Editor’s note: This is the 12th in a 14-week series of first-person accounts of the highly popular Hilliard Division of the Police Citizens Police Academy.
Week 13 marked my last class of the Hilliard Citizen’s Police Academy. This experience has been so fun and so eye-opening. Graduation is May 28, and I plan to share my speech with you all after that day. We’ll get to the goodbyes then.
This week’s class was with the Norwich Township Fire Department at Station 81. We had dinner at the fire station with the firefighters. They made pizza and wings. We learned it’s a tradition for fire departments to have wings on Friday nights and pizza on Saturday nights, but they moved it to Tuesday just for us.
We spent our night going around to five different stations doing hands-on activities. Unfortunately, it was really windy, so we had to sit out the fire extinguisher class and the ladder truck was out on a serious accident for the duration of class. This meant we weren’t able to go up in the bucket. Had it been there, I would’ve gone up in it for the experience, but I was secretly relieved because I’m afraid of heights.
The department offered CPA students the opportunity to come back at a later date to experience going up in the bucket.
In my full-time job with the City of Hilliard Recreation and Parks Department, I am an American Red Cross Lifeguard, as well as First Aid, CPR and AED Instructor. In other words, I train people to become certified in those things. A lot of the stuff we talked about tonight related to what I do, so I especially enjoyed these activities.
My group started with the medic station. We learned about BVMs (Bag Valve Masks) and how to intubate a patient. I got that on my second try, but I definitely will never try it on an actual person! My pool staff train to use BVMs, but I had never intubated a dummy before.
Next, we played with the thermal cameras firefighters take into fires. They use them for a number of reasons, but if a building collapses they’re able to determine if there are bodies within the rubble based on the temperature. It’s a super cool tool for them to have, and they can make the difference between life and death.
Next, we took a look at the Station 81’s rescue boat, which is one of the department’s two boats. We learned about water rescue, some scenarios they trained for, and the different kinds of training you can get in water rescue. Then, we got to practice with some towing bags. Water rescue is a large part of my work life, so seeing this other aspect was interesting.
Next, we learned about the equipment paramedics take onto the medic with them, but the most exciting piece to me was the Lucas device. A Lucas device is basically an automatic CPR machine. I have been fascinated with them since they came out. To see one in person and see how it really works was super exciting for me. Technology has come such a long way and plays such a huge role in lifesaving, in hand with strong and educated responders.
At our last station, we talked about the gear firefighters wear. Everything on a typical uniform — air pack, mask, boots, etc. — adds about 100 pounds to a firefighter. I got to try on the whole suit, and I have no idea how they move in those things, let alone climb up ladders and run to emergencies.
This week was a whole lot of fun, and was a great closer for the course. While last week was a combination of all we’d learned about policing combined, this night combined what we’d learned about the fire department. I’ve loved seeing all the puzzle pieces come together from the last 13 weeks.
Stay tuned for my final blog following graduation on May 28. I know that’s a bit of a break, but I think that may be the best one yet!
Anastasia Bradley is a student enrolled in the 11th class of the Hilliard Division of Police’s Citizens Police Academy, a 14-week course that teaches residents about police work. She is a lifetime resident of Hilliard and works as the Aquatics Supervisor for the City of Hilliard Recreation and Parks Department. She is a Disney fanatic and has a serious fear of Kangaroos.