Bristol Fire to hold citizen academy

Students will find out what it’s like to fight a fire


Ever wonder what it’s really like to be a firefighter? Now’s your chance to find out.

The Bristol Fire Department is hosting its first Citizen Fire Academy, which may be the first in the state, according to Battalion Chief Jim Vieira. The academy is scheduled to begin April 2, and prospective citizen firefighters can apply to be a student now.

Modeled after the more common citizen police academies, Bristol’s fire academy will teach students firefighting and lifesaving basics, including how to use the equipment, CPR and first aid. They’ll also learn about vehicle extraction and the science of firefighting, and on the final day, will get the chance to experience what a fire is actually like in the department’s fire training trailer.

“We want to give citizens good insight into what the fire department is all about,” Chief Vieira said. “We want them to know why we’re cutting a hole in the roof. On the last day, they get a chance to see what it’s like to fight a fire.”

The nine-week course will be held each Thursday night, 6-9 at the Fire Departmenty headquarters on Metacom Avenue. Those interested in applying can do so at the headquarters.

They are advised to do so soon, as the class is limited to 12 students. Applicants must be at least 18 years old, and live, work or go to school in Bristol. They also need to be able to carry at least 50 pounds of equipment, and pass a criminal background check.


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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.