1. #1
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    Default Is online fire school that bad?

    So i here a lot of people make fun of online fire schools, are they that bad? I need to choose between going to an 8-5 m-f fire school or go the online route where I could continue to work. Secondly does it matter when you apply for a position in a dept. Do they look down on online vs in class. I am looking at a 12 week self paced program with 12 straight days of hands on work. Its the same class work and same skills labs so why would i spend all of that time when I could do it faster at my pace. Thanks in advance also I ilive in Dallas TX if that helps any.

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    I have no experience with online academies, but as a graduate of a 10 week city academy, I can tell you that we had a great deal of time for practical, skill-set evolutions, which you may not get in a 12-day "crash course." I'm a believer in hands-on training. You may know the textbook standards and practices of throwing a ladder, for example, but until you've done it dozens of times, your ability to perform the task on scene will be sketchy, at best.

    Plus, there are some tips and tricks your instructors are going to be able to teach you in a traditional academy that you won't learn online, because they won't help you pass the written tests.

    Just my opinion.

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    Attending an "on line fire academy" is like playing Microsoft's Flight Simulator.

    One might start on a Cessna 150 and advance to a Gulfstream V on the computer, but if one gets into the ****pit of a real Cessna and expects to fly it.. one is in for a very rude awakening.


    One needs to do real evolutions and build on the basics before one can go into the burn building.. one you cannot do that on a computer.... the Holodeck from Star Trek is still 3 centuries away from being invented.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
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    I think it's completely irresponsible for anyone to even offer an online class.

    .
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

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    Truth be told...I did both. I did the "classroom" style, 6 week, full time academy (240 hrs) in Ohio and then I did the "online" style class for when I applied for jobs in Texas.

    Alot of guys here look down on it, but very few have tried it or even know someone who has. They both have their good and bad points. Feel free to PM me and I'd be happy to discuss it more in depth, or I can e-mail you.

    Like I said, there's pros / cons to both the classroomstyle and online style. You gotta pick what's better for you. I personally liked the online style better. And yes, I did get hired on a FT dept in Texas. The hiring board actually was pretty impressed with the online curriculum, so much that they are also using it to send some of the guys on the dept. for their various certifications.

    Take care,
    Pete

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    I agree with the poster above. I have done both the online and a 7 month long academy for a top 5 city fire department.

    What others are saying about repetition and muscle memory as it comes to practical skills is true. The more the better. However, I'm of the persuasion that the online is sufficient to basic competency and then you learn real proficiency on the job.

    I think that a "real" academy is basically superior only in that it gets you in good shape.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vegas0012 View Post
    However, I'm of the persuasion that the online is sufficient to basic competency and then you learn real proficiency on the job.
    Yeah, I meant to mention that too, but I didn't want to distract the OP. I agree, you learn "real" firefighting once you get hired. The academy, whether online or classroom, simply gets you familiar with the trade and gets you certified. Nobody comes out of academy a "true professional".

    Well said Vegas.
    Pete

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    Quote Originally Posted by vegas0012 View Post
    I think that a "real" academy is basically superior only in that it gets you in good shape.

    ...and teaches teamwork, pride, professionalism, being on time, being responsible to your squad mates, how to co-exist with people you may not have a lot in common with/like, allows for repeated repititions to teach basic tactics that might save your life...

    You're right. It is "only" good for getting you in shape.
    Co 11
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    'The fire went out and nobody got hurt' is a poor excuse for a fireground critique.

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    I think the online option is fine, if it fits into your learning style. There are good and bad to both. . .If you can afford to not work and go to the traditional school I would. To get hired in Texas you pretty much have to be certified, so if the online option is your only choice due to your personal circumstance, I would go for it.

    Screw everybody on here, myself included, you do what is best for YOU. The departments hiring want you to have the TCFP cert, and the online class will get it for you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DocVBFDE14 View Post
    ...and teaches teamwork, pride, professionalism, being on time, being responsible to your squad mates, how to co-exist with people you may not have a lot in common with/like, allows for repeated repititions to teach basic tactics that might save your life...

