I thought I would offer some of my thoughts on my experience at the Illinois Fire Service Institutes's Fire College. This was my first time attending a IFSI event at the Champaign facility. As a matter of background, I am a Firefighter / EMT, with approximately five years on a active (~600 calls) department in Illinois.
I attended all four days, Thursday through Sunday. I was able to register about a week after registration opened and managed to get both of the classes that I wanted. I checked for some time after I got my registration in, and to my observation, it did not appear too many classes filled up to the point of a waiting list. If you want a specific class, you need to register early, but it didn't appear everyone was sitting at their computer on April 5th ready to fight it out.
The first course I attended was Core Competencies. This course is designed for the new firefighter, and focuses heavily on the psycho-motor skills. It should not be confused with the New Recruit course, which is a four day course and is designed for the -really- new firefighter. Despite my experience, I thought it would be nice to take a back-to-basics course. I was not displeased with my choice. Students are divided into groups, and you will not be placed with people you know (generally). This is to simulate mutual aid and the idea that we should all be trained to operate the same way. Thursday afternoon consisted primarily of SCBA drills and the SCBA maze. I learned several new tricks with SCBA, and going through the maze was a lot of fun. Friday consisted of rotating stations, including: Hose lays/rolls, ventilation with manual and power tools, roof ladder operations. We did several evolutions (4?) in the tower Friday afternoon, utilizing the stand pipe connection, 2 1/2” hose, and 1 3/4” hose. This was an excellent course in my opinion for any firefighter, regardless of experience. IFSI may promote it as designed for the new firefighter, and it certainly is, but I believe any participant would gain knowledge by attending.
The second course I attended was Coordinated Fireground Operations. This course is designed for the experienced firefighter who has at least 10 live fires or training burns. To quote the brochure, “Firefighters must be competent in core fire fighting skills.” My beef with this is that IFSI did not enforce this, and as such, a couple of the groups (including my own) had participants with less then a year on a department. IFSI needs to find a better way to enforce this, or mandate Firefighter II/III for this course. Don't get me wrong, we are all there to learn, but there are different levels of experience, and mixing them up like that for an advanced course wasn't good.
All of the evolutions were at the taxpayer. CFO consisted of 9 different stations (And I will try to remember them all here): Vent-Enter-Search, Strip Truck (Paxton ladder drill), Rescue, 2 1/2” up outside stairs, Up-And-Over (ladder or truck climb, talk about ventilation on the roof), truck/engine/squad coordinated operations, and several others. Many of the stations had forcible entry scenarios, where you had to breach a 4x4 or two 2x4's put together to simulate a door jamb. Let me just say, those 4x4's kicked our butts.
You were able to pick your own groups for the most part, so if you came with someone, you likely could end up in the same crew. We ended up not doing the last evolution due to time/weather, but in the end, everyone got 7 or 8 live burns out of the day.
Overall, I thought Fire College went very, very well. The transportation from the hotels/Assembly hall moved pretty quick, registration was a breeze, and everyone seemed to have a good time. I will definitely be back next year if I can make it.
This deserves it's own paragraph: The instructors were phenomenal. Excellent and very, very knowledgeable. If you don't learn something from these guys, you're brain dead.
Stay safe everyone.
Oh, on a side note, Friday's lunch sucked. Saturday's lunch was alright, but man, unless you were a horse (literally, it was all oats), Friday's lunch just... sucked. Make sure you eat a big breakfast.
Disclaimer: These thoughts are mine, and mine alone, and do not represent my department's official views.
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Thread: 2010 Fire College Review
06-08-2010, 12:45 PM #1
- Join Date
- Dec 2009
2010 Fire College Review
Last edited by FyrnResQ; 06-13-2010 at 08:26 AM.
07-03-2010, 09:48 AM #2
- Join Date
- May 2008
- Central IL
what group were you in for core comp? i was in 6 and thought it was a very good class and sfd the day after reinforced it quite well
07-16-2010, 01:37 AM #3
- Join Date
- Feb 2010
I was also in core comp thurs/fri and single family dwellings sat/sun. I was in group 6 (maybe) for c.c. I agree with everything, the instructors were all first rate, topics were brief but covered well. Really any one of the "stations" in either class could have been expanded to full day classes at least, maybe even two day. I would highly recommend either class to any ff.
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