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  1. #1
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    Default OFFICAL Academy Questions Thread

    I've noticed that this forum consists of two types of people. Guys that are Firefighters and those who want to be firefighters. Those of us that are busting our tail trying to get to where the rest of you are, can learn alot from you guys. Hopefully in this thread, you experienced brothers can share your experience about the Acedamies you attended and answer some questions that the rest of us have. I've been reading through other threads from different cities hiring processes and am realizing that everybody who is about to go to a academy also has alot questions.

    Future cadets: Feel free to add your own questions.

    Experienced Firefighters: Feel free to give any advice you want. Even add some things you see from Probies that you know are mistakes, bad habits, wrong additude or things that probies do that make life in the academy, firehouse or field harder than they need to be.

    I know many of us want to be the best we can possibly be. So getting a tip from you that might help us in becoming a better firefighter and brother is greatly appreciated. I'll start the questions off:


    I am a decent runner. I have a fast pace and a long stride. When I do my running I always push myself to get faster and try to finish strong. My question is: During PT training, should I just run at my natural pace and continue to push myself or be more of a "team player" and stay with the pack.
    The last thing I want to do is draw attention to myself and appear like I'm trying to make others look bad. Please don't take this comment the wrong way, I am sure other areas of PT will get to me more than my fellow cadets.
    Just looking for some advice. Thanks.
    Last edited by lukequintin; 06-22-2008 at 01:38 AM.


  2. #2
    Piney Power PineyPower's Avatar
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    Well, as I admire your attempt at trying to help others as well as asking questions, I don't think ONE thread is necessary for all things about "academies" considering this is the "Probie" forum and it would serve as a better forum if everyone were able to ask their own questions in their own threads.

    That's not saying I disapprove of this or anything. I'm just stating the obvious.
    Pinewald Pioneer Vol. Fire Co. No. 1 Sta. 20
    "Piney Power"

    Berkeley Emergency Response Team (B.E.R.T./Haz-Mat/WMD/CBRNE) Station 85
    Berkeley Township, New Jersey 08721

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    Quote Originally Posted by lukequintin View Post
    I am a decent runner. I have a fast pace and a long stride. When I do my running I always push myself to get faster and try to finish strong. My question is: During PT training, should I just run at my natural pace and continue to push myself or be more of a "team player" and stay with the pack.
    The last thing I want to do is draw attention to myself and appear like I'm trying to make others look bad. Please don't take this comment the wrong way, I am sure other areas of PT will get to me more than my fellow cadets.
    Just looking for some advice. Thanks.
    It's not speed coming out of the gate that is important. It is being there at the end of the incident and doing your share of the teamwork without playing out half way through.

    Run with the pack and build your stamina. No one wants to work with a freelancer.

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    Piney, by no means am I telling everybody to post their questions here. Just thought it might help.

    mdtaylor, thanks for your opinion. My question was strickly about running and running alone. I understand how important it is to work together and follow the plan in order to accomplish a common goal.


    What was the hardest part of the academy for you? The PT, the compressed EMT training, fear of heights? How did you overcome it?

    Also, your initial gear and uniforms, is that paid for by the department or are you responsible for purchasing it?

  5. #5
    Piney Power PineyPower's Avatar
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    Well, I wasn't implying that at all. I was just stating that new members might get confused by the title and subsequently follow suit to post their questions only in here. I've seen this happen a few times before, but I'm not complaining or anything; just making the fact known.

    Anyway, to get to the point of the thread.

    I just graduated from the fire academy this past February so I still have it fresh in my mind. There were a few parts that were difficult at first, but most people learn to overcome them in one way or another. I'm not really "afraid" of heights, but I do hate unstable heights like climbing up a ladder. A ladder isn't really a stable object to me. One misstep or mess up and it could turn to injury or be fatal. That's really my only fear dealing with heights. I mean, I'll get on a ladder (ground or aerial) and climb it without hesitation or question, but I'd rather do the other duties instead. That's how I overcame me fear: just doing it without thinking about the fear. If you think about it too long it'll get to you and at that point you won't be able to do it at all. Just do it, get it over with, and you'll be a better firefighter having done so.