    You're right. It is "only" good for getting you in shape.
    I think you need to know those things before you into a 'real' academy. In my experience, you didn't learn being on time at the academy. You either knew it or were let go the 2nd or 3rd time you were late without a very extenuating circumstance.

    My parents taught me responsibility not the fire academy.

    But I will give you that muscle memory and repetition are very desirable things. My personal experience was that I volunteered for almost 5 years before I did the online academy, and it was mostly just documenting what I had already learned. That's not to say I didn't learn anything, but that most of it was a rehashing of sorts.

    P.S. You don't have to get worked up because I have a different opinion. Cheers.

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    Question Why, Why,why???...........

    I'm Sorry, but I must have led a sheltered life. Why is anyone looking for ANY kind of "Training" if they are not a member of a Fire Department?? Here, There are two absolutes - 1. If you are hired by, or join as a Volunteer, ANY Fire Department, it is the Department's responsibility to get you trained. Period. 2. You MUST be a member of a Fire Department to be enrolled in a Fire Training Class. Period............... No Ticket, No Laundry.

    And, If you come here from somewhere else, Your Training is only as good as it relates to National Pro Board Certification.
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    I'm Sorry, but I must have led a sheltered life. Why is anyone looking for ANY kind of "Training" if they are not a member of a Fire Department?? Here, There are two absolutes - 1. If you are hired by, or join as a Volunteer, ANY Fire Department, it is the Department's responsibility to get you trained. Period. 2. You MUST be a member of a Fire Department to be enrolled in a Fire Training Class. Period............... No Ticket, No Laundry.

    I'm a little confused here too.

    I beleive the OP is talking about going to fire school as a civilian or taking a FF1/FFII curriculum via computer. That is much different than comparing a fire department based academy v. a computer/online curriculum.

    Somehow the idea of paying cash money out of pocket to go to a fire school when more than likely any descent sized department is going to send you to an academy after you are hired ... well makes no sense to me.

    Maybe I just don't get it either.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DocVBFDE14 View Post
    ...and teaches teamwork, pride, professionalism, being on time, being responsible to your squad mates, how to co-exist with people you may not have a lot in common with/like, allows for repeated repititions to teach basic tactics that might save your life...

    You're right. It is "only" good for getting you in shape.
    Well said. I am a firm believer in on site/hands on academies (not because I run them though!) Co-habitational skills is not something you will learn on line. Being responsible is something that must be demonstrated and proven.

    Just because you can pass a test does not mean you're not a goofball.

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    I can see them being very handy for depts vol or career a long ways from an academy ot training center. I got all mine in the fire service the old fashioned way, but in my second career I've done quite a few university level courses online and find them quite good. Nothing will ever replace hands on, day to day experience, but the theories and knowledge can be easily learned online, sometimes better than in a classroom.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BryanLoader View Post
    I can see them being very handy for depts vol or career a long ways from an academy ot training center. I got all mine in the fire service the old fashioned way, but in my second career I've done quite a few university level courses online and find them quite good. Nothing will ever replace hands on, day to day experience, but the theories and knowledge can be easily learned online, sometimes better than in a classroom.
    Advanced/higher education degrees is, in my opinion, perfectly suited for on-line courses. It is great way to learn and advance further in your career as needed once hired. I believe that the trend is leaning towards the initial FFI or FFII training being completed on-line in order suit more people and to meet minimum qualifications in order to get hired. I completely disagree with this for initial training and have a hard time believing that the NFPA 1001 standards are met under this format.

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    I can't pass any judgement on what some depts may be doing, but I can see online training helping depts that may not be able to afford to send FF to distant training facilities. My son graduated a large city dept fire academy a year ago in April and, although they did regular classroom programs, the class had access and used an online system as well for homework and study. It seemed to work well for them. He is enrolled in EMT-P now and he does a lot of online study along with the curriculum being classroom taught. There probably will come a day when a lot more theoretical and knowledge courses are taught this way. Its simply more cost effective as well as time effective. Nothing will replace hands on training but then thats not what online study is meant to do.

