Statewide Award for Bunk-In Program


The East Syracuse Fire Department won a statewide award for working with OCC to create the Firefighter Bunk-In program more than twenty years ago.

OCC’s Fire Protection Technology students can claim a share of a prestigious, statewide award. The bunk-in program which began as a collaboration with the East Syracuse Fire Department has earned the village a first place award at the New York State Conference of Mayors (NYCOM).

OCC and East Syracuse teamed up to create the bunk-in program in 1995. It allowed Fire Protection Technology majors to live in the fire department free of charge in exchange for responding to emergency calls.

In commenting on the award NYCOM President Thomas Roach stated, “East Syracuse is to be commended for its desire to improve the village through innovation, partnerships and hard work. This program is of great benefit to East Syracuse and is just one example of how local officials continue to work diligently to enhance their communities and the quality of life for their residents. I would like to congratulate Mayor (Robert) Tackman on this tremendous accomplishment.”

Since the program’s inception it has expanded to several other fire departments throughout Onondaga County. It allows residents to receive enhanced fire protection, saves student’s a significant amount of money in housing costs and provides them the opportunity to work side-by-side with professionals while receiving valuable hands-on training 24 hours a day.

OCC’s Fire Protection Technology program is coordinated by retired Syracuse firefighter Doug Whittaker. He says the program produces students with a high level of academic and practical understanding of the fire protection field thanks in large part to the instructional staff. “All OCC Public Safety Training instructors are adjuncts and most teach only one course in their field of expertise,” said Whittaker. “Our instructional staff is chosen based on life experiences, knowledge and ability in the content area of the course work each teaches.”

OCC’s Fire Protection Technology program is uniquely qualified to educate the next generation of firefighters. It is the only accredited institution in New York State to offer certification for students who want to be internationally certified as firefighters, fire officers or fire service instructors. The certification is overseen by the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress. One institution in each of the 50 states is awarded this accreditation. In New York State that college is OCC.