Alexandria Community Fire Academy

The Alexandria Community Fire Academy educates community members about fire safety and emergency medical response, as well as the history, administration, operations, and apparatus of an urban public safety agency.

Page updated on Feb 19, 2021 at 11:58 AM

The Program

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 Spring 2021 Community Fire Academy is now open. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fire Department will conduct a 6-week virtual academy. To apply to be a participant in the academy, click here. The deadline to complete the application for the Spring 2021 session is Monday, March 1, 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 Spring 2021 session will begin on March 23. 

3.  How long is the Academy, and how often will there be classes?
The Academy is normally 10 weeks long; due the COVID-19 pandemic, the Spring 2021 session will be 6 weeks long and conducted on a virtual platform. Classes will be held on Tuesdays, from 6:30 p.m. to 8 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 Spring 2021 Opens on Feb. 16. Contact Firefighter Steven Smith at or by phone at 703.746.5217 for more information.

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 16 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 active days are to be determined. For additional information, contact Firefighter Steven Smith 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.

Photo Gallery

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