By Sam Elliott
Fishers residents interested in learning more about how their fire department operates can get an informative, behind-the-scenes look at the department when the latest session of the Citizens Fire Academy begins Monday, Sept. 14.
The eight-week course meets for about 90 minutes each Monday night at the Fishers Fire Department, although some field trips are scheduled including to the dispatch center so attendees can see how 911 calls are handled and dispatched to the police or firemen.
“We really use it as a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to run a fire department and why it is we do some of the things we do,” public information officer John Mehling said. “They learn CPR, get to see demonstrations and participate in some of the demonstrations and really just get more of an appreciation of what it takes to handle the emergencies that come up.”
The fire department also hopes the citizens academy can recruit interested applicants into its Fire Corps, a more involved program that serves the department.
“(The Fire Corps) have a couple responsibilities. They’re all volunteers, all ages from 18 to over 55 and they come out to emergency scenes when we need rehab,” Mehling said. “They’re the ones that are standing there with the water bottles and snack bars and cold towels to hand to firefighters as we come out of the burning buildings. They’re kind of our mini 911 system. They make us the happiest people on Earth when we come out of that fire and we’re burning up.
“They help us with public education, they help us with fundraising and pretty much anytime we have needs, they’re there,” Mehling added. “For example, we have a training in October coming up that we need fake victims for. Our Fire Corps members will play our victims. It’s a really good chance to get involved and help people out — particularly the firefighters — and to see some of the things about the fire service that you wouldn’t normally see.”