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Utah Fire and Rescue Academy to Mark 50 Years at UVU

21 October 2010 No Comment

October 21, 2010
For Immediate Release

For more information: Catherine McIntyre (801) 863-8821
University Marketing & Communications: Mike Rigert (801) 863-6807
Written by: Chelsey Richardson (801) 863-8504

The responsibilities of a fire department and its employees have broadened and deepened over time. In many cases, the fire department is the first on the scene of any crisis, whether the call is to battle a blaze, handle a medical emergency, or to respond to a bomb threat. For the past fifty years, the Utah Fire and Rescue Academy at Utah Valley University has been a vital part of broadening the horizon for what a fire department can offer.

To mark the achievement of the academy’s five-decade involvement in the education field, the UVU Library and the George Sutherland Archives will host a presentation on Oct. 27, given by Steve Lutz, an academy assistant director. Lutz has been with the academy for 25 years, and will discuss the many ways that fire departments and fire and rescue education have developed over time.

“We’ve been around for a long time and during that period, the department has gone through a lot of changes,” said Lutz. “We’ve evolved from a very minimal program to one of the leading fire and rescue programs in the nation. We’re accredited in our certification and degree programs and we have received a lot of attention nationwide for things we’ve accomplished. I wanted to capture the essence of all these years of engagement with every community in Utah. Eighty-five percent of our classes are out in the field, out in the community. We reach into the heart of every community in Utah —  what says engagement any more than that?”

The presentation will include historic photos of the very first fire and rescue training personnel at UVU, dating back to the period when it was still under the name of Central Utah Vocational School. Lutz will speak about the program’s process and development, including the program’s major milestone in 1993, when legislation was passed that created a funding source through the Utah Department of Public Safety. Lutz will also address the career of a firefighter and the commitments and dangers involved.

“You can take your pick of almost any emergency, and the fire department will probably be there first,” he said. “Back when this program started it was only just fighting fire — nowadays they probably shouldn’t even be called fire departments anymore, with everything they do. Terrorist responses, bomb threats, medical emergencies, we do it all.”

In addition to the presentation, the George Sutherland Archives at UVU is hosting a collection of firefighting memorabilia throughout the month of October. Items include collectible fire hose nozzles and firefighter’s regalia. A number of older photographs featuring fire trucks from the 1950s and 1960s are on display, along with some more modern photos of trucks and equipment.

“The UVU Library and George Sutherland Archives are so proud to help publicize the Utah Fire and Rescue Academy’s 50th year of fire and emergency response education and training in Utah,” said Catherine McIntyre, UVU archivist. “These are the people who risk their lives to help all of us and our communities in times of emergency. Few programs are more essential than that.”

Lutz’s presentation will be held at 1 p.m. in the UVU Library Auditorium, room LI 120. The presentation is free and open to the public.

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