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VVC’s Fire Technology program receives grant from San Manuel

VICTORVILLE, Calif. ( — The San Manuel Band of Mission Indians recently granted $98,194 to the Victor Valley College Foundation to help enhance and increase capacity for the Fire Technology program provided at the Victor Valley College Regional Public Safety Training Center. 

Thanks to San Manuel’s generous grant to the A.C.T.S project, funding will allow the Fire Technology department to purchase 25 new SCBA (Self Contained Breathing Apparatus) packs as well as physical fitness agility training equipment.  Both will provide students the opportunity to be trained on industry standard equipment. Implementation of the A.C.T.S. project will enhance student safety, strengthen career preparation, and support occupational skills and certificate attainment leading to program completion. 

Victor Valley College’s Regional Public Safety Training Center is the only institution in San Bernardino, Riverside, and San Diego Counties authorized to administer the “Biddle PAT” assessment and has certified more than 2000 candidates. The Biddle PAT is the physical fitness preparedness assessment utilized by more than 41 local Fire departments and agencies.

“While administering the test, we examine a student’s strength, stamina, and physical agility while performing the same functions and tasks of an on-duty fire-fighter.  Being in good health is vital to extending your career in the firefighter service,” said Victor Valley College Program Director Heath Cohen. “The tribe’s generosity in helping us to purchase physical fitness equipment for the Biddle PAT, continues to enrich the professional preparedness of our emergency responder students.  Furthermore, their investment advances the effectiveness of student’s training and greatly enhances workplace knowledge for those who are currently working or eventually seeking employment.”

Additional funds will be used to purchase 25 SCBA packs.  The new packs will replace obsolete equipment, ensuring students are training and have access to the highest quality and most industry-relevant safety gear.  The SCBA pack is a life-saving component of the “turnout gear” worn by firefighters. It provides breathable and cool air which makes the firefighter more comfortable during a hot fire fight and emergency situations.     

“Through this gift, San Manuel is investing in advanced training for our first responders to more effectively safeguard lives in San Bernardino County, which is more important than ever now that California’s “new normal” is a year-round fire season,” said San Manuel Chairwoman Lynn Valbuena. “As a Native Serrano people whose aboriginal lands include the High Desert, we are pleased to work with Victor Valley College to benefit multiple communities throughout these lands we hold as sacred.” 

Victor Valley College Regional Public Safety Training Center is a $31.5 million, state-of-the-art training complex specifically designed to support students in the Administration of Justice, Fire Technology, Emergency Medical Services and Correction programs. It provides students a unique and far reaching training opportunity for cooperative emergency scenario cross-training exercises experienced by first responders every day in the normal course of the job. 

For more information about Victor Valley College and the programs available at the Regional Public Safety Training Center, visit To learn about the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, visit

Victor Valley College Fire Technology Students utilizing physical fitness equipment newly purchased thanks to a generous grant gifted by the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. (submitted photo)
Victor Valley College Fire Technology Students utilizing physical fitness equipment newly purchased thanks to a generous grant gifted by the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians. (submitted photo)

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