Get hands-on at the Citizens Fire Academy
Published: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 2:11 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 2:11 p.m.
You can be a firefighter for a day and do things like rip a car door open, perform a search and rescue drill while blindfolded, and use those nifty fire hoses. All you have to do is attend the Gainesville Fire Rescue’s second annual Citizens Fire Academy.
CITIZENS FIRE ACADEMY
What: Gainesville Fire Rescue’s second annual Citizens Fire Academy.
When: 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. Saturday, March 9.
Where: Gainesville Fire Rescue, 1025 NE 13th St.
Cost: Free, application available at www.gfr.org, or by calling 352-393-8461. The deadline is Feb. 7.
Information: Call 352-393-8461.
“We try to replicate as close as possible what firefighters do,” said Krista Gonzalez, risk reduction specialist at Gainesville Fire Rescue.
The Citizens Fire Academy will be held from 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. Saturday, March 9 at Gainesville Fire Rescue, 1025 NE 13th St. To participate you have to be at least 18 years of age; be willing to get dirty; and complete an application, available at www.gfr.org, or by calling 352-393-8461,
Gonzalez said space is limited to 20 people and it’s first-come, first-served, so hurry up and apply because the application deadline is Feb. 7.
“The fire academy is a great place to get a real good snapshot at what we do,” Gonzalez said, “and to get a better understanding of what we do, how we do it, how our budget is used and how many firefighters it takes to get the job done.”
Gonzalez said the fire academy provides a hands-on experience with participants divided into small groups. Participants will have an opportunity to rotate through various activities, or evolutions, to do things like using a fire hose, performing a search and rescue drill while blindfolded, learning about how medical equipment is used, and even cutting apart a donated car with cutters and spreaders. Gonzalez said a new activity this year is a risk reduction visual program that shows a live fire and takes participants through the fire investigation process. In addition, there will be a medical emergency demonstration with firefighters acting out the patient assessment process. She said myths and facts about the pros and cons of installing a sprinkler system in your home will be discussed.
Gonzalez said Gainesville Fire Rescue averages 16,000 emergency calls per year.
Last year, 14 men and five women participated in the inaugural Citizens Fire Academy.
Mark Robinson, 46, said he found the academy interesting and educational. Robinson said he learned to use equipment and even ripped a car door using the jaws of life.
“I have a better understanding of what our first responders are trying to do when they respond to an emergency,” Robinson said. “I think I’m better able to help if my help is needed. I think everyone should take the fire academy.”
For more information, call 352-393-8461.
Reader comments posted to this article may be published in our print edition. All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be re-published without permission. Links are encouraged.