After nine weeks behind-the-scenes with the Valdosta Fire Department (VFD), 10 citizens graduated from the VFD Citizens Fire Academy, on November 6. The program, in its fifth year, educates citizens and the business community about the services provided by the VFD, increases fire and life-safety awareness, and establishes community partnerships.
Graduates of the program are: Dannie Simmons, Garrett Herring, Shannon McConico, Gabriel Phillips, Bradley Richmond, Chassity Sanders, Haley Whiddon, Donna Banks, Elizabeth Carter, and Velma Harris.
“On Tuesday night, I graduated from the VFD Citizens Fire Academy. It was one of the best experiences of my life! Each class was led by members of the fire department, which focused on the different aspects of the fire service. It was full of fun, informative presentations, leading to hands-on learning experiences I will never forget,” said Shannon McConico, CFA Graduate. “In our class we became CPR/First Aid Certified, we mimicked the jobs of the Fire Investigators and Fire Fighters, and had the opportunity to participate in a ride-a-long with our local fire department. I want to encourage everyone to sign up for the 2019 VFD Citizens Fire Academy. It is a learning opportunity that cannot be missed!”
Participants were exposed to all aspects of the department’s operations. Among a number of activities, they witnessed demonstrations on search and rescue, extrication, and fire prevention; participated in the VFD’s Ride-Along Program, a live burn, high-angle rescue, and how firefighters’ personal protective equipment works; visited the 911 Center and VFD Training Center; and all received their CPR certifications.
“I commend the 2018 Citizens Fire Academy graduates for their time and commitment to the program, but I am most impressed by their genuine interests in the mission of the Valdosta Fire Department and its life-saving impact on our citizens,” said Valdosta Fire Chief Freddie Broome. “These men and women are exemplary citizens who understand the value of being intricately informed about their local government. I look forward to seeing how they will use the knowledge they have gained to make a difference in our community.”
The Citizen’s Fire Academy is one of three volunteer programs in the City of Valdosta available to citizens—the other two are the Citizen’s Police Academy and the Government 101 Citizen’s Orientation Program—designed to give citizens valuable knowledge of local government services and community resources. The next annual Citizen’s Fire Academy will begin in August 2019. For more information about the program or to obtain an application, call the VFD at (229) 333-1835.