Thursday, May 9, 2019

My experience in the Citizen Public Safety Academy of my town

Every other week for the past few months, I have had the opportunity to join 34 other residents of my town to learn from our public safety officials: what it takes to do their job and the importance of building connections within the community. Before taking this course, the only experience I had with a police officer or firefighter was when I visited the building for assistance with installing a car seat and ensuring it was done properly.

In early January, we met in the training room of the new police department building and learned the history of police and fire departments in our town and the various reasons that fire prevention laws were developed. Over the course of the following months, we received a behind-the-scenes look at the public safety facilities, vehicles and tools and we learned about:

  • Fire Department History
  • Fire Prevention & Fire Behavior
  • Fire Department Emergency Medical Services: Capabilities, Equipment Demonstration and First Aid
  • Fire Department Emergency Management and Home Safety
  • CPR and Stop-the-Bleed Training
  • Training like a Firefighter with hands-on activities for various firefighting tasks
  • Police Operations, Tools of the Trade and Use of Force
  • Police Department Administration, Detective Bureau, Interviewing, Warrants and a K9 Demonstration and their role
  • Operating Under the Influence discussion and Breathalyzer Demonstration
  • Simulation with Interactive Scenarios involving Decision Making and Application

During the fire department training activities, I was amazed at how fast water comes out of a fire hose and how heavy the hose is to maneuver. We used the Jaws of Life and I was amazed at how they cut a car door and metal like a knife through butter. We put on protective gear and masks and went into a smoke filled trailer to get a sense of what it is like to wear 40 lbs of gear while crawling through a space where you can't see your hand in front of your nose. I can't begin to imagine what it must be like to be in that same scenario with your adrenaline pumping, temperatures rising, all the while being careful where you step because you may go right through the floor. 

I was in total awe at the amount of knowledge they have and the split second decision making that they have to have on a daily basis in high-stress situations that they may encounter. I already had a huge amount of respect for all public safety officials for the work that they do on a daily basis to keep us all safe. During this time, I've learned in greater detail about their various responsibilities and the inherent risks associated with their professions.

Here's a few of my favorite photos from the classes:

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