Marion Fire Department Taking Applications for Citizens' Fire Academy

By Heather Hubbs, Reporter

MARION, Iowa-- If you've ever wondered what it would be like to fight fires and save people trapped inside vehicles, now is your chance. For the second year in a row, the Marion Fire Department is inviting residents to apply for its Citizens' Fire Academy. It's an 8 week program, that takes place one night a week for three hours. For some who went through the class last year, it was a life changing experience.

Being a fire fighter is about more than just putting out flames. The Marion Fire Department started the Citizens' Fire Academy to give residents an up close look at life as a firefighter.

"My favorite parts were, we did some repelling and were able to use the jaws of life to take a car apart so that was pretty awesome," said Traci Miller.

Miller signed on for the 2013 academy, after completing it she decided to become a volunteer firefighter for the department.

"I just had so much fun and I thought, well I think everyone should volunteer in some capacity whether it's at your church or school or sports and I thought this is my chance to give back," said Miller.

She's not the only member of the 2013 Citizens' Fire Academy who was inspired to volunteer. Becky Shanahan, signed up for the class because her friends did, but the 8 week experience sparked something inside her.

"It's definitely outside my box, not something I ever thought I would do but once I tried it I was hooked," said Shanahan.

That's exactly what the Marion Fire Department hopes will happen with many of the academy participants.

"That's part of the goal of this academy is to give individuals who may be interested in a career or our paid on call volunteers, a taste of what it could be like," said Marion District Fire Chief Jason Hansen.

So if you sign up for the class, just know, it may just light a fire in you to become a firefighter too.

The Citizens' Academy is every Thursday night from April 24 - June 12. Applications are due by April 4th. The class size is limited. You can apply online through the city's website.
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