Ever wonder what it’s like to be firefighter? Mesa citizens now have that opportunity as the Mesa Fire and Medical Department wraps up its inaugural Citizens Academy pilot program this month. It’s an opportunity for members within the community to see and hear first-hand what the department does through lectures, hands-on experiences and ride-alongs.
“You will have an opportunity to wear fighter turnout gear while performing various hands-on experiences such as a simulated structure fire search and rescue and vehicle extrication and you will ride with crews on actual calls to get a first-hand look at what we do,” said Capt. Derek Williams, who leads the Mesa Fire and Medical Department Citizens Academy.
“We started this academy so that residents can come in and see what we do from the inside,” Mesa Fire Chief Mary Cameli said. “We’re very excited about it and looking forward to more to come.”
Mesa High School teacher David Lane has been a resident of Mesa for 32 years and is currently going through the academy’s first class.
“What an amazing opportunity,” Lane said as he dressed out in fire gear for a recent building search. “When I got the email to go through the pilot program I was excited because you get to see that the department is a huge asset to our community. I basically knew what they did but actually going through (the Citizens Academy) I’m seeing how it all really works and meeting the people behind it all.”
Requirements for joining the Mesa Fire and Medical Department Citizens Academy are:
- You must be 18 years old (by the start date for the academy).
- Have a desire to learn about Fire and Medical Department operations.
- Be available to attend on Thursday nights from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. for nine consecutive weeks.
- You must meet one or more of the following requirements:
– Resident of Mesa.
– Work within the city of Mesa.
– Employee of Mesa.
– Spouse/partner of a current employee of the city of Mesa.
– Retired employee of Mesa.
– Student (over 18 years of age) who attends classes (high school or college) at a school within the city of Mesa
Applications will be processed on a first-come-first-served basis. However, if the current academy fills up (class size is 20 individuals max), you will be placed on a contact list for future academy dates. The next academy class will run between April 12 and June 7.
For questions or additional information, contact Williams at Derek.Williams@mesaaz.gov or visit http://www.mesaaz.gov/residents/fire-medical/divisions-sections/volunteer-corps-mfmd/mfmdcitizensacademy.
– Kelly Mixer is managing editor of MyNewsMesa.com. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.