1. #1
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    Default What to expect in the Academy...

    26 people.

    Thanks
    Last edited by scote3232; 01-29-2006 at 07:20 PM.

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    First of all I would like to give you my congrats. I have worked for a Nationally Accredited Fire Dept. for the past 5 yrs. Where I went through a 20 week academy. I also attended a Academy for 18 week academy two years before my hire here.

    Disclaimer This is what I have experienced. I am not speaking for every dept.

    Preparation for academy

    1. Arrive in physical shape such as able to run at least 3 miles non stop doesn't matter how fast. Some academys run less or more but usually start at a slow pace mile 1.5 and so on.

    2. Don't show up with a attitude.

    3. If you have friends working for the dept. you have been hired for try not to dicuss how hard or easy the academy is. Since they may jokingly tell the training officers that they either heard the academy was easy or hard and then the training officers will only make it harder on you. They are your friends but you must understand you will be joining a family and it is like having a older brother or sister who will like to mess with you.

    During Academy

    1. You will be joining a paramilitary organization so get used to speak only when spoken to.

    2. As far as PT, during the begining they will start you off pretty slow and by week 3 till the end you will be expected to pick up the pace. IF you have been in the military it will be similar to boot camp could be easier or harder.

    3. If you have gone to college the book work is a bit easier if you are familiar with F/F

    4. Some academies have gone to a be nice approach where you will be treated quite well. Others will be old school where they will follow a strict paramilitary approach.

    To make it easier on both of us let me know if you have any specific questions, since i could stay here and go on about academy life for awhile.

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    I read that you what to give it your all and try to finish first. It is very commendable that you want to do that. But, remember you are joining a team oriented career. And you will be working with all 26 of these cadets for the rest of your career. So share your knowledge with them and work as a team. Since the cadet that finishes last may some day need to save your life.

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    First of all, welcome the the best job in the world.

    I work support for the Massachusetts Fire Acdemy Recruit Program, and have seen many kinds of students go through. Some you look at at you say "they will be excellent firefighters and officers" and others...well, you just shake your head and thank God they don't work with you!

    trsgreg gave you some excellent advice..here is some more...

    You will get out of the Academy what you put into it.

    Pay attention to lectures and demonstrations!
    Some of the lectures will be as boring as all hell... others will have you on the edge of your seat. If you have any questions about doing evolutions, pay close attention when the demonstrations are being given and ask questions if you don't understand something. The time to find out you can't remember what lever to pull or what line to grab is not during the evolution.

    If you make a mistake on an evolution, don't dwell on it. The more you dwell on the error, the more errors you will make... and that can ruin your training day.

    On burn days... you will be entering a hostile environment that has the potential to injure you or worse. They will start you off with small fires. A typical reaction is "this is nothing...give us some real fire!"... don't worry, by the end of the program you will be fighting fires that will have you literally defacating bricks. All of the fires you will see you will encounter in the real world... from the can job to the "big one"...

    You will be starting with 25 individuals with distinct personalities.. you will graduate as a team and a band of brothers/sisters... family.
    Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 02-18-2005 at 04:30 PM.
    ‎"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."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    What he said!

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    I would recommend seeing if you can get one of the fire books early, for reading while you wait to start.

    If possible get on a stairmaster as soon as possible. The cardio training is what will get you through the CPAT and get the most out of training.

    Form study groups the first day and stay atleast a chapter ahead of the class.

    Your instructors are NOT your friends, and they deserve respect. That means address them only by rank, and don't ever use profanity!! Also be dressed with the proper uniform, keep your hands out of your pockets, clean shave, haircut, and keep your shirt tucked in.

  7. #7
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    Default Academy

    Fire Academy

    Just because you passed the physical agility doesn’t mean you are ready for the fire academy. Whether you agree or not, the physical agility has been watered down to be politically correct. Departments know this. So, the training division is going to put you through the wringer to make sure you can do the job before you go on line.

    Showing up at the academy is not the time to start getting ready. You need to be in shape and hit the ground running. I often get calls from candidates asking what do I do now? They have been let go from the academy. It’s tough enough getting a job. Keeping it can be a challenge. If you are let go by one department, it is going to be difficult if not impossible to get another department to take a chance on you.

    “The worst mistake is to have the best ladder at the wrong wall.” Donald Rumsfeld Secretary of Defense, USA

    It’s not just the physical part. You have to pass every segment of the academy including the final test to demonstrate you can function in the field. It’s not uncommon to have a group of candidates let go in the final two weeks of the academy because they can’t master ladder throws, repel or operate the equipment. More than one candidate has been let go because they couldn’t start the chain saw, operate the jaws or struggled on the drill ground in the final test.

