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  1. #1
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    Default IFSAC Training Academies

    Hello,

    So next month I'll be taking my first structure classes at the New Mexico Firefighter Training Academy. My question is, of all the IFSAC Academies in the country ( http://www.ifsac.org/Handbook/ACCREDITED_LEVELS.pdf ), are there any that really stand out as the best of the best? I'm signed up in NM because it's convenient, but if I had some time on my hands, are there any Academies that are the Harvard of the fire world, and might be worth the travel to get their training? I've checked out a lot of websites, but I'd appreciate hearing anyone's personal experiences with some IFSAC Academies.

    Cheers.


  2. #2
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    I went to the Ohio Fire Academy when i was 18 which was about 6 years ago. Best experience of my life. Great instructors from Columbus Fire.

  3. #3
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    Hey JPJ, I am looking to do IFSAC at Ohio Fire Academy. I have my firefighter II but want IFSAC, is it that same as the state test and stuff? what is the practical skills like?

  4. #4
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    Certifications are ultimately a revenue stream for states, and a box to check for SOME departments which require prior experience (usually rural jurisdictions).

    Many urban fire departments require very little in regards to prior experience. They way they look at it, the less experience...the less bad habits to fix during their in-house drill schools.

    As much as we would all wish, they mean little. The ability to positively demonstrate your character during the hiring process and recruit academy are significantly more important.

    Any knob can get a certification...and plenty of them do. There are several well reputed academies in my state (WA), and even THEY ram unqualified candidates through to graduation (I have MANY examples), only to wash out when it matters (in a career probationary period) later on.

    In fact, as an additional anecdotal example...in my state, one of the best academies around is put on by a small, one station volunteer department that doesn't require any tuition whatsoever:

    http://getchellfire.com/

    As it pertains to the hiring process, your character and life experience are much more important than an IFSAC cert. An EMT-B/EMT-P certificate is much more valuable.

    I'm not saying you shouldn't go through a state academy; it is a valuable experience that should, at a minimum, reduce jitters in later academies when your probation is on the line, and help you determine whether the fire service is an appropriate career choice. I would just suggest having a realistic expectation on how it could benefit your career prospects.

    If I were in anyone else's shoes and eager to attend an IFSAC academy, I'd save my money and stay in state. Opinions on the quality of a school are subjective at best, especially en lieu of the fact there is only so much realism you can inject with the use of burning pallets and plumbed burn buildings.

    Also, there is a very good chance you will be going through academy again if you get hired.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited by powerhourcoug; 12-20-2011 at 09:12 PM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by doubled8206 View Post
    Hey JPJ, I am looking to do IFSAC at Ohio Fire Academy. I have my firefighter II but want IFSAC, is it that same as the state test and stuff? what is the practical skills like?
    I believe its the same as any state test. The practical skills that i can remember are running pumps, knots (hoisting) , hose handling, search and rescue, ladder raising and climbing, rafter walking, zero visibility confined space removal of scba. Things like that, not too hard or anything but they don't just let anyone pass. A matter of fact i had one person in mine fail out just because of the physical i believe the dummy drag after the search and rescue was what got him. Im not very big 6ft 170 and it was hard don't get me wrong but i got it done. This individual was 5'8 maybe 130 so needless to say he was small. Anyways what im saying is i think the OFA does a good job not letting just anyone get by. This person probably shouldn't have been certified as a FF2 at the time. People get better though so hopefully by now this person has went on and passed.

  6. #6
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    Thank you very much for your responses.

    To powerhourcoug,

    I totally understand that angle. Makes a lot of sense. I guess I should have specified my intentions in my original post to make it easier to answer.

    My plan is, and please let me know if you see any flaws, is to get these certs to use to volunteer and maybe eventually get on with a contractor. I am already working for the USFS, but I would like to ease my way into the structure world by utilizing the free time that I have when the wildfire season slows down. While I would love to get on in a city, I realize that it won't be for a few years at the very earliest, so in the mean time I would like to volunteer whenever I have the time. IFSAC was important to me because it would give me the ability to volunteer in different states, should I need to relocate again with the USFS. Also it seems, from the research that I've done, that most of the contractors require IFSAC accredited certifications.

    But then again it does make a lot of sense how I might learn bad habits that would need to be broken. Do you think that my long term goal of working in a city is not compatible with my short term goal of volunteering, even though that I would volunteer simply to help people, not to pad my resume? Thank you for your help, it is very appreciated.

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