Academy gives residents up close experience of Charlotte Fire

Published on June 01, 2023

Charlotte Fire Citizens Fire Academy 2023

Charlotte firefighters are sounding the alarm for their annual Citizen's Fire Academy. The program is designed for people who want to learn more about the daily lives of professional firefighters and heighten their awareness regarding fire and life safety.

The program participants will be immersed in a rich, learning environment that gives them an in-depth view of the Charlotte Fire Department’s services and capabilities. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to perform various skills of a professional firefighter.

“There's a lot of people that don't know about the fire department, Charlotte Fire Capt. Jason Cook, said. "You look and you see the fire trucks riding up and down the road, but the fire department is much more intricate as far as all the equipment, what firefighters do with all the certifications that they hold." 

The goal of the academy is to teach every participant the multitude of services and capabilities of the fire department and provide them with a clear understanding of the department’s commitment to service. 

The Citizen's Fire Academy is open to adults 18 years old or older and who are Charlotte residents. 

“This program is designed to where you can be as hands-on or hands-off as you like. We'll bring trucks out, the jaws of life and a whole lot more to give people the opportunity to use them. People can use air packs or people can see the air packs,” Cook said. “It's as much as you want to do, or you can just sit back and observe.”

Citizens are selected based on demographics and the citizen's ability to reach other members of their community. In preparing for the Citizen's Fire Academy, efforts will be made to include educational, religious and business communities.

From fire trucks to the emergency communications center, the instructors are committed to providing the best learning experience. The nine-week academy begins Aug. 10 and meets each Thursday from 6 - 8 p.m.

“The best part of the Citizen Fire Academy is that people feel accomplished. On week nine, we have a graduation. What started as a group of strangers on week one, on week nine everybody in the class feels like a big family,” Cook said. “It's cool to sit back and watch relationships form and then also form relationships with the people who are in the academy.”

The program graduates will receive a certificate of completion upon successful completion of the program. There is no charge to the participants; all materials are provided.

The Citizen's Fire Academy is a learning experience and is not intended to train people to become firefighters or to assist at a fire.

Week 1 – Aug. 10.  Program Introduction. In this class, participants learn about the rich history of the Charlotte Fire Department and about what it takes to become a Charlotte firefighter, as well as the training it entails.

Week 2 – Aug. 17. Fire Department Apparatus, Tools and Equipment Familiarization

In this class, you will become familiar with the various fire apparatus, tools and equipment used by firefighters. In addition, there will be demonstrations of the tools and equipment and opportunities for you to gain hands-on experience utilizing the tools and equipment during group exercises.

Week 3 – Aug. 24. Emergency Management, Communication, Fire Investigation, Fire Prevention, Logistics

In this class, you will learn about the multitude of divisions that encompass the Charlotte Fire Department. These include: 

  • The role of the fire communications center and how 911 emergency calls are processed and then dispatched
  • The Fire Investigation Task Force and the work it does to determine the cause of fire origin 
  • Fire Prevention and the inspections they conduct to protect the citizens of Charlotte
  • The role of emergency management personnel during human-made and natural disasters
  • And the essential role of logistics, ensuring the fire department is well equipped to achieve its mission.

Week 4 – Aug. 31. Active Shooter and Police Assist Company Response and Preparedness

In this class, you will learn about the Charlotte Fire’s Police Assist Companies, how they assist the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and the fire department’s response and preparedness for incidents involving an active shooter, and how to control a victim's bleeding after sustaining a traumatic injury involving severe and uncontrolled bleeding.

Week 5 – Sept. 7. Charlotte Fire’s Rescue Capabilities.  Learn about Charlotte Fire’s capabilities regarding special rescue situations involving water, structural collapse, confined spaces and high- and low-angle rescues.

Week 6 – Sept. 14. Hazardous Materials Response. In this class, you will learn about the Charlotte Fire’s capabilities to mitigate incidents involving the unintentional or malicious release of deadly chemicals. Demonstrations will be conducted to show the unique tools and equipment used by Charlotte Fire’s hazmat members.

Week 7 – Sept. 21. In this class, you will learn about the CFD training requirements and tour the training ground of the Training Academy.  

Week 8 – Sept. 28. Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting. In this class, you will learn about aircraft rescue and firefighting operations at the Charlotte Douglas Airport. During your time in class, your instructor will teach you about the various apparatus and equipment to fight fires involving aircraft emergencies. There will also be a live-fire demonstration with the ARFF training simulator.

Week 9 – October 5. Graduation Ceremony.  Fire Chief Reginald T. Johnson and members of his command staff will be in attendance to present a certificate of completion to each participant. Dinner will be served following the ceremony. Participants are encouraged to invite their family and friends to celebrate their accomplishments.


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