The class schedule consists of speakers, tours, demonstrations and classes.
When I first moved to Las Vegas in 1996 to accept the position as public information officer (PIO) for Las Vegas Fire & Rescue, I moved to a community that I was not familiar with and did not know anyone. Actually it was the first time I had ever been to Las Vegas, so I knew little about it.
In the first few weeks on the job, I heard that the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department had a "Citizens Police Academy" which had a long waiting list to get into. I heard many good things about it, so I applied along with my wife and did not expect to hear anything for at least a year.
Within two weeks I was notified that the both of us were accepted and class would start in a few weeks. Both of us did not miss a single class. We learned so much about the department and the community. It was an extremely worthwhile experience.
After we "graduated" from the academy, I thought to myself, "Why doesn't the fire service have such a program?" So I asked the fire chief if I could put one together and give it a try. He gave me the go ahead, so I started to put a plan together.
My first Citizens Fire Academy (CFA) was in 2000 and I have had a CFA every year since. Some years I have been running two classes at the same time because we had so many people apply.
Within the past few weeks, I have received several calls from departments across the country wanting to know how to put a Citizens Fire Academy together and what classes should be held. Here is what I have been using for the past eight years. It doesn't matter what size department you have, whether you are volunteer, combination or professional, you can use the same format. The length of the academy should be set by you as to how much material you want to cover. If you are a small volunteer department, it could be held on the weekend for just a couple of weekends. What ever the size or type of your department, it can be done.
The Las Vegas Citizens Fire Academy
I start to accept applications from the public the week of Thanksgiving each year. Applications are available at all city fire stations, at headquarters and online at the department's website at www.lasvegasfire.org.
During December and January I receive applications and notify those selected.
Classes run from the second week in February through the first week in May. We meet once a week on Tuesday evenings, from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Usually during the second week in May, I schedule the graduation ceremony.
The class schedule consists of speakers, tours, demonstrations and classes. I am asked many times, "What are the subjects and how do you schedule them?" Below is an abbreviated class schedule that is planned for the 2007 Las Vegas Fire & Rescue Citizens Fire Academy. Click here for the entire class schedule in PDF format.
- Class 1: Welcome, History, LVFR
- Class 2: Operations
- Class 3: Fire Communications
- Class 4: Fire Prevention & Education
- Class 5: Juvenile Fire Setter Program
- Class 6: Budget & American Red Cross
- Class 7: Administration & Emergency Management
- Class 8: Homeland Security, Investigations
- Class 9: Demonstrations and hands-on fire simulations
- Class 10: EMS & CISM
- Class 11: Hands On Training - CPR & AED Training & Certification
Ride Alongs: Each Citizen will have the opportunity to do a ride along with an engine company. Minimum time is two hours (or at least two responses), maximum time is four hours. There will be a special schedule to set up your ride along times. The calendar will be available each class. Each sign up must be approved by the Academy Director.
I teach many of the classes myself. I also have guest speakers from various divisions within the department and from outside agencies that assist our department such as the American Red Cross and Trauma Intervention Program. Each speaker has approximately 45 minutes for their presentation and can do what they want during their period. Many use power point or videos during their presentations.