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    The future of education goes directly thru the online option. It's cheap, it's simple to understand and provides excellent education thru the tests and quizzes.

    As far as the social skills required to be a good FF, it has nothing to do with the academy. You either have it or you don't. The firehouse will teach you what is and isn't acceptable, not the academy.

    Also, with the online academy, you go to a "bootcamp" for 2 weeks. I know that doesn't sound like very long, but when you're bunking together, eating together and working together for those 2 weeks, you definately learn teamwork and what it means to get along (to a degree).

    I really enjoyed the online experience. I couldn't have become a FF without it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Somehow the idea of paying cash money out of pocket to go to a fire school when more than likely any descent sized department is going to send you to an academy after you are hired ... well makes no sense to me.

    Maybe I just don't get it either.
    I live in North Carolina, so I'm not completely sure how Texas works, but I'm under the impression that most, if not all departments require you to be certified to a certain level (FFI/II and EMT) prior to applying, even though many will send you to their own academy as well. Florida has similar requirements.

    Texas guys, is this right?

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    Default Hiring in Texas

    There is not one way and one way only in Texas. Some departments do require you to have Basic Structural Firefighter Certification from the Texas Commission on Fire Protection before they will even consider hiring you. Some departments will hire you and then send you to their academy whether you are all ready certified or not. In Texas you can be hired without any certification. However, if that is the case your department has one year to get you certified. During that year you are not allowed to operate as a firefighter. You go to the academy.

    Most, but not all, of the departments in Texas also will require you to be certified as at least an EMT-Basic by the Texas Department of State Health Services prior to being hired. A lot of departments have started requiring Paramedic certification. Many ways to do it it Texas.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hwoods View Post
    I'm Sorry, but I must have led a sheltered life. Why is anyone looking for ANY kind of "Training" if they are not a member of a Fire Department?? Here, There are two absolutes - 1. If you are hired by, or join as a Volunteer, ANY Fire Department, it is the Department's responsibility to get you trained. Period. 2. You MUST be a member of a Fire Department to be enrolled in a Fire Training Class. Period............... No Ticket, No Laundry.

    And, If you come here from somewhere else, Your Training is only as good as it relates to National Pro Board Certification.
    Maybe it's a midwest thing, but the majority of career departments in my area require you to already have IFSAC FF I and II and EMT prior to being hired.

    There's a number of colleges that offer FF I and II, as well as a number of departments. Some of the applicants get it while they were on a vollie department, some have never seen the inside of a fire truck beyond a PR event.

    The problem with a lot of departments is the high cost of FF I and II. The lowest priced class I've seen around here is $250. Most are part of a college associates degree program and it costs $800+. That's quite a bit of money for a vollie department with a budget of $20K or less to fork out to train their guys, or for a guy to fork out on his own.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hwoods View Post
    I'm Sorry, but I must have led a sheltered life. Why is anyone looking for ANY kind of "Training" if they are not a member of a Fire Department?? Here, There are two absolutes - 1. If you are hired by, or join as a Volunteer, ANY Fire Department, it is the Department's responsibility to get you trained. Period. 2. You MUST be a member of a Fire Department to be enrolled in a Fire Training Class. Period............... No Ticket, No Laundry.

    And, If you come here from somewhere else, Your Training is only as good as it relates to National Pro Board Certification.


    The only dept I know of in Florida that hires non-certified firefighters is Miami Dade County, even certified firefighters have to go through their academy. Here you must go through the academy and at least EMT on your own dime in order to even apply, and there is no sure chance that you will even get a job. We have thousands of certified ff's looking for jobs here. Every once in a blue moon a dept will hire a medic and send them to the fire academy, but it has been years since I have heard of that happening. Welcome to Florida!
    If your going to cry about doing the job you signed up for do us all a favor and quit, there are plenty of dedicated people standing in line for the best job in the world.

