The purpose of the Alexandria Community Fire Academy is to educate the Alexandria community about fire safety and emergency medical response, while learning about the history, administration, operations and apparatus of an urban public safety agency. The goal of the Academy is to build partnerships within the community by helping participants understand how the fire department works, and to encourage volunteering within the community.
Participants will also have an opportunity, through hands-on training, to experience a "day in the life" as a firefighter/paramedic. They will learn skills such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), how to stretch a hose line, ladder operations, and how an engine and truck operate, along with special operations skills.
The program is open to City residents ages 18 and over, persons who work in the City, and owners of businesses located in the City.
How to Apply
The application for the Fall 2021 Community Fire Academy is now open. This session will be virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, scheduling is subject to change as we continue to make the best decisions for the health and safety of our workforce and the public. The deadline to apply is Friday, September 3, 2021.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the Alexandria Community Fire Academy?
The Alexandria Community Fire Academy is designed to help educate the Alexandria community about its fire department. Academy participants will have an opportunity to learn from Alexandria Fire Department (AFD) staff about the department's history, operations, tactics, human resources, budgeting, and more. Participants will also have a chance to experience the duties of fire personnel through hands-on training.
2. When are the Academy sessions held?
The Academy will be held in the spring and fall of each year. The fall 2021 session will begin September 22, 2021.
3. How long is the Academy, and how often will there be classes?
The Academy is normally 10 weeks long; due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the schedule for the fall 2021 session is subject to change. Classes will be held on Wednesdays, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
4. What will I learn from the Academy?
Topics covered will include: 1) who works for your Fire Department and their roles; 2) Divisions within AFD; 3) Emergency Medical Service (EMS) skills, including Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), and First Aid, and 4) operational skills (which include engine company and truck company hands-on operations).
5. How do I apply for the Alexandria Community Fire Academy?
The application process for fall 2021 is now open through Friday, September 3, 2021
6. Who is eligible to participate?
If you are a City resident, own a business in the City of Alexandria, work for City government, and are over age 18, you are eligible to participate in the Academy.
7. How large are the classes?
The class size is limited to 12 participants.
8. Can I attend the academy if I live outside the City limits?
Yes, if you work for the city or own a business located in the City, you can attend the academy.
9. How much does the Alexandria Community Fire Academy cost?
There is no charge to participate.
10. Will I be participating in any physical activities?
Firefighters and paramedics are exposed to danger every day on the job. The fire service is very challenging physically and mentally, and to receive the full experience, in some Academy classes participants will be involved in physical activities such as learning CPR, lifting patient stretchers, extending ladders, carrying mannequins, stretching hose lines, and more. However, the choice to participate in these physical activities is entirely optional. ***Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, in-person activity days are to be determined. For additional information, contact Firefighter Ashley Whisonant at 703.746.5217.
11. Can I apply even if I am unable to participate in the physical portion?
Yes, you may still apply even though you are unable to participate in the physical activities.
12. Will I be certified to perform the skills I learn in the Academy?
No, participants will not be certified to practice the skills that are shown in the Alexandria Community Fire Academy. The skills that the program offers are to expose the participants to the work of the fire department.