Youth Fire Safety Training Facility at Fire Station #20

GCFAAA  "Renovation Project 2010"



Gwinnett County is located northeast of Atlanta, and is the largest fire service district in the State of Georgia for the number of legal jurisdictions (15) under one fire department.  The county is one of America's fastest-growing counties for the past 20 years.  Our 437 square miles combines big-city living with the comforts of the suburbs.  

The Gwinnett Citizen Fire Academy Alumni Association, Inc. (GCFAAA) is a made up of graduates of the Gwinnett Citizen Fire Academy.  It was established in 2003, after the first class graduation, with the help of Les and Diane Woods.

For more information on the Citizen Fire Academy or an application, please go to:

                    Click here for the   Citizen Fire Academy video

Click here for a Citizen Fire Academy Application

CFA  questions please call 678-518-4845



The Gwinnett Citizen Fire Academy Alumni Association, Inc. is organized to promote fire and life safety education and support the Gwinnett County Department of Fire and Emergency Services educational programs.





Judy Adanich, President                                    Sylvia Goalen, GCFES Advisor

Larry Getze, 1st Vice President                         Capt. Tommy Rutledge, GCFES Advisor

Tom Bourne, 2nd Vice President

Glenn Hartley, Treasurer

Debbie Laney, Secretary




 TO:  Captain Tommy Rutledge

From: Educator Sylvia Goalen 

Captain I wanted to share with you our PR that we (Karla & myself) attended yesterday morning. I was scheduled to attend because they requested a Spanish speaking educator. On arrival Ms. Lizbeth let us in the residency to explain to us that she did not want a home survey rather she needed help with her smoke alarm. I recognized her and she reminded us that we came to her house a few months ago (Gwinnett Estates December 8th Smoke Alarm Blitz) and installed an alarm for them. They originally did not have an alarm and wanted to thank us for the service. 

She shared that on March 15th at approximately 4:30 in the morning the alarm went off. She came out of her bedroom with her husband (kids were not in the home) and realized that the air conditioner had caught fire. She stated it was more smoke than fire and they felt no need to call 9-1-1. They aired out the house, no one was injured but wanted us to come back to her home to show her how to re-set her alarm and to re-install it for her.

This is why we do what we do. This was a great event I am glad to work for a department to continues to go above and beyond for our community.


TO:  Assistant Chief/Fire Marshal Stephen Hrustich

From:  Captain Tommy Rutledge 

I believe this qualifies as our first documented save from our smoke alarm program. Though the fire was minimal, disaster was averted due to the early warning of the FD installed smoke alarm. These types of programs would not be possible without the support from our department leaders and the dedicated staff, CFA volunteers, and fire explorers in the CRR PIO & Education Section.


From: Assistant Chief/Fire Marshal Stephen Hrustich 

That is awesome news and is an exciting moment for the department. We will take the time to share this success story!


From: Assistant Chief Casey Snyder 

Great news. There is no telling how this would have ended up if it were not for the smoke detector.


TO:  Judy Adanich, GCFAAA President

From:  Captain Tommy Rutledge 

Please see the e-mail from Sylvia and the Chief’s comments.  This is exciting news and is the first documented save from the combined efforts of the GCFAAA, Fire Department, Explorer’s, and Lowe’s.  This certainly makes all the planning that took place and the day of hard work worthwhile.  Thank you and the GCFAAA for making events like this possible.  We will never know the impact we made that day, but it is nice to hear success stories when we do.  Please feel free to share this story with the group and with Lowe’s.



From:  Judy Adanich, GCFAAA President 

Please read all of the messages.  I am always proud to be a part of this group but I could not be any more proud than I am right now! 

Keep in mind that we will be going back to this Community to continue the fire safety we have only touched on. 

Good job to everyone involved!  I am also sending this to our Lowe's partner.



COMMITTEES:  We currently have 7 Program Committees.  ALL suggestions must go through an acceptance process with our GCFES advisors.

Youth Fire Safety Training Facility Committee – The feedback from the first 150 packets has been positive.  We make sure we have numbers and age groups before every program to insure there are enough age appropriate packets.  The 3 yrs. through 7 yrs. group receives our version of flash cards.  There is coloring, questions and activities for the YFST Program Participant to do with their parents or caregiver.  Materials are needed for 200 sets of flash cards:  Card Stock - white 8 1/2 x 11 (1400 sheets), brown envelopes to fit 8 1/2 x 11 paper into (200), childrens crayons (200), Stickers (200).  The 8 yrs. on up group are presented a game board, questions and activities all tied to the information learned in the program.  Materials needed for 200 game board pacets:  Card Stock - white 8 1/2 x 11 (1000 sheets), brown envelopes to fit 8 1/2 x 11 paper into (200), game piece  200), Stickers (200) and various office supplies.  We are also in need of volunteers to put these packets together to meet the needs of the programs scheduled.  If you are able to donate materials or time to this project, please contact Amy or Judy.

