With classes starting in early March, the Copperas Cove Fire Department is looking for residents and business employees to join the 2013 Citizens Fire Academy.
“One of the main reason for this is it provides a very in-depth understanding of what their local fire department does,” said James Piper, the city’s division fire chief of training. “A lot of the public thinks we are just here waiting for a bell to ring, but there is a lot more than that.”
Piper will be one of many firefighters helping to instruct residents on a variety of emergency response topics. They include response procedures and tactics, fire extinguisher training, fire science, pump operations and hose handling, protective equipment, fire prevention, fire investigation and more.
According to a news release from the department, the topics will be presented during classroom instruction and hands-on exercises.
“Citizens will achieve an enhanced awareness of the department’s capabilities and limitations as well as a better understanding of why (firefighters) do what they do,” the release stated.
In addition to creating an understanding about the department, the program encourages participants to share their experiences with their neighbors and relatives to create a safer and more informative Copperas Cove. It also strengthens the relationship between residents and the department, the release stated.
The Citizens Fire Academy is a seven-week course in the Copperas Cove Fire Department’s training room. Classes will be from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Thursdays, starting March 7.
A final class will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 20, which will include live exercises and a graduation ceremony.
“The graduation day events are all centered around some of the more active things we do,” Piper said. “This is the one where we have a car to light on fire and they can extinguish it. Then, we do some search and rescue.”
The academy is limited to 16 participants, who must be 18 or older, complete a background check and fill out an application.