Citizens Academy
Summerville Fire & Rescue Citizens Fire Academy class is designed to provide members of the community with a unique opportunity to tour the Town’s fire stations and dispatch center, meet its firefighters and 911 personnel, and learn firsthand what it’s like to be a firefighter.

Students get a chance to see what cost is involved in hiring, training, and outfitting a firefighter along with the how and why we respond to calls the way we do. 

It is open to those individuals that are 21 years of age and older and residents of the Town of Summerville. Classes are on Tuesday nights and last two to three hours depending on the topic.


COVID Waiver:



Battalion Chief Ben Woods

The Citizens Fire Academy is headed by Battalion Chief Ben Woods. Chief Woods grew up in the fire service and is a second-generation firefighter. His father was a volunteer firefighter at Edisto Beach Volunteer Fire Department and at a very young age, he would spend his weekends' training with his father. 

At the age of 17, he followed in his father’s footsteps and became a volunteer himself. In 1998 at the age of 25, he switched gears and went from being a volunteer to a full-time paid firefighter at the Lady’s Island St. Helena Fire District in Beaufort South Carolina.

He and his family moved to Summerville South Carolina in 2005 to be closer to MUSC where his wife was employed and a student. February 13, 2006, Chief Woods was hired by Summerville Fire & Rescue and worked his way up through the ranks. Currently, he is the Battalion Chief of C Shift. He also assists in the training division in teaching recruit schools when needed.

Chief Waring IV

About the Fire Chief

Richard G. Waring IV, the Chief of Summerville Fire and Rescue, was born and raised in Summerville, South Carolina. After graduating from Summerville High School In 1992, he joined the Summerville Fire Department as a volunteer. With his heritage in the fire service, he quickly made the decision to make firefighting his career. In January 1993, Richard was hired by the City of Charleston Fire Department where he spent 19 years climbing the ranks to the position Battalion Chief.


Throughout his career, he continued his education earning an Associate’s Degree in Fire Science from Columbia Southern University. He also earned many other certifications in all aspects of the fire service as well as becoming a South Carolina licensed commercial and residential contractor.


In October of 2011, he felt his dream opportunity to serve his hometown department and community could be a reality when he applied for the Fire Chief position at the Summerville Fire Department.


Community Engagement

Now being privileged to serve as the Chief of the Summerville Fire Department, he is an active member of Summerville Rotary, serves on the South Carolina Firefighter’s Association’s Legislative Committee as well as various other community organizations.



He lives in Summerville with his wife Alison, who is employed by Dorchester School District II, and 3 beautiful daughters.

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