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Fire Officer Academy:

The Company Officer

September 29, 2024 – October 4, 2024
Cost $150

The Fire Officer Academy: The Company Officer is an intense program not designed for the complacent. The Company Officer tests students in ways they haven’t been tested since they joined the fire service, leaving a lasting impression on the trajectory of their career and the camaraderie between students creates a lifelong family. The Company Officer takes you back to the basics while addressing the issues you face as a leader, figuratively and literally, in your department. 

Every detail about every day is intentional. This program is designed specifically to develop the decision-making, time-management and leadership skills that separate good company officers from great company officers.

 The hard conversations that happen in private in your department happen out loud during classroom sessions; the informal bay sessions with fire service leaders purposefully remind you why you were selected to participate in the program. From the morning physical training sessions to mealtime, The Fire Officer Academy: The Company Officer is calculated in its approach as it aims to uplift, test, and challenge the leaders of the South Carolina fire service.

The week-long Fire Officer Academy is held at the South Carolina Fire Academy where students will stay on campus in a platoon style environment. Daily activities include physical fitness drills, projects, hearing from guest speakers and live burn evaluations.

The applicant must have Fire Officer I (or greater) as a prerequisite. Note that an application is required, including a resume, cover letter, and letter from the applicant’s Chief. Applicants do not need to be a member of the South Carolina State Firefighters’ Association Officers Section but membership with the Officers Section is preferred. Applications will be vetted prior to being accepted into the program which will include a 2 phase selection process. The initial selection will be based on the application, resume, cover letter and Chief’s recommendation. The 2nd phase of the process will include an intensive online assessment. This phase will entail approximately 20-hours of work. Final selection is based on the applicants submissions. The Fire Officer Academy is limited to 25 people.

Video from Class 24-01
Photo Album from Class 24-01

The application period for the October 2024 class is open and will close at midnight, June 30, 2024.

My expectations were definitely exceeded. The true academy aspect of the program brought our class together and I built relationships that I will carry for the rest of my life. Not only did I learn a lot from the instructors and class material, but I also learned a lot from my classmates.

Asst. Chief Blake Schultz, Long Cane VFDClass 22-01

I would recommend the FOA to anyone and everyone, regardless of rank or years of service. This was far more than just a leadership development program. This program will change your entire mindset and even your heart in some areas. It ignited a whole new level of my passion for the craft that I didn't know existed. This program isn't just important to the future of the fire service, it IS the future of the fire service.

Engineer Gracie Landry, N. Spartanburg FireClass 24-01

This was an incredible experience and I hope that this program thrives so that more people can have the experience that I did. It teaches you the real world application of being a fire officer that isn't taught in your traditional IFSAC fire officer classes.

Lt. Joseph Peluso Burton Fire DistrictClass 22-01

The program allowed officers to build confidence and relationships with like-minded fire service professionals. The program also encouraged continued collaboration amongst the participants, allowing professional development outside of the academy. In the days since the Officer Academy, I have watched our officer’s passion for training and support of the organization continue to grow.

St. Andrews PSD – Chief Charles LamoreauxFire Chief's Perspective

Not knowing what to expect from the inaugural class I was hoping to see our company officer increase his "global" perspective and gain an attitude of learning from others. I am not surprised that the CO Academy helped to change his perspective, and I am certainly encouraged that it can inspire others on to positive change as well.

Boiling Springs FD – Chief Steve GrahamFire Chief's Perspective

Far exceeded my expectations. It’s more than just a “class”, it’s a lifelong experience. I was surprised from beginning to end. From the selection process, to the content and layout of the class, to the specific lessons learned, to the camaraderie that was built. Not only did I learn some new things to incorporate, I built relationships with people that I can now carry with me forever. This is a special program that needs to remain special and selective. Granted, all officers need to go through this program, but I don’t believe all will get the message and the purpose of the program. I don’t consider myself elite by any means, but I believe this program is elite.