    Nothing will **** of the training staff more than you telling them a better way to do something. How you did it in your FF1 academy, reserve or other department. The only task you need to focus on is how they do it in this department. Training divisions are their own kingdoms. This is not a democracy! You have no time or opinion.
    It is devastating to be let go, especially if you have already been through a college fire academy. You have been dropped as your classmates are getting dressed up in their class A uniforms (about the only time they will ever wear it, except for funerals) heading for their badge ceremony.

    It starts with instructors from the academy taking you aside and pointing out the problems you are having. If you don’t improve, they will meet you again with other members of the training staff and document the meeting. The writing is on the wall if things don’t improve. Candidates that get to this point start to panic. This can affect their other skills. Things they already know and have mastered become difficult. Instead of dropping back and taking a different mindset, they start to panic and withdraw. Too many candidates in this situation would rather go below and fall on their sword before they will ask for help. This is the time to ask for help, extra training, and check in with those who have gone before them. I usually get the call after they have taken the option to resign instead of being fired. My first question is why didn’t you call me earlier? Well, I didn’t think it was that bad.

    Here are some of the incidents where candidates were let go:

    A candidate shows up at an academy overweight even though he knows they will run 3 miles a day, he can’t. Result. They run him into the ground the first week.

    Another candidate is given an order to get a Philips screwdriver from the toolbox. After several minutes at the toolbox, he admits he doesn’t know what a Philips screwdriver is. Hard to believe. Oh, I forgot, they have dropped the mechanical aptitude from the written and added in psych questions. Result: Lack of mechanical ability cost this candidate a badge.

    Even though this candidate had been through two academies, he starts having trouble with ladder throws. He has done this successfully 100’s of times. But, now he starts doing a mind screw on himself. It gets worse. He is counseled. Then again. Result: Booted from the academy. The good news is we worked with this candidate, regrouped, he got in better shape, worked out a reasonable explanation, accepting the blame, why it happened and would never happen again. He was picked up by another agency and is wearing a badge.

    Another recruit knew he had to lose weight for the academy. He did not reach his goal. His weight caught up with him trying to hump hose up the tower with a SCBA. Result: Got his marching orders because he didn’t have the wind to complete this tough academy. Good news again. Regrouped, lost the weight and convinced a department with an easier academy he would be an asset.

    Trying to come back and rejoin this candidate’s academy too early after a drill tower accident only made the injury worse. When the recruit could not keep up and refused to accept the opportunity to go through the next academy was let go. Another one of those, why didn’t you call me first beauties. Even a lawsuit did not regain a chance at a badge.

    A candidate did call me when he was having problems repelling off the tower. He would get upside down just before the net. A little mind drill exercise corrected the problem.

    You can find more on testing secrets in the Career Article section from the Jobs drop down menu just above this posting.

    "Nothing counts 'til you have the badge . . . Nothing!"

    Fire "Captain Bob" Author, Becoming A Firefighter and
    Conquer Fire Department Oral Boards

    www.eatstress.com
    Last edited by CaptBob; 02-18-2005 at 11:34 PM.

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    Originally posted by KCFireguy
    ......and keep your shirt tucked in.
    Ah, the old Tommy Walker rule. Sorry, that's Chief Walker to you.


    Keep your mind sharp, your body hard and your mouth shut. There's a lot of good advice here. Heed it.



    Nice work CaptainBob.

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    Default Bad Call

    I got a call recently that I wanted to share with all of you looking to be a firefighter. It was one of those calls that are not fun, but I get them from time to time. Someone got let go during probation. Usually it isn’t a person I talked to in the past, but they call me out of desperation.

    This call was typical of the calls I get. They most always start off
    with “I don’t know what happened, everything was going great, and then they fired me”. As I ask questions and dig into it, I find that these guys do know what happened, and in almost all cases it comes down to attitude.

    When I get the call from people I have coached, saying they got the job, I could not be happier for them. But after I congratulate them, I make a point of telling them, “you do not have that job yet until you are done with the academy and off of probation, you could be let go for anything.” We will usually work with a person that is a little slow with the academics and mechanical things. But if we see any kind of attitude problem, you will find yourself out the door before you know it.

    The problem is that we are a para-military organization. Most people in our society are not familiar with how things work in that kind of
    setting. Let me spell it out for those of you who do not know. We are
    the “para”; you are in the “military”. While we do not yell at you like a Marine Corps drill instructor, we expect you to behave like you are a Marine Corps boot.

