Thirteen students graduated Tuesday night from the 13th session of the Murfreesboro Fire & Rescue Department's Citizens Fire Academy.
The students completed a six-weeks course in which they participated in activities that MFRD personnel perform on the job. Students donned turnout gear, experienced climbing a 55' aerial, practiced extrication, conducted a search and rescue using GPS and thermal imaging cameras, and much more.
Graduates of the class were: James Chavez, Thomas Crawford, Lisa Eddy, Michael Figura, Sharon Graves, Joe Hawkins, Brandy Herman, Jonathan Herman, Sandy Kovacic, Ryan Leiser, Carl Markline, Tim Montgomery, and Althea Pemsel.
Students enjoyed a cookout at MFRD Headquarters with their classmates and instructors. They watched a presentation which included a compilation of photos from their experience before receiving a certificate of completion, a class photo, and a DVD with pictures from each night.
Graduate Tom Crawford commented on the experience, "The Murfreesboro Fire and Rescue Citizens Academy is more professionally managed, more informative and more rewarding than I could have imagined. My entire class was pleasantly surprised as well. We were introduced to people, processes and equipment that we didn't even know existed. If the idea behind the Academy was to educate the public, that goal has been met and then exceeded! We now know the inner workings of the department, and we know the quality of people working hard on our behalf. There is such a high caliber of men and women working at MFRD who take training seriously and keep their facilities in working order. For me, meeting you folks and being allowed a peek into the lives you live was worth every minute. Thank you so much for making this Academy possible."
Crawford also praised CFA Coordinator Laurie Alsup, "Thank you Laurie for the hard work you put into this and every academy. You are very special."
Alsup has been running the academy since its inception back in 2002. "Every year the CFA students gain a genuine perspective into the firefighting career. The students learn about the various services MFRD provides to the citizens of Murfreesboro. They graduate with a better understanding of the training and education required, the dedication to helping others, and the dangers of the career," said Alsup.
"We welcome these students into our MFRD family with open arms," said Fire Rescue Chief Mark Foulks. "We are glad they enjoyed their experience and hope they will encourage others to apply to the program next year."
The Citizens Fire Academy is held in the fall of each year. The CFA offers a small group of area residents the opportunity to view and participate in activities and services provided by MFRD. Information regarding upcoming classes is generally released each July. If you would like to know more about the Citizens Fire Academy, contact MFRD Fire Administration Monday-Friday 8:00 am-4:30 pm at 615-893-1422 or visitwww.murfreesborotn.gov/fireacademy. *The course is not employment related.