Fire and Rescue Academy honored as Best of State

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For the second year in a row, the Utah Fire and Rescue Academy (UFRA) of Utah Valley University was recognized as Best of State for Public Safety in the Community Development-Public Sector category.

The Best of State Recognition and Awards Program names individuals, organizations, and businesses in both the public and private sector for outstanding achievements within the Utah community.

“When you talk about community engagement, I don’t think there’s a more engaged department at the University than we are,” said Steve Lutz, assistant director of certification at UFRA. “Since 1960, we’ve been in charge of fire training for every community in Utah. Probably 85 percent of the classes that we do are out in the communities.”

Lutz, along with Andrea Hossley, managing editor of the Straight Tip, a UFRA publication, accepted the award on behalf of UFRA at the Best of State Awards Gala in May.  The event took place at the Salt Palace Convention Center in downtown Salt Lake City.

With those recognized out of each of the ten categories, the awards aim to inspire and engage community members to work hard toward improving the lives of others.

“The scope, the breadth and the depth of what we provide to the communities is pretty unparalleled,” said Lutz. “I don’t think there’s many public safety agencies that have a statewide impact.”

With 320 faculty and instructors and 50 staff members, UFRA provides comprehensive fire service emergency response training and curriculum to over 6,000 students from all over Utah and in surrounding states. According to the State Fire Marshal’s Office, there are an estimated 5,500 firefighters in Utah.

“Our program managers travel around to make sure we train everyone,” said Hossley. “We had a winter fire school where we were just shy of 800 participants. They are primarily volunteer firefighters that go, because they can’t come up here for the training or they can’t afford to do training on their own, so we go and put on this
program over a weekend.”

Accredited by the International Fire Safety Accreditation Council (IFSAC) and the ProBoard Fire Service Professional Qualifications System, UFRA area experts and program managers constantly review curriculum and training based on the latest regulations and guidelines.

“More than anything, [winning the award] says we should continue on the path we’re going,” said Gary Kilgore, a UFRA program manager. “We’re doing what’s best for the students.”

By Mallory Black

Assistant News Editor