The Fire Technology curriculum at College of the Canyons, Santa Clarita, Calif., was written by retired fire department Chief Steve Dixon – he is currently the head of the Fire Technology program. The Fire Technology program at COC was launched in 1999.
The program offers 16 different classes ranging from fire prevention to fire tactics and strategy. Dixon retired from the Manhattan Beach Fire Department (MBFD), Manhattan Beach, Calif. in 1996. Dixon came to COC in 1998 – he will retire from COC at the end of the 2012 Spring semester.
Three years ago Dixon facilitated the creation of the COC Fire Club. Vernon Atwater and Randy Osborne were the adjunct instructors for the club. Dixon was able to acquire donated firefighting equipment for fire club members to practice firefighting manipulative skills. Six years ago Dixon acquired ladders, hose, fittings and a fire engine.
The fire engine, a 1982 Van Pelt, was donated by the Los Angeles City Fire Department (LAFD), Los Angeles, Calif. This acquisition was made possible through the efforts of LAFD Fire Chief John Drake and Los Angeles City councilman Tom La Bonge. By the time the COC fire club was created, Dixon had already acquired the equipment for his mini-fire academy.
However, about 1 ½ years ago his efforts were thwarted. The COC interim Chief Instructional Officer (CIO) at the time did not see the value in manipulative training. Consequently Dixon was ordered to cease any manipulative training and receiving donated equipment. However, there is still hope. The current interim CIO is agreeable to the mini-academy program, but the issue is in slow motion.
So, as Dixon retires, his dream of a COC fire academy continues to breathe life. In 1999 Dixon was appointed the COC liaison involved in the design and construction of all the facilities at the Del Valle Regional Training Center, 28101 Chiquita Canyon Road, in the community of Castaic, Santa Clarita, Calif.
Del Valle facilities were funded through COC with funds from Propositions “M” and “C”. Del Valle is a full service, firefighting training center. The center provides a variety training, e.g., hazardous materials, flashover, freeway incidents, etc.
This has been a joint venture with the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Firefighters from the Los Angeles County Fire Department receive college credits for training exercises at Del Valle. This regional facility is used by Los Angeles County Fire Department, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, U.S. Navy Seals, and many other first responder organizations.