Vail, Eagle River fire departments hold joint training |

Vail, Eagle River fire departments hold joint training

Melanie Wong
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the DailyRecruits and staff of the Mountain Metro Fire Academy kicked off their firefighter training program on Wednesday. The training program is a collaborative effort between Vail Fire and Emergency Services and the Eagle River Fire Protection District. The 11 trainees are participating in an intensive 11-week program that will include firefighting, hazardous materials and wildfire training.

VAIL, Colorado ” Eleven trainees will spend the next couple months in intense training as part of the Mountain Metro Fire Training Academy.

The academy, a joint collaboration between the Vail Fire and Emergency Services and the Eagle River Fire Protection District, is the first time in recent years that the neighboring departments have teamed up.

The agencies had been holding separate training academies, but a joint academy made more sense, especially during tough economic times.

“It’s a very, very arduous process, and it takes a ton of equipment and resources, as well as a number of instructors,” said Vail Fire Chief Mark Miller.

Miller and Eagle River Chief Charlie Moore agreed that since the two departments combat large fires together, it made sense to train together.

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The students in the academy, who are chosen from all over the country out of more than 70 applicants, spend 11 weeks in physical training and learning firefighting skills, hazardous materials handling, and wildfire and technical rescue training. Training started on April 6.

The program allows the trainees to live at the fire station, work shifts alongside the regular firefighters, and earn a two-year degree at Colorado Mountain College.

After training is complete, some will stay at the valley departments full-time.

“It helps us be very cost effective as we fill positions,” Miller said. “Hopefully they eventually will get full-time positions here or somewhere else in the country.”

Both fire chiefs said they are excited about this joint venture and hope it will strengthen the working relationship between the two departments, especially when it counts ” on the scene of an emergency.

Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2928 or

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