12th Media Academy

6/23/2017 1:00 PM

11 journalists take part in 12th Annual Media Academy

After successfully completing the maze obstacle course in full Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), repelling off the 5-story tower and fighting a stove fire in the burn building, 11 journalists completed the week-long Media Academy June 19-23. This was the 12th academy put on by the El Paso Fire Department.

Those participating in the academy included KTDO reporter Alonso Velasquez, KTSM reporter Chorus Nylander, KFOX/CBS4 photographers Richard Zamora, Rogelio Rodriguez and Raula Candia-Valles and reporters Amy Licerio, Simon Williams and Gloria De Leon, KINT photographer Hector Bernal and reporter Edgar Ramirez, and Univision Radio journalist Luis Torres. Joining the journalist were EPFD Finance employees Chantal Herrera, Derrick H. Nelson, Gabrielle Hamilton and Michael R. Newson.

"I thought the fire training was an awesome experience," Zamora said. "All media should experience how awesome and how intense the academy is, especially for firefighters who have to go through the full training. I wish I could do it all over again."

As part of the week-long Media Academy, the journalists also learned about the history of the El Paso Fire Department, the function of the Public Information Office, Incident Command Structure, Fire Control Protocols, 9-1-1 Communications as well as basic Medical Privacy law (HIPPA).

"I think the EPFD Media Academy is a unique experience greatly improving our knowledge of what firefighters/EMT's go through and the chain of command to disseminate information," Nylander said. "I believe it improves the relationship between EPFD and the local news media, improving both of the jobs we have at hand, ultimately benefiting the residents of El Paso that we both serve."

Because they completed the week-long academy, the 11 individuals are now EPFD Fire Certified Journalists, granting them access to fire warm zones at incidents. Non-certified journalists are restricted to the cold-zone at incidents.

"The week of training has given me so much insight to the work load firefighters take on everyday," Licerio said. "The emotional and physical strain is not for everyone. I am truly grateful that I had the opportunity to listen to the instructors. I learned so much! Now I am able to listen to scanner and know when it's time to go and when I can fall back. I realize that EPFD does not have to host this