We have had a steady flow of Programs throughout the summer that will continue until we close down for the winter.  Amy Woodrick is the lead on this Committee.

Emergency and Medical Information Committee – This Committee is charged with finding or creating the best way to record and locate emergency and medical information in the home of any citizen with a chronic, life threatening or under control condition that a first responder may need to know about when providing care.  Firefighters at several Fire Stations continue to mention this issue during Ambassador visits.  Stations 9A and 30A had the most input and have been the mentors during this process.  The Committee has reviewed multiple existing programs and formats for data.  The Committee is meeting with potential partners and will then make a formal proposal.  Dave Adanich is the lead on this Committee.

Smoke Alarm Committee - The original charge for this Committee was to provide Smoke Alarms for a Mobile Home Park in Station 22's area.  That was accomplished on October 20, 2012 with a smoke alarm installation blitz and fire safety fair and lunch.  45 Smoke Alarms and 5 Batteries were installed and tested in 37 homes.  Well over 150 children and their parents were guests of Fire Station 22 for hot dogs and cookies!  These children also participated in the safety fair where they learned to Stop, Drop and Roll and Get Low and GO!  They colored pages with a message and made an origami fire dog.  They also created wooden fire engines with siren courtesy of Lowes Buford and Gainesville.  We plan to go back in the October with the mobile fire safety house and more smoke alarms!

The Committee was then requested to present the same program at a different Mobile Home Park in Station 28's area.  On December 8, another smoke alarm installation blitz and fire safety fair was held.  47 Smoke Alarms and 2 Batteries were installed and tested in 29 homes.  Approximately 100 children participated in the fire safety fair.  It is at this location that we had our first documented save.  (See the letters above).

The following contributors made this all possible:  Kidde provided 25 Smoke Alarms with 10 year batteries.  Lowes Buford and Gainesville provided 206 Dual Sensor Smoke Alarms, a case of batteries, 150 fire engine kits along with installation and translation assistance.  Kroger at Five Forks and Oak in Lilburn, assisted with water and cookies.  Stations 22 and 28 provided the children with a hands-on experience in the engine and Station 22 provided and cooked lunch.  GCFES Community Risk Reduction - Education provided Educators to lead each installation team.  One Firefighter assisted all day on his day off!  GCFAAA did an excellent job of coordinating, planning, funding and executing 2 exciting and life-saving programs.

The Committee is invested in doing whatever it takes to make our community more fire safety knowledgeable and homes safer.  About 10 smoke alarm installation blitzes are planned for 2013 / 14.  John Fox and Kyle Davis are the lead on this Committee.

Georgia Move Over Law Committee – This Committee is charged with providing education to the drivers in our community to keep our emergency personnel safe at an emergency scene.  Over 1,000 drivers were educated in 2012 at various public events and every opportunity possible.  The Committee has been enhanced with the local and county Police Departments, Georgia State Patrol, Sheriff's Office, County School Police and other agencies to educate at additional county and local functions, locations and venues.  The Committee will also be preparing Public Service Announcements for broadcast to educate drivers within the county as well as visitors to the county.  Bridgette Butynski is the lead on the Committee for GCFAAA.

Members of the Committee had an opportunity to present our mission at the Traffic Incident Management Quarterly Meeting on April 16 at the Georgia Public Safety Office.  Several other Counties are interested in our plan and adapting it to their communities.


Fire Safety with Blood Pressure Checks Committee - This Committee is charged with providing fire safety information during Blood Pressure Checks at the pre-determined grocery store in Station 10 area.  Fran Stewart is the lead on this Committee.

Standardized Location Address Display Committee - This Committee is charged with analyizing all of the location address displays authorized and determining which will best meet the needs of responding Emergency Personnel.  Thomas Hale is the lead on this Committee.

Family Support Team Committee - This Committee is charged with providing assistance with newsletters, setting up meetings and registration for seminars.  Carole Duff is the lead on this Committee.

501c3:  We are still awaiting a decision!!!  This will help GCFAAA provide and support education programs in the county.