    Some of the things I have heard that have gotten people in trouble in an academy where: Asking to make a phone call to check on car repairs, having a cell phone ring during a class, falling asleep in class, suggesting they change the plan for the day because it is nicer to run in the morning and so hot in the afternoon, having a friend show up to see what is happening, the recruits going as a group for beer after class in department shirts, and not helping struggling class mates when the opportunity arises.

    If you are in an academy, or on probation, and somebody comes to you
    with criticism here is how you are to handle it. You stand at parade
    rest, legs slightly apart and hands behind your back. You keep you ears open and your mouth closed. If they do not ask you for an explanation, do not give them an excuse, you will sound defensive and you will make that person upset. It is sufficient to say, “I am sorry, it will never happen again. Thank you for taking the time to point that out to me.”

    Think of all criticism as being constructive. It may not always be
    delivered to you in a nice manner, but that is life.

    In every one of the cases I have heard of, they all have one thing in
    common. At some point, during training or probation, that person was
    identified as a problem, sometimes of no fault of his or her own. But
    once you are on the radar, the microscope comes out, and they are
    watching you. It is a huge up hill battle to even stay in the game at
    this point. The term I have heard from almost all of them is, “… and
    after that happened, it seemed like I could not do anything right”.

    The training academy and probation are a stressful time. It is also a
    time that most of us look back upon with fond memories. Make the most
    of the chance, if you get it, because you probably will not get a second one. Keep your attitude a positive one, and solicit constructive criticism when you can. Keep ahead of the game. Be the first to start cleaning up, and then ask if there is anything else you can do. Call people sir and mam, kiss every *** you see, and know you are not in,until you are in. But once you are in, you are in for life, and that is pretty special.

    ROB
    Last edited by CaptBob; 02-19-2005 at 07:28 AM.

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    another Academy thought or three...

    Eat a healthy breakfast, but don't make it something like the Denny's grand slam/slam dunk mega huge breakfast... puking during PT isn't fun. The same goes for lunch, too, especially on burn days. Never eat more than your mask will hold! Just kidding... but you don't want to puke when you are wailing a fire with a deuce and a half...

    Keep yourself hydrated. You will be able to tell if you are getting dehydrated by the headache you'll get or when you notice that your urine is a lovely shade of orange...

    Never pass up an opportunity to use the head/latrine/restroom!
    ‎"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."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    Originally posted by jerrygarcia


    Ah, the old Tommy Walker rule. Sorry, that's Chief Walker to you.


    Keep your mind sharp, your body hard and your mouth shut. There's a lot of good advice here. Heed it.



    Nice work CaptainBob.
    It's a good rule.
    Look professional and train professional.

    Did I say stairmaster, uhh incase I didn't
    STAIRMASTER!!!!!
    STAIRMASTER!!!!!
    STAIRMASTER!!!!!
    STAIRMASTER!!!!!

    Also I think a personal goal to be best out of 26 is not all bad. However, being the leader of 26 is better and with that comes more work.

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    Wink

    ..........
    Last edited by StLRes2cue; 11-16-2005 at 09:34 PM.

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    Thanks everyone...great posts and great information...
    Last edited by scote3232; 01-29-2006 at 07:21 PM.

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    I volunteer while i'm going through EMT school, working 3 nights at my local hospital, and i'm married. The point.... you need to be organized, have the passion, and MAKE TIME to stay fit. It is easy to become overwhelmed and it can creep up on you in a hurry.

    I myself start Fire Academy in June. The most piece of advice i've heard "RUN and stay hydrated!". I use my Hospital's 3 story parking garage with 8 flights (sp?) of stairs to train. I run with just street clothes but i'm about to incorparate bunker gear w/ 100' of hose on my shoulder. so, it'll be a workout.

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    Thumbs up

    First let me say congratulations on your new career. There are some really good post so I wont beat a dead horse, but I will give you some good advice that I give my rookies when they show up for the first day of work.
    First..you NEVER get in trouble for being early,only late ( the reason most firefighters are fired!).
    Second.. if you're by yourself you probably shouldn't be there!!!!

    stay safe and good luck

    Jack

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    Thumbs up My 2 cents...

    I have posted this several times. Here is is again...

    TORRANCE, CA FIRE DEPARTMENT

    SUCCESSFULLY SURVIVING YOUR RECRUIT TRAINING

    The following guidelines will help you be a successful recruit on the Torrance Fire Department. Many of you have various levels of experience and training which will be valuable to the Torrance Fire Department in the near future. But as a recruit (new employee), your probationary period will be much more pleasant if you can demonstrate patience in displaying your talents and skill until you’ve learned what we want you to know.