    Firefighter/Paramedic

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo View Post
    Attending an "on line fire academy" is like playing Microsoft's Flight Simulator.

    One might start on a Cessna 150 and advance to a Gulfstream V on the computer, but if one gets into the ****pit of a real Cessna and expects to fly it.. one is in for a very rude awakening.


    One needs to do real evolutions and build on the basics before one can go into the burn building.. one you cannot do that on a computer.... the Holodeck from Star Trek is still 3 centuries away from being invented.
    Uh, hate to mention this but your reference is VERY flawed. MS Flight sim was how many of the "pilots" involved in 9-11 learned how to fly..... It is also how many airlines train pilots for different ratings.

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    I recently completed and attended Fire Academy Online in Houston Tx. This was after 34 years of firefighting and various training classes over the years.

    After all the talk and comments on forums and chat rooms I wanted to see for myself what the process was and what was actually taught during the 2 plus weeks of hands on training as well as the internet portion. Also to evaluate if we would send candidates to this Academy.

    The class work started about 16 weeks before the hands on session. Online modules that presented in detail the Essentials of Firefighting as well as HAZMAT Awareness and Operations. The online modules utilized various types of presentations to support the study/reading of each chapter in the current publications. At the end of each module a test was taken. Your results and average recorded. This was a significant amount of work to complete prior to attending the hands on portion. A student cannot skim by this part of the course or get behind. You cannot catch up with the work the last week if you get behind.

    The hands on session was fast paced and sequential in skill building. Each day added new skills and built on the previous day(s). Your partner and the class come together very quickly. For example the first day is PPE and SCBA. Beginning with the basics of operation to Donning and Doffing. Then on to confidence maze and survival and escape techniques. Everyday following you would wear SCBA.

    The knowledge and skill building continued everyday to include Ladders, Hoses, Vent operations, Search and Rescue, Fire Suppression, and Multiple live burn evolutions.

    The instructors are all current or past members of the Houston FD. These instructors do not waste your time. They teach real techniques to people to really want to learn. The instructors were very tough, demanding and professional.

    There is little or no sitting around on any day. Everyday could bring another written test or a skill test review. You must maintain a 75 average on all the written tests in order to be allowed to take the Texas State Test at the end of the course. 250 plus skills are taught, reviewed and tested. (The HAZMAT written test alone was over 500 questions) I understand the Texas State Test is one of the most difficult tests to pass. Passing the Texas practical and written tests following the Academy gives the student FF1&2, HAZMAT Awareness and Ops Certification. You can also apply for your IFSAC seals as well.

    I was very surprised how tough (but fair) this course was. The hands on session was without a doubt the toughest training I have taken; including my time in the Army years ago. There is no skating by at this Academy. The live fire evolutions were excellent and were the most realistic evolutions I have participated in as a fire fighter.

    This training is an excellent foundation for a new fire fighter. As we all know training is continuous for both volunteer and career departments once they are on the job.

    "Online" makes this program sound easy. It wasn't. Feel free to contact me offline if you would like any additional information.

    John Yonkin
    Assistant Fire Chief
    Dushore Pa.

    jyonkin@epix.net

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    Excellent post, Chief. I agree 100%, but your experience carries alot more credibility than mine. Glad you felt it was a good experience.

    Pete

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    Quote Originally Posted by hwoods View Post
    I'm Sorry, but I must have led a sheltered life. Why is anyone looking for ANY kind of "Training" if they are not a member of a Fire Department?? Here, There are two absolutes - 1. If you are hired by, or join as a Volunteer, ANY Fire Department, it is the Department's responsibility to get you trained. Period. 2. You MUST be a member of a Fire Department to be enrolled in a Fire Training Class. Period............... No Ticket, No Laundry.

    And, If you come here from somewhere else, Your Training is only as good as it relates to National Pro Board Certification.
    The Dallas/Ft. Worth area has roughly 20 cities in it and prob 6 don't require any certs. Everybody else requires min ff/emt and some ff/medic before you can even fill out an application.

    Edited for spelling.

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