Village of Villa Park

Villa Park Citizens Fire Academy Heats Up

Villa Park Citizens Fire Academy 2015
All photos courtesy of Al Stasch

Greetings, Villa Park!

For those of you whom I have not yet had the pleasure of meeting, I am not a firefighter…although we all look pretty convincing, right? My name is Mari Grigaliunas, and I am Villa Park’s new Public Information Officer. Anxious to get involved in all the great events and opportunities here in Villa Park, I joined the Citizens Fire Academy (CFA) this year.

Now, since I spend most of my day sitting in a comfy chair typing away, I'll admit the idea of rappelling down the side of a building and participating in live fire training made me a bit nervous.

I’m happy to report I survived the first two classes!

Lt. Chris Gilliland speaks to participants in the 2015 Villa Park Citizens Fire Academy.

So far, my fellow academy participants and I have learned a lot about the history of the Villa Park Fire Department, its daily operations and fire behavior. One of the best parts of the Citizens Fire Academy is that even when we’re watching videos, the real-life applications of what we’re learning are never in short supply. During our last 2.5-hour class, the Villa Park Fire Department responded to three emergency calls.

For those looking for more adventure, don’t worry! CFA participants do more than watch videos and discuss fire behavior. Just last week, we watched a live demonstration of flashover, which is when all combustible material in a room ignites simultaneously.

Flashover demonstration

We have also been fitted for protective gear in preparation for our upcoming lessons. Let me tell you, that stuff is heavy! The helmet is heavy; the jacket is heavy; the boots are heavy. That’s without all of the other tools firefighters need to carry on them.

During the remaining days of the academy, we’ll practice ripping a car apart with some powerful equipment, learn CPR, navigate our way through a smoke-filled room and experience live fire training. I hope you’ll enjoy my firsthand accounts of the Citizens Fire Academy and consider signing up for the next session. If I can do it, you can do it!

Firefighter helmet and jacket




Mari Grigaliunas
Village of Villa Park
Public Information Officer
Office: 630-592-6082

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