With thanks to fire service legend and eminent historian Chief Ronny J. Coleman, this week we begin to tell the story of the evolution of fire service training and education in California. We'll first take a closer look at the start and growth of community college fire science programs in Marin and Sonoma counties. We'll later weave in the historical role of California State Fire Training including a profile of Instructor Ed Bent, after whom the California Fire Instructor of the Year award is named after. We'll profile the National Fire Academy, and programs such as Executive Fire Officer, and will cover the current state of training and education resources and opportunities, including online education.
Chief Coleman studied the broader topic about California Fire Service Training and Education for his masters degree thesis at California State University, Long Beach, published in 1994. His introduction included this overview - "The concept of an American fire-training program began in the early 1920s as an effort of Chief Engineer Ralph Scott of the Los Angeles City Fire Department. His work was based on training programs from American metropolitan and suburban departments, which were in turn influenced to some degree by the European fire services."
Special thanks to contributors Chief William Lellis, Larkspur FD, retired, and Division Chief Fred Bunker, Sausalito FD, retired. Both were leaders in regional training and education in the North Bay Area region inside and outside of the college systems, starting in the 1960's and 70's. And both were heavily influenced by Ronny Coleman, who in turn was influenced by leaders such as Ralph J. Scott, Ed Bent, and Ray Picard. Visit our College Fire Science and Technology Section under the "More" tab on our website to read articles by Bill and Fred on the histories of the College of Marin and Santa Rosa Junior College fire programs.
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