FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — Forsyth County Fire Department Technical Services Division Chief Jason Shivers was recognized by the Forsyth County Board of Commissioners for earning national certification through the Executive Fire Officer Program.
Shivers was commended during the Oct. 24 County Commission meeting for his completion of the four-year program.
The Executive Fire Officer Program consists of a series of four courses and the completion of an applied research paper that relates to the officer’s organization after each of the four courses. Each course is two weeks long and requires on-campus residency at the National Emergency Training Center in Emmitsburg, Md.
“It’s the fire service equivalent of a master’s program,” Shivers said, adding that each paper must address a laudable project and the process is exhausting.
Classes included Executive Development, Executive Analysis of Community Risk Reduction, Executive Analysis of Fire Service Operations and Emergency Management, and Executive Leadership.
Living on campus, with access to vast amounts of information in the school’s library, was key and so was the ability to interact with his peers, Shivers said.
“Interaction is a critical component,” Shivers said. “Daily interaction and healthy debate were unique to the course. There’s a deep value of personal interaction with fellow officers.”
That interaction meant leaving his wife and family for weeks at a time and Shivers was quick to recognize his wife Jodi’s support.
“She was instrumental,” he said. “There was no flexibility with deadlines. She understood that and made sure nothing interfered with them.”
Shivers is humble about the achievement.
“I did it to make me a better fire officer, so I can better serve Forsyth County,” he said. “Fire service relies on teamwork. We never do anything alone, we’re team-oriented. That mentality transcends into formal education.”
Since the program began in 1983, fewer than 4,400 individuals have graduated and only 78 are from Georgia. To be considered for the program, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree and be on track to become an executive level officer.
Shivers joined the Forsyth County Fire Department in 1998, as a member of its first group of career firefighters. He has held the positions of firefighter/EMT, fire lieutenant and inspector general. He also holds a seat on the National Fire Protection Association 1901, 1906, 1911 and 1912 committees governing national fire apparatus design and maintenance standards.