Firefighter Gives Residents Chance To Experience Emergency Response Profession
Many residents will never know what is really like to rush into a burning building, rescue a victim from a mangled car or bring a heart attack victim back to life. Thanks to the ingenuity of Central County Fire & Rescue (CCFR) Battalion Chief Mark Runge, residents of the CCFR fire protection district have the opportunity to learn first-hand what it is like to be a firefighter/EMT.
Runge started the Citizen Fire Academy four years ago after learning about seeing a similar police program. “Whenever I tell someone I am a firefighter they instantly think of how it looks in the movies. I wanted to give our residents the chance to experience firsthand what it is really like to respond to the different incidents we handle every day,” says Runge. Since starting the program Runge has more than 650 hours invested in making it a reality.
Citizen Fire Academy participants have the chance to use real equipment, and train at official firefighter training locations, with off-duty firefighters serving as Academy teachers. “The program is completely volunteer run and funded through donations,” says Runge. Participants pay a $25 registration fee to help cover the costs of the program.
“This unique program has been great for our community and our fire district. It gives community members the education, and experience to safely understand the operations and functions of the fire department, while giving our firefighters the chance to meet the residents they serve,” says CCFR Chief Russ Mason. The fall session of the seven-week CCFR Citizen Fire Academy starts Wednesday, Aug. 28 and meets every Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. for hands-on classes until Wednesday, Oct. 9.
Academy topics include:
- History of the Fire Service and CCFR
- Tools and Equipment
- Fire Extinguishment
- Use of a Breathing Air Pack
- Search and Rescue
- Automobile Extrication
- Technical Rescue
- Emergency Medical Services
During the last session of the Academy participants will conduct a live action fire rescue exercise at the CCFR training facility where family and friends are encouraged to attend and watch. The only requirements are that participants must be residents of the CCFR District, be at least 21 years old, have proof of current health insurance, and complete a short application process. There is also a $25 registration fee to cover the costs of materials for the course.