Out of the academy and into the fire
Posted on: January 30, 2013
It’s one a.m. and the bell sounds. It’s a fire. Jasyn Jefferies suits up with the rest of the Galveston Fire Department and is on his way in seconds.
“When we get the big ones, it’s go time,” said the graduate of the College of the Mainland Fire Academy.
In his first month on the job, he’s responded to three calls of fires—two structural and one brush—all successfully extinguished.
However, Jefferies’ first call was for a less threatening event. A woman with a cat stranded atop a tree called after remembering a recent CSI episode showing a fire department saving a cat. Jefferies climbed the department’s 24-foot ladder to rescue the cat.
“When people don’t know who to call, they call the fire department,” said Jefferies.
Jefferies took an unconventional career path to the fire department. His previous jobs included working a tour guide in Italy, a safety specialist and an actor on TV shows such as “Pair of Kings.”
“I’ve never really been satisfied with jobs helping no one but myself,” he said. “Firefighting is exciting and there are a variety of directions you can go—search and rescue, fire investigation.”
Through research and others’ recommendations, he discovered the COM Fire Academy. He enjoyed gaining hands-on, practical experience through instructors who are all current or retired firefighters.
“The COM Academy does a great job balancing academic and physical challenges,” he said. “They switch your mind to problem-solving mode.”
He also enjoyed the friendly competition among the other cadets.
“Keeping up with the group challenged me to try harder,” Jefferies said. “We’re still very good friends.”
Now a full-time firefighter, he is grateful for his instructors.
“The best thing I got from Academy was the job I have today. I had a lot of choices of fire academies. Now that I look back, that was the best choice I could have made. The instructors are very well known. If I didn’t have COM on my resume and the recommendations of my instructors backing me, I wouldn’t be working today.”
Competition for his job was stiff. He vied for one of two open positions at the fire department with 110 applicants. He recently returned to COM for a day to talk to current students about what to expect working in a fire department.
“I want to help the next new guys," said Jefferies, sharing that he plans to teach one day.
"It’s not a job where you come in and your work is on the desk. At any given time, I could be called to get a cat off a roof or track down a gas leak or fight a full-blown fire. You have to be ready for anything. COM prepared us for anything.”