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Michael McLemore

This column expresses the personal opinions/views of the writer. If you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column, write a SIGNED letter to the editor. Name can be withheld by request with a valid day time phone number.


 

Sugar Land Fire Department’s Citizen Fire Academy – An A+ Citizens’ Class

PART 1 of a 2 Part series

The Sugar Land Fire Department’s Citizen Fire Academy (CFA) has just begun its eighth class to educate residents on what SLFD is all about. This year’s class kicked off this week and members are on their way to eight weeks of hands-on and classroom learning about emergency response as well as the many services we provide.

The idea for the citizens’ academy blossomed years ago from a small group of our firefighters brainstorming to find ways to educate our residents and make them more aware of fire safety and all that our fire department does. Many fire departments around the country have successfully implemented citizen fire academies and SLFD took on the initiative to develop a similar project here.

Our original goal was for citizens’ to turn their involvement with the fire department into the pursuit of other opportunities to help our community. The ideas ranged from volunteering for the City to training for a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). This effort complemented the existing City belief in the importance of citizen understanding and involvement and its commitment to encourage residents’ participation on essential boards and commissions. The fire academy has proven to be a good public education tool and a great public relations opportunity to interact with our citizens and make them more aware of our work.

Our CFA participants have the chance to participate in hands-on activities or they can choose to just observe. It is a fun yet informative opportunity that does not exceed the participant’s physical ability to be safely involved and learn. This program is designed to be informational, not to create citizen fire fighters. Some of the subjects we cover include Fire Department Organization and History, Fire Science and Apparatus, First Aid/ CPR (non-credentialed), Portable Fire Extinguisher Training, Fire Ground Strategies and Tactics and more.

Special Note: Our Fourth Annual Fire Department Open House will be held in conjunction with this year’s Sugar Land Public Safety Open House, on Saturday, October 9, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., at the Sugar Land Community Center

More than 600 people attended our Fire Open House last year. This year, we are joining forces with the City’s Police and Emergency Management departments to hold the joint “Sugar Land Public Safety Open House.” In addition to the fun fire activities, the Police department’s mobile command post, motorcycles, stealth vehicle and new Tahoe patrol vehicles will be on display. Tables will be set up for families to have their children fingerprinted to have important identification on hand along with information on our Community Assistance Support Team (CAST). These tables will be staffed by Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association (CPAAA) and CAST members.

The Public Safety Open House is just one of many activities scheduled throughout October, which we refer to locally as Fire Prevention Month. It also coincides with the Police department and neighborhoods’ National Night Out set for October 5. Hope to see you all at all the events!

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This column expresses the personal opinions/views of the writer. If you would like to express your opinions/views regarding the column, write a SIGNED letter to the editor. Name can be withheld by request with a valid day time phone number.

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