There are many important steps you will take on your way to becoming a firefighter. Attending a fire academy is one of the most basic firefighter requirements. At the academy, you’ll dive deep into personal protective equipment, ropes and knots, hazardous materials, fire safety training, and more as you learn how to protect your community against loss of life and property.
The academy is designed to test you. It will test not only your resolve as a prospective firefighter but also your mental and physical limitations. That being said, it can be a positive experience, one that will set the course for a rewarding career in the fire service.
Here are 4 things you should know about attending the fire academy.
Your time at the academy isn’t going to be footloose and fancy-free. It will be strenuous and time-consuming. If you properly prepare yourself and your loved ones for the transition, you can make this a positive time for everyone involved.
Start by sitting down with your family and setting expectations. Discuss your new schedule and what responsibilities—like yard work, childcare, and meal preparation—may need to be delegated. Also, make plans for fun things that you can still do together. Make it clear to your family that they are still a priority even though the next few months will be different than your usual schedule.
It might also be helpful to review your personal and/or family budget. Your time in the academy will likely represent a financial change from what you are used to because you won’t have as much time for outside work.
In your personal preparation, you’re going to need to be physically fit. Start exercising regularly and conditioning your body now. Every day at the fire academy will likely begin with physical training of some kind. A good recommendation is that you get used to “running every day as well as be able to complete 20 pushups, 50 situps, and 10 pullups without becoming winded.”
One of the biggest adjustments for many cadets is accepting that the academy knows best. Especially if you have received previous fire training or education, it can be difficult getting used to a new process. Remember that you are learning how to be a firefighter, someone who serves their community. Be humble and ready to learn new things.
You’ll be given new chores or duties at your fire academy, so prepare yourself to have an attitude to work hard and chip in.
Your training and learning don’t stop the day you graduate from the academy. In fact, you’ll always be building on your initial education as a firefighter. Some of that will come through the experiences you have on the job. Other knowledge will come from the firefighters who you live and work with. And still more learning will take place as you complete firefighter continuing education and EMS recertifications.
At CareerCert, we offer firefighter courses online that can be completed at your own pace and expand your knowledge in a variety of areas, including safety training, HAZMAT, firefighter skills, treatment for specific injuries and trauma, active shooter response, and more.