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Thread: Most challening and most rewarding thing about fire academy?

  1. #1
    Forum Member

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    Apr 2011

    Default Most challening and most rewarding thing about fire academy?

    I will be enrolling into fire training academy soon and I am quite excited. Just wondering from you all what you feel was the most challenging aspect of academy and what was the best or most rewarding aspect of academy. Be as candid as you want. Thanks

  2. #2
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2007


    I can't imagine that a college fire academy would even hold a candle next to an actual paid fire dept set up, but I'll pass on what i know, was i'm currently in one for a big city:

    1. You learn a lot about yourself. You learn what you can and cannot do physically, and mentally

    2. It's hard, really freaking hard. Your job and your livelihood (well, not in your case) depend on you doing very, very well. That hangs on you.

    3. You learn to both love and hate some of the folks you work with. I'd say about 98% of the folks in the group are phenomenal, but the other 2% make me wonder how the heck they got here.

    4. Nothing in and of itself is challenging, but added up, it starts to wear away at you.

    5. You are going to have a bad day. Heck, sometimes you may even have a bad week. Don't let it kill you.
    ColoradoDave likes this.

  3. #3
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Nov 2009


    1 start preparing today physically and mentally for the a academy

    2 decide today you will give 150 % from now till after graduation

    Read the post of the one let go because of academics

    Stay out of any trouble

    Also learn from your mistakes and do not repeat them
    Last edited by fire49; 11-16-2012 at 08:34 PM.

  4. #4
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    Mar 2010


    Hey Ladder,

    I've been through three fire academies. The first one I paid a lot of money for to train myself, and the other two were for different fire departments I joined within the last few years.

    The first one was very expensive and I learned a lot. It was located in a technical college and was also used as a training ground for many of the local fire departments including the larger cities. It was set up in a way that really taught me the value the chain of command and traditions of the fire service. Although there were things about it I did not appreciate, they were small in the grand scheme of things and I got a great foundation for my career. When I look back at it, I realize that they were only touching the tip of the iceberg, and I don't think any academy can really touch on anything other than that. It'll be up to you to swim deeper.

    The other two I took were in Colorado. One was for a smaller more reserve ff staffed department and the other has more career ff than reserves. The smaller one focused on teaching skills as per state requirements intermingled with how things are actually done on the fireground (more practical if you will). I gleaned tons of new knowledge because we used real cars and structures. My first academy used engineered burn buildings and gas props, so things were less predictable and I got a better picture of fire behavior and chaos with the protection of safety lines and officers. It was pretty sweet.

    My third and latest academy I just finished. Going in, we were required to have all our certs in place and have all of our CPAT testing already done as a requirement to even apply. This one was designed to teach us (reserves) how to work on the fireground with the career firefighters as the fourth on an engine crew. We were trained to the same standards as the paid guys and a respected as such, which is really freakin' awesome and motivating. The focus was on proper technique more than anything else and how to do more with less.... IE less people... hose management, placement, how to coordinate attack and truck companies, outside truck ops. This is where all the stuff I learned in previous academies really started coming together. There is a ****-ton of stuff that needs to be done in a very small window of time before the proverbial **** hits the fan; most of which is done via muscle memory and situational awareness.

    I couldn't agree more with everything the fellas above have said. Throughout it all I realized something about myself. I was actually a hard worker.... I was always excited about learning, even when it was something I thought I already knew how to do because A.) I got to practice it one more time, and B.) If I didn't know it... one more tool for the toolbox! I also realized that that you can be a leader in any position that you are put in. You don't have to be the class/squad/or whatever leader to make an impact in your organization. People will watch you work hard and sweat and bleed and they will appreciate you. You can inspire people by grunting and pushing through your pain. They will want to help you and make you better. They will want to follow your example, because if they want to be the best, they will want to try to beat you. They will also want to be next to you and have you on their crew because they know you bust your ***.

    Lastly, I learned in all of these that I will always mess up, and feel really guilty about it. It will happen if you're passionate about something. You will never reach perfection, but you can get closer to it by knowing your weaknesses. I was throwing 14 foot roof ladders no problem, and realized that throwing a 16 is another ball game because of the center of gravity, even though it doesn't weight that much more.

    Always work on the now, but know and plan for your next step so you are always moving forward. This is what will keep you motivated through all the hardships. Also if this becomes something you are entirely passionate about, don't let it consume you, because it will do just that. People have sacrificed relationships with people, marriages, etc... You are not whole without the other things that make you who you are. If you can't keep your outside life together, it will take a toll on your ability to be a great firefighter. So keep all those things in order as well.

    This journey should be about becoming as great a person as you can possibly be, not just a firefighter.
    ColoradoDave and malder like this.

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