Tips to Successfully Pass Your Fire Technology Classes

This article helps students learn from the mistakes of others to properly prepare for a career as a firefighter.


  1. Shown up at all class sessions. All of them had missed at least one day.
  2. Shown up on time to all class sessions. Most of them had been tardy to at least one session. The fire service does not appreciate tardiness.
  3. Turned in all of their homework assignments. Here is one of the spoon feeding things I have mixed feelings on: every week they get some questions to answer and turn in the next week. These questions are virtually the same as the ones they see on the test next week. You would think that if you do the homework you would get 100 percent on the test, well, that is not the case. Homework is not required, but they get up to five extra credit points for doing the questions. Extra credit is only added in at the end of class after they have passed with at least a "C". All of the students who had failed the midterm had failed to turn in all or some of the homework assignments.
  4. Passed the midterm. One of the reasons I would rather drop them if they fail the midterm is because if they fail the midterm, there is a very high chance they won't even get higher than a D in the class at the end. In the past, most of the students who failed the midterm (before we dropped them for this) failed the final and ended up with an F or a D. Only in rare circumstances did students get their act together and kick it into overdrive and pass with a C or better.
  5. Passed the weekly quizzes with at least 80 percent. All of the students we dropped had failed at least one quiz. Most of them had failed over half of the tests they had taken.
  6. Turned in other assignments early or at least on time. Another interesting coincidence is that these same students were the same ones that turned in any special assignments (reports, etc.) late or at least attempted to turn them in late. We typically don't accept late stuff.
  7. Taken responsibility for their actions, or lack of actions, and actually held themselves accountable. I've heard every excuse in the book and I bet I'll hear new ones every semester. Do you think the fire department that wants (or wanted) to hire you cares that you forgot to completely fill out the application or that your application was late because you forgot the final filing date?

I hand out a "student contract" on the first day of class to "lay the foundation and the ground rules" up front. They get a copy and they sign a copy for me to keep. Even if they don't sign it, that's ok - they still know the rules of engagement. Well, what are some of the items I put in the contract that will fail them? Here are the items:

  • Following instructions, either oral or writtene, is paramount to your success as a future firefighter. Not properly following instructions on the fireground can lead to the death or serious injury of a fellow firefighter and/or yourself. Learning to follow instructions in this class will help you be a successful firefighter; an asset to yourself, your crew, and the citizens you provide service to.
  • I agree to abide by all of the requirements set forth in the course syllabus that was handed out on the first day of class, including (but not limited to) the following items:
    • The green 100 question scantron score sheets (Form 882-E) will be required for weekly quizzes, the midterm examination, and the final examination. Turning in a scantron that is not the required scantron will result in my forfeiting points from that test for not following directions. Also, using anything but a # 2 pencil to answer your questions that does not allow the scantron machine to properly score your test will also result in your forfeiting the points from that test.
    • All assignments, homework, projects, etc. are due at 8:00 a.m. at the start of class. Showing up late to class and turning in an assignment after 8:00 a.m. may result in your not receiving full credit for that assignment. If you show up on time you are assumed to have your required assignments with you at that time. No points will be given for homework, assignments, projects, etc. not turned in after the class for the day ends.
    • I will show up to class by 8:00 a.m. so that I am not a disruption to the rest of the class or the instructor. Tests are usually administered right at 8:00 a.m.; If I arrive during the middle of a test, I may not be able to take the test or if I am allowed to take the test, at the instructor's discretion, I will only be allowed the remaining minutes allotted to the class that is presently taking the test. As soon as you walk into the class, please turn in any required homework or assignments onto the instructor's desk in the front of the room.
    • All homework assignments and paperwork must be stapled if more than one page. Items not stapled will not be accepted.
    • I understand that no make-up quizzes will be given. If I arrive late to class and the quiz/examination has already been administered, I will not be able to receive the points for missing the quiz/examination.
    • The trade article is due no later than the fifth class session, February 21, 2005. The trade article must be from a fire service related trade / technical publication, not from a general circulation newspaper such as the San Francisco Chronicle. Failure to turn in a trade article will result in your having to withdraw from the class with a "W."
    • The rough draft of the group project MUST be turned in by the date requested. Failure to turn in the rough draft will result in your having to withdraw from the class with a "W."
    • I may be dropped from the class if I miss two classes in a row, or 12 total hours. Time lost due to excessive tardiness or leaving the class early (unexcused) may count toward the 12 total hours.
    • I will be dropped from the class if I do not show up at the first class meeting. This is necessary to make room for the students that do show up and want to add in to them. It is not fair to those folks wanting to add in to have to wait a week to see if there will be an open spot or not.
    • I will be dropped from the class if I show up at the first class session, but then miss the second class session.
    • If I am given an add number by the instructor, I have no more than 24 hours from the end of the first class session to enroll in this class. Since class ends at noon on Monday, you have until noon on Tuesday, the next day, to utilize your add number. If you have problems using the add number, you need to contact the instructor ASAP. Failing to contact the instructor by noon on Tuesday will result in your not being able to use the add number and your not being able to continue in the class.
    • I may be dropped from the class if I do not show up to take the midterm examination or if I do not receive a passing score on the midterm.
    • I will turn off my cellular phone and/or pager when I am in the Fire Technology 50 class, so as to not disrupt the class. I understand that I will be given a verbal warning for failing to do so on the first occasion, and that on the second occasion; I will receive a written warning that will go in my class file. On the third occasion, I face being dropped from the class for failure to follow directions.
    • I agree to be mature and take responsibilities for my actions and not make excuses for why I did not complete something or why I failed to follow instructions.
    • I understand that I must abide by the college rules regarding plagiarism and cheating. If I am caught cheating or plagiarizing anything, I will no longer be allowed to continue in the class. Cheating and/or plagiarism will not be tolerated.