Fire Science

Department of Public Safety

Fire Science Program

The Fire Science Program at College of the Ozarks prepares a student to compete for professional positions within a wide range of government and private fire-related agencies by providing a comprehensive education that includes core and collateral courses along with associated coursework to become firefighters, fire instructors and fire officers.

The objectives of the fire science program in Department of Public Safety are that students will:

  • demonstrate a working knowledge of the science of fire protection and successfully complete state certifications in fire science (Academic);
  • exhibit an understanding of the work of fire science, including providing service to the campus community and beyond through work as a career or volunteer within the local fire protection community (Vocational);
  • develop a Christian worldview and understand how that worldview should shape, guide, and direct their actions as a community of fire protection servants (Christian);
  • understand and appreciate their role as domestic patriots, who protect the homeland and the public and sacrifice themselves for its safety (Patriotic);
  • understand and appreciate different cultures and how best they can interact with people of cultures and communities other than their own (Cultural).

Students have opportunities to participate in the fire service while attending the College of the Ozarks. The Point Lookout Fire Department at the College of the Ozarks is a fully operational and functional student run volunteer fire department that responds to emergency calls on campus and routinely assists other fire departments off campus through mutual aid agreements. Current students serving on the department hold certifications as first responders, firefighters and emergency medical techinicians. In addition, students in their junior and senior years may participate in the Fire Science Internship program, performing assigned duties in local fire service agencies for academic credit.



Dr. Russo is a graduate of the University of Arkansas - School of Law. He has been a certified firefighter, emergency medical technician, fire inspector, and fire investigator in Florida. Dr. Russo is currently certified as a Firefighter 1 & 2 and Fire Instructor in Missouri. He is also a certified Missouri Law Enforcement Officer. Dr. Russo has been a volunteer firefighter, paid firefighter and Deputy Fire Marshal. He has also been a Deputy Sheriff, Chief Deputy Sheriff and Major Crimes Investigator. He is a licensed attorney in Arkansas and Missouri. Dr. Russo uses his years of experience in the emergency services to teach in the Department of Public Safety. 

Dr. John O. Russo, J.D.
Associate Professor of Fire Science
(417) 690-2394 

September 11 "Lest We Forget Memorial"

College of the Ozarks recognizes the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, as a national tragedy wherein nearly 3,000 innocent lives were taken. The College honors those fallen heroes each year on September 11, so that they are not forgotten.

On September 11, 2015, the College dedicated the "Lest We Forget" 9/11 Memorial. This memorial includes one of the last remaining remnants of the World Trade Center structure. This piece of steel was donated to the College by Tommy McHale, a retired police officer, who wanted to honor the 37 fallen men and women officers from the Port Authority for New York and New Jersey who perished on 9/11.

The structure is referred to as "St. Michael’s 37." St. Michael is considered the patron saint of police officers and represents strength to face the threat of evil and imminent danger.

Students were an integral part of the dedication service. Fourth grade students from the College's Truitt S. Cathy Lower School made a special presentation to the families of the fallen. College students representing law enforcement, fire fighting, and the military unveiled the steel beam, which is the centerpiece of the memorial. The College is intentional about involving students in such importance remembrances to help them learn, so that we never forget.













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