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Donald E. Mahany's Biography

Photo of Don Mahany Donald E. Mahany
 Assistant Dean Human Services and Technology Fire Technology

Welcome to the Fire Technology Department of Santa Ana College.  My name is Donald Mahany and I am the Assistant Dean of Human Services and Technology, Fire Technology.  I am the Director of the Fire Technology department and I am committed to helping you with your education and career.  The Fire Technology department is made up of five entities; Fire Technology Courses (FTC), Basic Fire Academy (BFA), Fire Officer (FOT), Wellness, and In-Service Agreements (ISA).

Our program is designed to follow firefighters throughout their careers.  In the Fire Technology (FTC) classes, we prepare students for a career in the fire service or fire prevention bureau.  Students will take the seven core classes as required by the state of California to certify as Firefighter-1.  Those classes are Fire Protection Organization, Fire Behavior and Combustion, Personal Fire Safety, Fire Prevention Technology, Building Construction for Fire Protection, Fire Protection Equipment and Systems, and Physical Fitness for Public Safety Personnel.  Taking these courses along with general education, Emergency Medical Technician, and completing our Basic Fire Academy will allow our students to obtain an AS degree in Fire Technology in two years.
Once our students have obtained their general knowledge in fire technology, they enter our Basic Fire Academy (BFA).  Our BFA is nationally recognized and is designed to expose candidates to life as a firefighter.  Students will learn how to fight fires, extricate victims of entrapments, treat patients during medical emergencies, life in the fire station as well as integrity, honesty, team work, ethics, and citizenship.  Our students graduate with the California State Fire Marshal’s Firefighter-1 Certification.  With this certification, they are eligible to take entrance exams anywhere in the state of California.
After completing the Basic Fire Academy and finding employment with a fire agency, students enter our Fire Officer Training (FOT) classes.  The FOT classes are designed to prepare and certify firefighters for a management role.  They can become certified through the state of California as Company Officers.  They can continue their education to obtain a certification as a Chief Officer.  The Company and Chief Officer courses are taught by working and retired professionals holding the rank of captain or chief officer from the Southern California area.
To keep our firefighters physically fit, we offer our Wellness program to fire departments, police departments, and individuals all over Southern California.  This program is designed to keep firefighters healthy through education. Students are taught about nutrition, exercise, environmental concerns, and health risks.  We work with fire and police department administrators and unions to assist the members with a healthy life style.
To update firefighters on the latest techniques of fire fighting, medical emergencies and legally mandated training, we offer our In-Service Agreements (ISA).  This program is designed to update firefighters and emergency workers to the latest in technology and changes in the law concerning how our nation’s first responders do their job.  This program will follow a firefighter throughout their career until retirement.


I started my career working with the city of Santa Ana.  I was fortunate to spend my entire career serving the citizens of Santa Ana.  The city of Santa Ana is the county seat of Orange County in Southern California located ninety miles from the Mexican border and thirty miles from Los Angeles.  It has an area of twenty–six square miles and a population of 360,000 people.  The Santa Ana fire department was 220 members strong with ten fire stations and seventeen pieces of equipment including ten fire engines, four truck companies, five paramedic ambulances, and a dedicated hazardous material unit.  I spent thirty-four years in the fire service working in almost every capacity.  I started my career as a firefighter working on engine and truck companies.  I expanded my responsibilities when I became a firefighter / paramedic, graduating from paramedic school at UCI Medical Center.  I worked as a paramedic for eight years before promoting to fire engineer.  As a driver operator, I drove fire engines, senior aerials, and responded to many structure fires.  After promoting to captain, I managed single- and multi-company fire stations.  I became an expert in many fields certifying in swift-water rescue, confined space rescue, animal rescue, and Urban Search and Rescue.  I promoted to Battalion Chief and supervised emergency responders and ended my career as the Training Chief.  I earned an AS degree in Fire Science, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Service Management from the University of Redlands, and a Masters Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies Public Administration from CSULB.
I know firsthand what it takes to become a firefighter and what fire chiefs are looking for in firefighter candidates.  I am committed to maintaining the high standards of the fire service and providing the community with the best firefighter candidates possible.  As an educator, I am committed to finding the best instructors possible and as a retired firefighter I am equally committed to providing the fire service with the next generation of firefighters.
Donald E. Mahany
Assistant Dean Human Services and Technology
Fire Technology
Santa Ana College is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges, 10 Commercial Blvd., Suite 204, Novato, CA 94949, (415) 506-0234, an institutional accrediting body recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education. Additional information about accreditation, including the filing of complaints against member institutions, can be found at: