Carpentersville residents can learn CPR, fire training in Citizens Fire Academy
Cutting open cars. Rappelling from tower ladders. Entering live fire conditions.
Through the second annual Fire Ops Citizens Fire Academy that begins Wednesday, Carpentersville residents can learn hands-on what their local firefighters experience on a daily basis.
"Most of the time, you don't really see us unless we're coming to your house or we're at a scene on the street," said Tony Ferreiro, department public education coordinator. "This is kind of our community outreach to stay in touch with our community and let them know what we do every day."
Several firefighters and fire officials will teach various parts of the free class, which will be held from 6-9 p.m. every Wednesday for nine weeks, Fire Chief John Skillman said. A graduation ceremony will take place at the end of the program.
Though the class largely teaches residents about the many responsibilities of being a firefighter, Ferreiro said, it also allows them to become fire safety advocates within the community.
Residents will learn how firefighters extricate victims from a car during an accident. They can try on fire protection gear and enter hazardous conditions while wearing a breathing apparatus. They will become certified in CPR and will learn how to effectively use a fire extinguisher.
"We're giving them some invaluable training that they can take back to their homes," Ferreiro said. "Maybe they'll get a better understanding of how they can help in certain situations."
Eventually, Ferreiro said, the fire department hopes to create a community response team, made up of alumni from the program. Many have already begun to volunteer and get involved with the department, Skillman said.
Residents who are interested in the class can contact Ferreiro at (224) 293-1795, though minimal spots are available. If this year's class fills up, Ferreiro said, interested residents can be placed on a list for next year.
Participants must be 18 or older.
"It's just for regular citizens who want to get a little bit of knowledge about what the fire department does," Ferreiro said. "How often do you get to repel from a ladder on a rope or go into a fire when you're not a firefighter?"