TAVARES – Six members of the Lake County Fire Rescue Division recently attended classes at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland, where they learned side-by-side with their counterparts from as far away as Maine.
Supplemental courses offered included fire tactics, new fire chief training, arson investigation and hazardous material incident management, to name a few.
“It’s the most prestigious training academy for the fire service in the world,” said Lake County Fire Rescue Assistant Chief Jim Dickerson, who led the group. “It allows us to network and build relationships nationwide. Whenever you start networking, there’s always somebody that’s accomplished something you’ve been trying to figure out.”
According to Lake County Fire Marshal Capt. Mike Vitta, the recent trip provided himself and his fellow personnel with training opportunities that are not always available locally.
“The classes were comprised of fire service members from all over the U.S., which gave us insight into fire department operations throughout the entire nation,” said Vitta. “The professional relationships we formed helped us to increase our professional development and opened up opportunities to expand our training and experience in the future.”
While Dickerson said just five firefighters travel with him to the academy annually, he says the lessons learned spread throughout the ranks year-round.
“They will come back and start talking about and applying what they learned,” Dickerson said.
Each year, he hopes that new members of Lake County Fire Rescue will make the trip to Maryland for additional and specialized training. National Fire Academy provides lodging and classes free of charge for attendees.
“So far, 24 people have attended out of 198 people in our department, which is above average,” Dickerson said. “My goal is for everyone to go at least one time in their career.”
For more information about Lake County Fire Rescue’s operations, visit www.lakecountyfl.gov/firerescue, follow them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LakeCountyFireRescue, or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/lakefirePIO.
MEDIA: For questions about Lake County Fire Rescue active calls and incidents, contact Lake County Fire Rescue Public Information Officer Chief Jack Fillman at 352-343-5434.