Lt. Brandon Stroud, Anderson Fire DepartmentClass 22-01

I would highly recommend this Fire Officer Academy to any Company Officer no matter how much time you have in the Fire Service. The knowledge you will build and gain from this program is unmatched by any other I have taken. It will show you what your strengths and weakness are. But with the help of the cadre, they will help you succeed to better yourself. The best part is this program is geared toward the men and women in South Carolina. Not only will you benefit from this program, but the individuals you serve,. This will include the men and women who you serve with but most of the all the community you serve. By becoming a better company officer you are providing a better service to the citizens of your community. As the fire service moves forward with each passing year, this program will help ensure that there are competent, motivated, passionate, and dedicated Company Officer for the future of the fire service for years to come.

Captain Michael G. Schlegel, Lexington County FireClass 24-01

I highly recommend this program. This is a must for any company officer or anyone who aspires to be one. I gained a whole new perspective of my Job and I gained many other like minded colleagues that i can call on when needed for advice or just to talk with. This program may be the saving grace for the fire service to remind each on us we all get comfortable or complacent in our roles and need to be reminded of where we come from and remind of us of what is expected of us as officers.

Deputy Chief Curtis Greenway - McConnells VFD24-01
Award Recipients
  • 22-01 – Captain Ben Crenshaw (Clemson Fire)
  • 23-01 – Lt. David Bullard (Columbia County, Ga.)
  • 23-02 – The Irmo Fire District in Honor of J. Michael Muller
  • 24-01 – Captain Jeremy King (South Greenville Fire)

The David Lee Crenshaw “Big Dummy” Leadership Award

This award is presented to a student of the South Carolina State Firefighters’ Association Fire Officer Academy who is selected by their peers within the class for displaying exemplary skill, attitude, and leadership throughout the class.

David Lee Crenshaw lived a life of servitude and possessed a leadership heart throughout his career.  He was born in Pendleton, South Carolina on April 23, 1948. With the formation of the Anderson County Fire Protection Commission in 1962, he became a volunteer at Pendleton Fire Department (Station 2) at the age of 14. He excelled in each job that was given and ultimately served as the Fire Chief of Pendleton for 21 years—the longest serving Fire Chief in Anderson County history at the time. In 1972, David started a career in law enforcement with the Pendleton Police Department. He later went on to serve as a deputy with the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office. He progressed through the ranks at the Sheriff’s Office and served as Deputy Chief under Sheriff E.E. “Duck” Cooley. He was a recipient of the J.P. Strom Award from the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy and a graduate of the FBI National Academy.  He was selected by the Governor to serve as a Magistrate Judge in 1995. In 2004 he was elected Sheriff of Anderson County and retired in 2008. David was known for his self-deprecating humor and natural, genuine desire to help people. He dedicated his life to setting a high standard for himself and leading members of the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, Anderson County Fire Department, the citizens of Pendleton and Anderson County. At the time of his death, David was a sitting member of the Pendleton City Council. On January 9, 2012, he died serving the citizens he loved. Pendleton Station 2 was dispatched to a motor-vehicle collision on Old Greenville Highway at the intersection of Porter Road. He was the Driver/Operator of Engine 2-1. He collapsed on scene and passed away at the age of 63. His legacy lives on today because countless lives were impacted by his example of selflessness and unprecedented leadership.

Award Recipients
  • 23-02 – Chief Chris Tennyson (Summerville Fire)
  • 24-01 – Lieutenant Ethan Tucker (Parker District Fire)

James Michael Muller

The “J”
Award For Excellence

This award is given to the student of the South Carolina State Firefighters’ Association’s Fire Officer Academy: The Company Officer for being the most proficient and professional candidate of the class. The award recipient is selected by the Instructor Cadre and given to the student who shows exceptional skill, consistent attitude, and overall proficiency throughout the week.

James Michael Muller (J – As he was known) was known for his passion for the job as well as his motivation to be the best in anything he did. It was evident from the moment you met him that he was 100% into the job and he loved it with all his heart. This award is not one that should be taken lightly—J set the bar high in the 23-01 class. He pushed his squad to be better today than they were yesterday, and in doing so, pushed the entire class to the same level. His outgoing attitude had a knack for making those around him better firefighters, better fire officers, and better human beings. He always strived to ensure that he understood what was being taught to him so that he could take it back and perfect that skill and then teach it to others. He believed in everything the Fire Officer Academy teaches and lived every day of his life by our credo: THEY COME FIRST