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Local firefighters to host 'virtual ride along'

If you've ever wanted to see through the eyes of a Rogue Valley firefighter, your chance is coming Thursday.

Jackson County Fire District No. 3 will host what officials are calling a "virtual ride along" that day.

From 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., the agency will post to Facebook every call it receives, at www.facebook.com/JCoFD3. The day will end with a live question-and-answer session starting about 7 p.m.

"Look through the eyes of a firefighter for a 13-hour shift," says a promo on the agency's Facebook page. "Every moment. Every call."

The event, which officials will coordinate with the Jackson County Police Scanner Facebook group, is intended to call attention to what goes into firefighting operations, and to showcase the department's use of social media for education purposes.

"We're really trying to (do) outreach into our community as much as possible," said Fire District No. 3 public information officer Ashley Blakely. "This is all about the district knowing who we are."

Fire District 3 Chief Robert Horton, who served as an assistant fire chief for Las Vegas Fire & Rescue before starting here in June, got the idea from the city's police department, which does a similar event annually.

The Jackson County Scanner group will also post the day's emergency calls to its page, www.facebook.com/groups/jcscanner. The scanner group is closed, so only members will be able to see the posts.

Anyone interested in commenting on either page can use the hashtag #FD3FIRE to follow along and comment.

"We really just want there to be a good understanding of what it is that we do," Blakely said.

Fire District 3's coverage area includes about 53,000 residents in White City, Central Point, Eagle Point, Sams Valley, Gold Hill, Agate Lake and Dodge Bridge.

— Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/ryanpfeil.