Concord High School Fire Academy dedicates World Trade Center artifact

CarolinaFireJournal - By David Barlow
By David Barlow
01/11/2012 -

The Concord High School (CHS) Fire Academy has unveiled and dedicated a piece of the World Trade Center for use in the Fire Academy in its Memorial Wall. This was one of two pieces that was requested by the Concord Department of Fire and Life Safety. The journey to acquire the two pieces was a process that took a little over one year.

The request was made by Concord Fire and Life Safety’s Deputy Chief of Operations, Ray Allen, to the New York and New Jersey Port Authority and the process was set into motion early in 2010. The request was granted and they arrived on May 22, 2011. The larger piece that was designated for the City of Concord, North Carolina was dedicated and unveiled on Sept. 11, 2011 at the 10th Anniversary Patriots Day ceremony held at Concord Fire and Life Safety Station 8.


Pictured are the Honor Guard members and graduates. Honor Guard members are flanking the graduates. (L-R) Austin Riley, Amber Cline — Honor Guard; Tabittha Beck, David Small, Greg VanPelt, Hayden Link — graduates; Kyle Franklin, Taylor Beverly — Honor Guard.

The following day the second piece was unveiled and dedicated at Concord High School. After the unveiling ceremony, the artifact was available in the commons area for teachers to bring their classes by throughout the day and inspect the artifact in a more reverent and respectful way. The CHS Fire Academy Honor Guard stood guard over the piece and rotated personnel every 15 minutes.

The CHS Fire Academy has had a busy second half of the school year. In addition to the Firefighter I, II classes, we hosted a school wide assembly on April 14th, 2011 where several agencies worked together to share with the students of Concord High School the dangers of driving while under the influence of alcohol.

Liberty Mutual Insurance Company of Mooresville, N.C. provided us with the crashed car and we coordinated with all of the Public Safety Agencies in our area, the CHS Fire Academy, and the drama class to deliver the program. Students were made up with multiple injuries and moulage. It was a great success.

A presentation was given about the Concord High School Fire Academy to the N.C. Fire and Rescue Commission at their spring meeting in April at the Pinecroft - Sedgefield Fire Department SW of Greensboro. The Fire and Rescue Commission meets quarterly. The reason for the overview and update was to let the commission know firsthand what is happening with the program since there is so much interest statewide and beyond.

To celebrate the end of the year we had our first annual Awards Night where we gave out certificates for all leadership positions and presented the Good Jake Award for the Most Improved and the Training Award forthe Best Practical Skills displayed throughout the year. The Chief’s Award was presented for the highest academic average. Next we showed video highlights of the year and we had the Assistant Chief — Student Chief of the program deliver a short address and pin the collar brass on the newly selected Assistant chief for the upcoming year.

Pictured is the Honor Guard at the Induction Banquet SEAFC Conference held in Montgomery, Alabama. (L-R) Chief David Barlow, Austin Riley, Kyle Franklin, Brandon Blackwelder, Amber Cline and Chief Douglas Cline.

Deputy Chief Ray Allen of Concord Fire and Life Safety delivered the Keynote speech and the event was attended by many parents and family members. Also in attendance in their dress blue Class A uniforms were the engine and truck companies that are in the High School’s first due. Chief Barlow delivered “The Year in Review” which provided us with some pretty amazing statistics about the CHS Fire Academy.

Later in the week the members of the CHS Fire Academy were treated to the first annual Fireman’s Day. This fun filled day was dedicated to showcase our skills and have a friendly competition between the battalions. Similar to a Fireman’s Muster, we had Turnout Races, Knot Tying contest, Hose Relay, Bucket Brigade event and the ever popular Tug O War.

After the events were complete the musically talented in the CHSFA played some of their original musical pieces on their electric guitars and shared some country music while we feasted on hot dogs with all the condiments and watermelon.

Concord High School Fire Academy dedication ceremony for World Trade Center artifact. Pictured from left, Randy Holloway, Fire Chief, Concord Fire and Life Safety; Mrs. Carla Black, Principal, Concord High School; Ray Allen, Deputy Chief of Operations, Concord Fire and Life Safety; and David Barlow, Chief, Concord High School Fire Academy.

June was eventful as the end of the year and graduation approached. Once again, the Honor Guard geared up to present the colors as we saw our first recruits leave the program very close to completing their Firefighter I,II state certification. As we did the first year, we drove our seniors to and from graduation in a fire apparatus. This is a tradition that I feel that we will continue into the future.

The week after graduation, the CHS Fire Academy Honor Guard traveled to Montgomery, Alabama to participate in the International Association of Fire Chief’s Southeastern Conference. The Honor Guard was treated to seeing the vendor displays and watching the Firefighter’s Combat Challenge. The Honor Guard took part in The Chief’s Trumpet Podcast with the president of the International Association of Fire Chief’s Southeastern, Chief Douglas Cline. The Honor Guard members met Dr. Dennis Onieal, superintendent of the National Fire Academy, and Christopher Naum of

The Honor Guard presented the Colors on Saturday evening at the Installation of Officers Banquet. David Bowman of Charlotte Fire Department won the aforementioned Individual Firefighter Combat Challenge with a time of 1:36:66; his son is a senior at Mt. Pleasant High School, who has made plans to enter the CHS Fire Academy during the Spring (2012) semester.

Many thanks to Pat Cimini, Executive Director of the Southeastern Association of Fire Chiefs, and to Chief Douglas Cline, President of the Southeastern Association of Fire Chiefs and all the others involved that made it possible for the CHS Fire Academy to attend this conference.

