The benefit for the department is an influx of new energy and motivated individuals to help provide the much-needed public safety service to our community. Many of the students who graduate from the program stay in the community and stay active with the department upon their graduation from SMCC. While in the program the students provide countless hours of coverage and assistance at important functions like fire prevention visits at our schools and daycares across town.
The student live-in program has been around Cumberland County for over 30 years. Departments such as Gorham and Scarborough have been participants in the program since its inception in 1988. Since that time, hundreds of students have successfully completed the program, including 6 current members of Falmouth Fire-EMS. Two of these members currently serve as mentors for the program participants.
Lieutenant Zack Tooker, a graduate of the Falmouth Fire-EMS live-in program and currently a fulltime firefighter/paramedic in South Portland, credits his live-in experience with helping to define his career aspirations. “The experience of living in a working fire house, while in college, not only prepared me for a career in emergency services but also helped define the importance to teamwork and collaboration on a daily basis.”
“This program is a win-win-win for the students, the communities and the college,” said Steve Willis, Southern Maine Community College Fire Science faculty member and Live-In program coordinator. “The students save money on housing because they live for free in the stations; and they receive hands-on training, experience and coaching from Fire Department members that really complements their classroom lessons.”
Both the Winn Road and Foreside Road Fire Stations in Falmouth are less than 15 miles from the SMCC campus in South Portland. Students have a short commute to campus and are able to live in one of Maine’s most prestigious oceanfront communities. Attractions in Falmouth are the local harbor and town landing, indoor and outdoor ice skating facilities, cinemas, shopping, library, many parks and recreational facilities, 3 golf courses, and several restaurants. Students are also be less than 10 minutes from downtown Portland, Maine’s largest city.
Recent graduates of the Falmouth Fire-EMS Live-in Program currently work fulltime for the Brunswick Fire Department, South Portland Fire Department, Portland Fire Department, Westbrook Fire Department, Lewiston Fire Department, Scarborough Fire Department, Maine Medical Center, and the Bellows Falls, Vermont Police Department.
For more information on the Falmouth Fire-EMS Student Live-in Program please contact Captain Eric Hutchings at (207) 781-2610.