    The one thing I want to point out is that every academy is different (different instructors, different material, different people, etc.) so everyone will have a different experience and difficulties. We didn't have an physical training because I'm a volunteer and attended a volunteer fire academy. We're not required to do the physical workouts that career departments require. We just do book work, lectures, and hands on training for the most part. Now, if you can't do the duties, obviously you're going to fail out of any academy, but we don't train like career academies do.

    Also, we're not required to become EMT's. That's a separate course than our FF1 is. We only go over the basics: basic first aid, CPR/AED, and blood borne pathogens.

    I hope some of that helped as well as gave some insight to what we do over here.
    Pinewald Pioneer Vol. Fire Co. No. 1 Sta. 20
    "Piney Power"

    Berkeley Emergency Response Team (B.E.R.T./Haz-Mat/WMD/CBRNE) Station 85
    Berkeley Township, New Jersey 08721

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    Piney, thats exactly the type of answer I was hoping to get. Thanks for the advice. I too am a little leary of hieghts but am determined to face my fear and get over it. I actually just came back from 6 flags and made myself ride the poltergiest (I nearly $hit my pants). My family and I have season passes so even though I'm not a "do every ride in the park " type of guy, I plan on spending a couple of hours every weekend getting used to high places.
    Thanks again for your thoughts.

    How soon after you make an offical list can you start to purchase uniforms, gear, etc. Is this the same place we buy our text books? I would love to get into the EMT book as soon as possible. I hear it that part of the academy moves fast.

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    Default Warning Magor Rant

    Quote Originally Posted by PineyPower View Post

    We didn't have an physical training because I'm a volunteer and attended a volunteer fire academy. We're not required to do the physical workouts that career departments require. We just do book work, lectures, and hands on training for the most part. Now, if you can't do the duties, obviously you're going to fail out of any academy, but we don't train like career academies do.
    WTF????? No physical training, because your volunteer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Who's bright idea was this? I hope he has some deep pockets, because some lawyer is going to have him for lunch in court.
    Does the fire give a dam if you are not career???
    Do you realize that volunteer firefighters as well as career die of heart attacks every year???????
    Why don't you train like career academies???
    For your info Fire is an inanamite object and has no feelings, it does not distinguish between career,paid on call,volunteer or civilian.
    The statistics can be found on NIOSH reports or go to www.Closecalls.com

  8. #8
    Piney Power PineyPower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kjohn23 View Post
    WTF????? No physical training, because your volunteer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Who's bright idea was this? I hope he has some deep pockets, because some lawyer is going to have him for lunch in court.
    Does the fire give a dam if you are not career???
    Do you realize that volunteer firefighters as well as career die of heart attacks every year???????
    Why don't you train like career academies???
    For your info Fire is an inanamite object and has no feelings, it does not distinguish between career,paid on call,volunteer or civilian.
    The statistics can be found on NIOSH reports or go to www.Closecalls.com
    Yeah, well, that's how our fire academy is. I'm not sure if it's just an isolated issue or if every volunteer fire academy excludes physical training. Not every volunteer firefighter is out of shape and unfit, though. There are firefighters, like myself, who stay in decent shape, try to eat healthy, and do physical activities a few days a week to stay healthy and fit and to be able to perform all of the tasks of a firefighter.
    Pinewald Pioneer Vol. Fire Co. No. 1 Sta. 20
    "Piney Power"

    Berkeley Emergency Response Team (B.E.R.T./Haz-Mat/WMD/CBRNE) Station 85
    Berkeley Township, New Jersey 08721

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    Quote Originally Posted by lukequintin View Post

    How soon after you make an offical list can you start to purchase uniforms, gear, etc. Is this the same place we buy our text books? I would love to get into the EMT book as soon as possible. I hear it that part of the academy moves fast.
    This information will change from academy to academy, so my advice is to ask your program coordinator or instructors.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lukequintin View Post
    mdtaylor, thanks for your opinion. My question was strickly about running and running alone. I understand how important it is to work together and follow the plan in order to accomplish a common goal.
    You will hear the term 'freelancing' quite a bit in your studies, and you have apparently heard it before as you have applied the traditional definition and assumed I was talking about freelancing as it applies to firefighting. In this case I used the term to describe someone running ahead of the pack on his own and not running with the group.

