Statesville Fire Department Capt. Joshua Smith just completed the National Fire Academy’s Executive Fire Officer Certification program, becoming the first city firefighter to do so. Smith was honored for his accomplishments by the Statesville City Council and a large contingent of his fellow firefighters at the Aug. 3 city council meeting.
“This was a big investment by the city, as the program had me out of town for two weeks during four years,” Smith said.
“However, I do believe it was a valuable and worthwhile experience, and I really appreciate the support of our city officials.”
The program provides senior fire officers with a broad perspective on various facets of fire and emergency services administration. The courses are focused on demonstrating to firefighters how to exercise leadership when dealing with difficult or unique problems within their community.
“This is one of the most prestigious awards in the fire service, and the program is only open to a small number of fire officers each year,” said Chief Dennis Hutchens. “Capt. Smith’s research efforts benefit not only our department but fire departments across the entire nation.”
Smith said he was most impressed by the networking opportunities that surfaced during the training classes. “We were able to compare notes and procedures with firefighters from all around the country, and even Canada. There’s so much to be learned from one another.”
Smith, 33, a Union Grove native, has been a member of the Statesville Fire Department since July 2002 and was promoted to captain in December 2008. Since becoming a member of the department, he has continued his formal education by completing a Master of Public Administration degree in 2010, an Education Specialist degree in 2014, and is currently working on a Doctor of Education and Leadership degree at Appalachian State University.
He also serves as the fire service training coordinator for Mitchell Community College, responsible for delivering fire training to more than 900 firefighters in 20 fire departments throughout Iredell County.
Smith is currently assigned as captain of the city’s Station 2 firehouse, on Security Drive in the western section of the district.
The National Fire Academy, in Emmitsburg, Md., provides free, specialized training courses and advanced management programs for middle- and top-level fire officers, fire service instructors, technical professionals, and representatives from allied professions.
Admission is selective, limited to those who have substantial involvement in fire prevention and control, emergency medical services, or fire-related emergency management activities.
Dave Vieser is a freelance writer. Email him at email@example.com.