    BEHAVIOR GUIDELINES FOR THE TRAINING TOWER

    1. Do ask questions if you do not understand.
    2. Do take every opportunity to help to help one another develop into a team.
    3. The “Double Time Trot” is accepted mode of transportation from one place to another while outdoors.
    4. Tardiness or unexpected absenteeism will not be tolerated in the fire service, period. Better to be a hour early than a minute late.
    5. Arriving for duty unprepared will demonstrate the qualities necessary for a new career elsewhere.
    6. A lack of aggressiveness in manipulative work will shorten your basic training period significantly.
    7. Disregard for safety will get you canned.
    8. Standing with your hands in your pockets will raise questions about your respect for authority and your level of attention.
    9. Profanity and/or spitting on the ground will get you a job with someone else.
    10. If it doesn’t move, clean it. If it does move, address it as “Sir”.
    11. Don’t attempt to socialize with regular members of the department during the basic training period.
    12. Show respect for all co-workers at all times.
    13. Hustle, shine and always look good.

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    Default Then...

    Then after the academy...


    TORRANCE FIRE DEPARTMENT

    RECRUIT (NEW) FIREFIGHTER GUILDLINES


    The fire service is a para-military organization that requires teamwork, discipline, the ability to make decisions and work under pressure. If you do not like the idea of working under authority or have trouble with self discipline and living with rules and living with rules and regulations which restrict your personal freedom, for the sake of public safety, you are in the wrong place!

    As a member of the Torrance Fire Department, you are expected to obey orders, exhibit exceptional personal hygiene, conform to department rules and regulations, respect the chain of command, work well with your peers, have integrity and perform repetitious mental tasks with excellence. At the same time, you should demonstrate the ability to think on your feet, use good independent judgment, be aggressive and display common sense concerning safety for yourself and others.

    We will expect and settle for nothing less than 100% from you at all times…


    GENERAL GUIDELINES

    1. Be aggressive at all times, first to details, last to leave.
    2. If it is dirty, clean it. If it empty- fill it.
    3. If it rings, answer it before anyone else does.
    4. Do not be late to anything.
    5. T.V. will not be watched without permission of the Company Officer.
    6. Use initiative to address work that you see needs completion.
    7. Keep busy! Look for something to do. If you can not find a job, Study.
    8. When an alarm comes in, be the first one on the rig.
    9. Offer your help to anyone doing anything. One person works, we all work.
    10. Respect authority.
    11. Know your job and duties and know them well.
    12. Keep a low profile. Keep your opinions to yourself.
    13. Assist in and around the kitchen, even if you’re not assigned there.
    14. Remember…The reputation you establish now will follow you forever.

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    Some advice a high school teacher shared that has always stuck with me;

    "If your early, you're on time. If you're on time, you're late!!"




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    9. Profanity and/or spitting on the ground will get you a job with someone else.

    so does that mean you can gurantee job security?

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    Default Ummm...

    Originally posted by Maverick9110E
    so does that mean you can gurantee job security?
    Ummmm....yeah. For someone else.

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    Default Im currently in the academy

    Well, all of the advice these guys are giving is right on.
    I am currently just a few days short of the half way mark of my academy.

    Let me hit some points that I noticed are real important.

    1. Be on time.
    2. SHAVE EVERY MORNING and always look your best.
    3. Ask questions, better to sound dumb then look dumb. Plus, most instructors are more then happy to explain it to you because they may be mean at times but they want you to pass (if you can handle it.)
    4. BE IN SHAPE, i will admit I am not in the top 25% of my class but I give it 110% and never ever quit and they appreciate that.
    5. Never say I can't do it.
    6. Practice stuff before school, after school, during breaks and at home if possible.
    7. STUDY FOR YOUR TESTS.

    Our program was totally differant then I expected i figured id be outside all the time, WRONG, i take way more tests then i could ever imagine, so study and do it with groups helps a lot. I started group studying and my lowest grade yet, a 93%.

    most importantly
    Have fun! Yeah it is hard, you'll sweat alot, you'll spend hours studying, and pretty much dedicate your life to it.

    But if you don't love it now, you never will.


    Have fun.
    Learn alot
    and Be Safe.

    -Ryan

    also, i've noticed if you are a person of prayer, it never hurts to start off every morning with a lil one on one with the man up stairs.

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