"YOUR TIME COUNTS PROGRAM": This program provides 1 ticket for every 2 hours of volunteer time. Each month a ticket is selected for a "Ride-A-Long" at the station/shift of the winner's choice.  This is for volunteer incentive and appreciation.

AMBASSADOR PROGRAM:  Every Fire Station and Shift currently has a Permanent or Temporary Ambassador.  35 GCFAAA Ambassadors have accepted the task for 90 Station / Shift assignments and will be visiting every Station and Shift to share information about GCFAAA and gather ideas from the Firefighters.  This is the most fun and the easiest program to give time to.  A  visit is made to bring the Station / Shift up to date on GCFAAA activities and see if there is anything GCFAAA can do for them.  ALL of the Committees have been formed based on input from the Ambassador / Station / Shift relationship.  If you are not an Ambassador and wish to become one, please contact Judy (  The rewards are amazing.

CITIZEN FIRE ACADEMY – Classes run every Thursday from 6 until 9 P.M. for 12 weeks.  The next Class begins on Thursday, September 5.  If you know of anyone who is interested in CFA, they can contact Judy ( or (  To be a participant, they must be at least 18 and live or work in Gwinnett County.

CFA CLASS HOST PROGRAM – This program allows GCFAAA members to host a session or sessions of a current CFA class.  This has been a great way for the current participants to meet the members and understand what GCFAAA is all about.  It is also a great opportunity for the GCFAAA members to assist the new participants and experience one or more of their favorite sessions again.  If you are interested in being a CFA Class Host, contact Larry Getze (




3,695 Volunteer Hours were accumulated by 67 Volunteers participating in 176 Programs and Events in Gwinnett County.

3 Programs were maintained - Ambassador, Interpreting and Youth Fire Safety Training.

3 Committees were formed based on suggestions received by Ambassadors from Firefighters.  Each Committee has followed a project plan.  2 Committees have prepared a proposal, presented it to GCFES for approval, been approved and have successfully met and continue to meet their objective.  

Each Volunteer received recognition for the time volunteered, incuding non-GCFAAA volunteers.



Continue to support all Programs in place and assist with additional Programs, Projects and Events as requested. 

Continue to embrace opportunities to form committees to solve issues and assist our Firefighters through the Ambassador Program.  3 New Committees formed in the first half of  2013.

Continue current Committee activities:

Obtain 501c3 Approval.

Renovate the Fire Safety Trailer at Station 19 in partnership with Safe Kids Gwinnett.  This item is on permanent hold.





The Youth Fire Safety Training Facility is located behind Station 20 on Cruse Road in Lawrenceville.  The facility has recently been renovated with a new roof, flooring, paint and beautiful murals.  The facility was erected in 1996 given to Gwinnett County for the education of the children of the county.  Since then, hundreds of children go through the program every year to learn about Stop, Drop and Roll; Get Low and Go; making an Escape Plan and designating a Meeting Place.  In October, 2011, the facility was re-dedicated in memory of Mr. Tommy Vort.

The Youth Fire Safety Training Program consists of a video, a visit from the Friendly Firefighter, an opportunity to review information from the video and then practice the same principles from the video and review.  The participants are able to escape a little house filled with “smoke” and go to the designated meeting place to call 9-1-1.  The participants are then shown Fire Station 20 and any apparatus that is in the house.  Since Station 20 is the home of Gwinnett County’s HAZMAT Team and apparatus, the children, and adults, get to see the equipment used at a hazardous materials incident.  

GCFAAA has created and prepared take home packets for the participants in this program.  7 years of age and below receive Flash Cards and 8 years of age and above receive a Game Board.  This program is offered from March through November to Scout troops, home schooled children, day care facilities, pre-schools, schools, etc.  If you are interested in volunteering for one of the programs, contact Judy (  If you would like to schedule a program for your group of children, contact Judy at (

GCFAAA is very proud of this facility and this program.  Many hours of hard work went into the renovations and current maintenance.  If you are interested in assisting with current maintenance items, contact Dave (  We recently added 2 new safety cones with signs and flashing lights to warn drivers that there are children in the park area.  Items to be tackled as maintenance are:  A new outside door for practicing "Get Low and Go", new outdoor signs, general clean-up, planting of a special butterfly bush in memory of a deceased member.





Monthly meetings are normally on the first Tuesday of the month at various locations

Please remember that all events and meetings are included in the "Your Time Counts" Program 

Contact Judy at to volunteer







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"As Volunteers, we give away valuable time for no money and in the vague hope of imparting positive benefits to strangers"