In early April 2011, three of the CHS Fire Academy Recruits competed in the Firefighting portion of the Skills USA State Conference and did well placing second, sixth and seventh. Our second place winner was called on to represent the State of North Carolina at the National Conference in Kansas City, MO. Immediately after returning from Montgomery, Alabama, Chief Barlow and recruit Brandon Blackwelder flew out to Kansas City, MO for the week long Skills USA National Conference.

Recruit Blackwelder did exceptionally well with the physical skills competition portion with a certified CPAT time of 8:52, Donning of Turnout Gear in 38 seconds, Figure 8 on a bight in 6 seconds and an axe raise of 12 seconds. Recruit Blackwelder finished in 19th place overall. Recruit Blackwelder is only one third of the way through the complete Firefighter I,II curriculum.

While in Kansas City, Chief Barlow and Brandon Blackwelder drove from the Skills USA National Conference to Joplin, MO to tour and document the damage caused by the EF5 Tornado that ravaged the city just 29 days earlier. While there the Dusk to Dawn Curfew was still in place inside “The Zone“ and all US flags were flying at half staff. Over the July 4th weekend, the flags were raised to full staff. The sights and smells, the crunching of powdered glass and wood, the total devastation and the items left behind were astounding. Nothing can prepare you for having a boots on the ground experience like this. The photos and videos do not truly represent the devastation or the loss nor does it represent the spirit of the people who are rebuilding.

While there we were able to visit with the crew of Joplin Fire Department Station 2 that was on duty the evening of May 22, 2011 and had to remove the door of the fire station in order to get their reserve engine company out. The roof and wall had fallen on the primary engine company. These guys are operating out of two camping trailers along with the new Pierce Engine that was donated to replace the one they lost. We provided them with the cards.

This experience just reinforced what the recruits decided to do after the Joplin, MO tornado and that was to within five years put together a Search and Rescue Emergency Response Team that could respond to these types of events and others within 24 hours.

Participating in the Fireman’s Day Tug -o- War are recruits from Battalion 2: (L-R) Kyle Franklin, Zack McClure, Tabittha Beck and Austin Riley.

While the Honor Guard was in Montgomery, Alabama, one of our recruits was completing his Fire Control class Live Burn Practical. Recruit Nathan Bryant is now the first recruit to graduate from our CHS Fire Academy and complete his Firefighter I,II certification. Recruit Bryant was hired as a part time firefighter with Odell Fire Department in Cabarrus County and he is enrolled in the Fire Protection Technology Associates Degree program at Rowan Cabarrus Community College. Right behind him is our Assistant Chief Tabittha Beck who will finish Fire Control this fall. She too is enrolled in the same two year Associates Degree program in Fire Protection Technology. In June of 2012, I expect the first large crop of around 12 recruits to complete their Firefighter I,II. We will most likely need to conduct a separate and special Fire Control Live Burn just for them.

We looked at some of the statistics compiled by our recruits this past school year and found out just how committed these recruits really are.

The recruits of the CHS Fire Academy are affiliated with a total of 12 different emergency service agencies in a two county area.

Recruits took a total of 289 Firefighter I,II certification classes with a 95 percent pass rate completing all practical skills assessments.

Fire Academy students took a total of 19 additional classes beyond the regular Firefighter I,II curriculum. Classes included such diverse topics as Haz Mat Awareness and Ops, TR Ropes, EVD, Rapid Intervention, Advanced Rapid Intervention, NFA PIO, NFA Leadership II, NFA Leadership III, CPR Certification and recertification classes and Canines in Search and Rescue.

The CHS Fire Academy Honor Guard Presented the Colors a total of 19 times during the last school year.

The Concord HS Fire Academy was visited by seven school systems interested in setting up similar programs and provided information about our program for at least six others.

The total fire and medical calls answered by recruit volunteers and on ride alongs — 458.

The total Training Hours: Agency Training, Class Hours, Juniors and Explorers beyond class — 1,661.


This fall semester we are partnering with American Publishers to help us generate some very needed funds. We are asking everyone that can to help us with this program. Parents, friends, fire department families, and extended families can help by renewing and or ordering new magazine subscriptions. So, if you already get magazines through the mail such as: Sports Illustrated, Golf Digest, ESPN, Runners World, Southern Living, Good Housekeeping, Cosmopolitan, Cooking magazines, please consider sending your order to us, Concord High School Fire Academy, by going online and placing your order using our Fire Academy Web code: WC6612.

All we are asking is that instead of sending your order to New York City send it to us. Publishers keep 100 percent of your money spent on magazines but by ordering through us we keep 40 percent of that purchase.

Here is how the money helps: We need to purchase new honor guard equipment, Skills USA funding, rescue equipment, and more

Magazines online: Email this information to friends and family all across the country. Also, post on your Facebook status and share with others. We do have a Concord High School Fire Academy Facebook page. If you copy and paste our status into your status, you can really help us spread the word.

  1. Go to:
  2. Click on shop now
  3. Enter our school code: WC6612
  4. Enter the Name of the Student you are supporting or Fire Academy
  5. Click go shopping (again) — and that is it.

Please help us out if you can. We are really just redirecting where the revenue is spent to assist our needs.

Academy Needs

The Raleigh Fire Department recently provided us with a gift of new uniforms that are outdated for the Raleigh Fire Department. The CHS Fire Academy still has some needs in the areas of boots, suspenders, any used helmets, and turnout gear. Any departments that have any surplus that they would like to donate can contact Chief Barlow at [email protected] or by phone at 704-239-3706 (Chief Barlow’s cell).

The Concord High School Fire Academy is looking forward to another productive and activity packed school year. Check out our Blog at and see what we are involved in this year.

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