Hickory Firefighter Matt Quarles has received the designation of Advanced Firefighter through the NC State Firefighter's Association. NCSFA reported that only one percent of the over 50,000 firefighters across the entire state have applied for and received this designation.
In order to be eligible for consideration of the advanced professional certificate, a firefighter must meet five (5) core competencies or qualifications. These competencies include a valid Firefighter II certification issued by the North Carolina Fire and Rescue Commission; and a valid Hazardous Materials Level I (Operations) certification; a valid Rescue Technician or Technical Rescuer. The firefighter must also have at least four (4) years of experience as a firefighter.
After meeting the core criteria above, a firefighter can then qualify for the Firefighter's Advanced Professional Certificate if he or she has formal education, continuing education training, and experience. Awards are based upon a formula which combines formal education, fire and rescue continuing education training, and actual experience as a firefighter.
In March 2015, Matthew Quarles was hired as a Hickory firefighter. Prior to employment with Hickory, Quarles served as an engineer with St Stephens Fire Department for four years. He is certified as a Level 2 Firefighter, Technical Rescuer, Hazardous Materials Awareness/Operations and a Driver/Operator in the areas of Pumps, Aerials, and Emergency Vehicle Driver. Quarles is also certified as an Emergency Medical Technician through NC Office of Emergency Medical Services and is also qualified as a Level II Fire Service Instructor. In 2014, he completed Fire Officer Level I and II; and in 2016, he graduated from Catawba Valley Community College with a Fire Protection Technology Associate degree. He is married to Rachel, and their son, Emmett Fisher Quarles, was born in May.