge campus, Western Canada’s most extensive firefighting training facility.
[JIBC's] FFTC was easily the best choice because it offered the most comprehensive and hands-on program
“You get your hands on every single piece of equipment and get countless reps with the equipment. The most memorable parts of the training were the multiple days of live-fire training in the burn building and auto extrication. It was awesome to learn and perform the hallmark skills of the fire service.”
Upon graduation, Nick was a recipient of the Irving K. Barber One World International Scholarship administered by the Victoria Foundation. With additional support from The Justice Institute of British Columbia Foundation, the award provides an opportunity for FFTC grads like him to train at the Fire Service College in the UK and gain international firefighter training experience.
When he began applying for firefighting positions, Nick saw how the FFTC program benefited him in more ways than simply learning how to fight fires and rescue people.
“One of the biggest advantages the FFTC program provides is the making of connections. All of the instructors are or were firefighters from local departments. They are able to provide you with invaluable information about their departments that may be able to help you with hiring processes in the future,” he said.
Once hired at Richmond Fire-Rescue, his JIBC training served as a strong foundation.
“I do not feel like I started at square one when my training with Richmond-Fire Rescue started,” he said. “It goes beyond the skills that I learned on the drill ground. Our JIBC training officers emphasized how we should conduct ourselves in the fire service in terms of respecting the uniform and following the chain of command.”
Nick recommends the FFTC program to others because of the comprehensive, hands-on fire training experience.
“The instructors go out of their way to ensure student success not just during the program, but after program completion so that students have the necessary skills going forward in hiring processes and careers in the fire service.”
Applications are now being accepted for upcoming intakes of the Fire Fighting Technologies Certificate program. For more information and to apply, visit jibc.ca/fftc.