Sign-ups are now being accepted for the first Citizens Fire Academy class offered by McMinnville Fire Department. The new program will give local citizens an inside look into the life of a firefighter.
“This is the first one of its kind for this department,” said McMinnville Fire Chief Randy Walker. “The classes will offer a glimpse into what firefighters really do.”
The department is looking to abolish a misconception about the daily functions within the department. Walker says the public’s perception of a lax environment is not reality.
“Some people have a misconception about what we do,” he said. “They have an image of us sitting around waiting for a fire, but nothing could be further from the truth.”
Along with abolishing this mistaken belief, the goal of the program is “to foster public awareness and understanding of McMinnville Fire Department’s mission and role in our community through citizen participation and education.”
Weekly sessions will offer instruction and hands-on experience in fire safety and survival, use of turnout gear and water hoses, first aid and CPR training, search and rescue, thermal imaging cameras, a trip to Fire Station 2, a ride in Tower 1, and a lift in the fire engine’s bucket.
“For those who are not certified, the class will offer them a chance to be certified in CPR,” said Walker. “If you are certified, it will be a refresher class.”
The program is similar to the Citizens Police Academy offered by McMinnville Police Department for the past several years. Walker says he his hoping for the same success with help from McMinnville Police Chief Bryan Denton.
“I called Bryan about starting something like his police academy in the fire department,” he said. “We made a few phone calls and found that other departments in Tennessee offer a Citizens Fire Academy. We are hoping for the same success as the police department has had.”
Space in the class is limited and sign-up deadline is Aug. 31. Applications can be picked up and dropped off at McMinnville Fire Department on Main Street.
Classes will be offered for eight weeks on Thursdays from 6 to 9 p.m. and will begin Sept. 20. For more information, contact the department at 473-3435.