    Running with the group would keep you with the others, at the pace of the slowest runner. Perhaps as an inspiration to him. Perhaps to simply run at the pace everyone else is to keep your crew bonded together.

    All throughout your training AND your career your success will rest on your ability to work as a group. As part of a crew. Not as an individual.

    See where I was coming from? Think about it....

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    Gotcha, thanks for the explanation. Please continue to share your thoughts as I am all ears.

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    Run with the group. If theres a time for you to shine personally (and in my experience there usually is something during the academy that will allow you to do this) then take advantage of it. IMHO I would just try to push yourself no matter what you are doing, you should be competing against yourself to get better, don't look at all your classmates as competition, even though it might seem that way.

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    You need to get a feel for how your PT involving running is. If it seems like they want you to stay in a group, you should pick up on it and you should do it.If it seems like they want you all to "race", then don't hold back.

    If you are going to be out in front, don't do it for the first half then start walking. You'll look like an idiot, keep a pace you can handle for the whole run.

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    Thanks guys. Catscratch, thats exactly the additude that I have when I workout or run. Me against me. With the idea that todays "me" must achieve more than yesterdays "me". I go to the track with my wife and as much as I want to run with her after about two laps I'm ready to open it up. I get a light sweat going and I'm ready to push myself. I completely understand what you guys are saying and agree that staying with my "boys" is probally the best approach. I will read the situation, and like nameless said, see what is wanted by the PT instructor.

    Any personal stories about the academy you guys want to share about things that were difficult or awesome for that matter?

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    Quote Originally Posted by PineyPower View Post
    Yeah, well, that's how our fire academy is. I'm not sure if it's just an isolated issue or if every volunteer fire academy excludes physical training. Not every volunteer firefighter is out of shape and unfit, though. There are firefighters, like myself, who stay in decent shape, try to eat healthy, and do physical activities a few days a week to stay healthy and fit and to be able to perform all of the tasks of a firefighter.
    i can tell you that not every voulunteer academy is pt free. I have been thru two one was a volunteer that i had to move away from home and live at and was probably much harder physically then the career academy i went to. They were both great instruction wise, but pt wise the volunteer one was on point.

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    Default Me too!

    I'm about to start the academy but I won't be doing the EMT portion becasue I am already an Intermediate, but I have NO knowledge of firefighting. How difficult is the classroom portion of fire studies? I used to think "If I can learn the phases of cardiac action potential and their electrolyte movements then fire will be a breeze" but I don't want to underestimate at all. How should I structure my family life around my studies? What can I expect academically?

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    Lukequintin,

    I just went through the academy that you are trying to get into...give me your email and we can talk, and Maybe I can answer your questions...
    Last edited by whiplash; 07-08-2008 at 12:05 PM.

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    Hey whiplash, turn on your PM and I'll give you my email. Just finished up my med, psych and drug test today and I have a few questions for you...

    Thanks for your help.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RankinCE View Post
    I'm about to start the academy but I won't be doing the EMT portion becasue I am already an Intermediate, but I have NO knowledge of firefighting. How difficult is the classroom portion of fire studies? I used to think "If I can learn the phases of cardiac action potential and their electrolyte movements then fire will be a breeze" but I don't want to underestimate at all. How should I structure my family life around my studies? What can I expect academically?

    Study, study, study. It's just like getting your medic, or intermediate. There is a lot to learn, in a little bit of time.

    The material itself isn't that bad. However, you will only get out of it the effort you put into it. Things like pump operations, will screw you up if you don't study and learn your formulas, and differences in lines, pump size, and all of that. Like getting your intermediate though, if you study, ask questions, and don't let yourself get behind, you should be fine.

    As far as structuring your family life and all that, only you will be able to answer that question. Some people breeze through classroom work, and don't need to study very much. SOme people need to devote hours and hours per day to studying. You have to go with what will work for you.

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    Its on..I will see how much help I can be...haha

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