Citizens Fire Academy begins in August

Warren County’s Citizens Fire Academy will be offering its tutelage to interested residents through a seven-week process beginning Aug. 9.

The purpose of the academy is to comprehensively educate the public on the fire and departments’ operations, said Fire Marshal Gerry Maiatico.

“It’s more of an overview of the department of fire and rescue services,” he said. “We take people from the general public and inform them of what our firefighters and rescue personnel do on a daily basis.”

He went on to explain the format.

“They’ll meet for six classrooms sessions. Each night we examine different aspects of the department. Week one is a general overview of the department and what it is that we do. They’ll learn the tools and equipment that the firefighters use as well as some of the specialized equipment we have located throughout the county.”

The overall goal of the academy is to educate, but in past years, it has also served as a recruiting tool.

“If anybody ever wonders what takes place in your local firefighter and EMS system, this is the perfect opportunity to learn…We’ve had at least one person out of our CFA join into the (EMS and fire) system each year that we’ve done the program.”

All are encouraged to attend the program and Maiatico said people participate for multiple reasons.

“We’ve had a lot of seniors attend because they have more time in the evenings than most and they’re legitimately concerned about the level of services we provide,” he said. “They start to worry about their health so they’re looking to improve the safety in their homes. We get a lot of questions about local government and taxes and how the tax rates affect fire and rescue services. We really dive into all aspects of the operation, including budget.”

Maiatico said that he hopes the academy will convey the intricacies and overall scale of the department’s daily operations.

“Hopefully they get a newfound respect for volunteers, a deeper appreciation for the career staff and a general overview of the department as a whole,” he said. “The ultimate success story out of this program is that they recognized the challenges and the successes associated with our fire department and hopefully join in some capacity.”

The workshops will be held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Tuesdays. Anyone over the age of 18 is encouraged to participate. To enroll, either call Warren County Fire and Rescue at 540-636-3830 or go online to www.warrencountyva.net.

Contact staff writer Nathan Budryk at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or nbudryk@nvdaily.com