I am entering the local community college Fire Academy in August (FF1, FF2, CPAT, EMT-B, Hazmat)..I am working out, I borrowed some books from the library on basic FF techniques, got my BLS card, and am enrolled in paramedic school for after the academy. Question is, what else can I do to prepare for the Academy??
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Thread: Preparing for the Academy
03-08-2007, 05:23 PM #1
Preparing for the Academy
03-08-2007, 10:17 PM #2
- Join Date
- Nov 2005
This should get you started in the right direction.
What to Expect From A Fire Academy
The following was written by an anonymous rookie firefighter shortly after being hired by a major Southern California fire department.
I recently graduated from a tower this past spring/summer where 50 started but only 30 graduated. This is almost a 50% failure rate. I can only share my experiences of what I saw. If you talk to other people, they may have keyed into different things.
1. Igmrís (I got mine) Ė if you have this mind set the instructors will quickly identify you as someone who is not a team player.
2. Be a listener, not a teacher. If you know something, share it with your classmates during lunchtime. Donít suggest something to an instructor about a trick you learned as a fire explorer or as a firefighter from another fire department. Remember, you are trying to pass the tests (manipulative and academic) the ďtowerĒ way, not the ďfieldĒ way.
3. Keep your ears open and your mouth shut. Only chitchat with your buddies at lunchtime. Donít join into conversations that shouldnít be going on in the first place.
4. Donít talk badly about your instructors or your fellow cadets.
5. Donít make excuses. If you screw up, donít apologize; just move on. Most importantly donít make the same mistake twice.
6. Donít go out with your buddies on weekends to ďtake a break,Ē because thatís how people get into trouble. DUIís, fights and public intoxication are a sure way to get dismissed from the academy.
7. Do not brown nose your instructor. They are not your friends, nor will they ever want to be. Show respect and you will do fine.
8. Remember you are there for a badge, not to gain friends. Keep the non-essential talk for after you leave the drill tower grounds.
9. Support your fellow cadets as much as you would want to be supported. You will not make it through without their help and vice versa.
The first 3 weeks were the most difficult. It appeared they wanted to weed out the weaker candidates. We had 13 people quit in the first week and a half, many of these in the first two days.
The physical agility test is not even close to the exertion you will go through in the tower. If you barely pass the agility test, you are in trouble. Each day you will go home sore, bruised and strained. Due to the fast pace, your body does not have a chance to recover from one day to the next. The better your physical condition, the greater the chance your body can adapt to the rigorous training. It is imperative to be in the best shape possible. If you arenít, you are going to get hurt.
After the first 4 weeks of our 14-week academy, it started sinking in that we were going to be here for a while. Itís mentally draining. You have to stay focused or you will never make it.
It is extremely stressful to prepare for a manipulative exam knowing that if you donít perform you will lose your job. Everyone in the academy had to perform an evolution a second time knowing that this was his or her last and final opportunity. I guarantee it will happen to anyone who enters an academy. Being able to perform under pressure is critical. Remember, you are your own worst enemy.
You will be exposed to information about a myriad of different topics while in the academy. You are expected to know every piece of information that has been presented. You will be tested on it weekly, sometimes daily.
People failed out of my academy for a variety of reasons. Probably the main reason was poor physical conditioning. Even those who survived the first 10 days had physical conditioning issues. It was apparent who was struggling. When you are tired and run down, you donít think clearly. This leads to mistakes, which in turn lead to bringing attention to yourself. Ultimately, you find yourself fighting for your job.
There are many things you can do to enhance your opportunity for success in the academy. First and foremost, maintain top physical conditioning. The better shape you are in, the better your chances of avoiding injury and making unnecessary mistakes.
Secondly, put yourself through a fire academy at the local community college. The more familiar you are with ladders, hose and SCBAís, the better your chances of being successful in the academy.
The academy is extremely fast-paced. Those who did not have previous experience to draw from definitely had a more difficult time. Fortunately I had been through a basic fire academy. I have to admit that the academy at the community college, although at the time seemed hard, was like a day at Disneyland compared to the fire departmentís academy.
Learn how to study before you enter the academy. Find a place where you can sit down and get away from the world and immerse yourself in the books. Set it up beforehand; donít wait until you start the academy to figure out where you are going to study.
Form study groups early. Take a look around and try to identify who appears to be focused on making it through. There is no doubt that there is a benefit to having someone to bounce questions off. He or she may interpret the reading material differently than you and key into something you may have misinterpreted. In addition, he or she will pick you up when you are struggling, and vice versa.
Take fire science courses prior to entering the academy. The more background and exposure you have to the fire service, the better you will fare. Remember each night you will be assigned a ton of reading. You are physically exhausted after being on the grinder all day long. It is difficult to maintain concentration to sit and study for a written exam the next day. The more information you have before entering the academy, the easier the material is to digest in a shorter time frame.
Completing the academy is one of the most challenging things you will ever go through. The more you can stack the deck in your favor, the better the chances of making it through. Donít take it lightly. The work is just beginning.
03-09-2007, 12:40 AM #3
Thank you Chief Lepore, I have read through many of your thread replies. I really appreciate the advice, and plan on committing it to memory.
03-28-2007, 10:21 PM #4
- Join Date
- Mar 2007
Its a great experience going through an academy. As the Chief said, you have one mouth, 2 eyes, and 2 ears for a reason.....use the eyes and ears. No need to make friends, but dont make enemies. You are going to spend a lot of time with these other people in some of the most intense circumstances of your life UP TO THIS POINT (the real world is a totally different experience). If one of your "teammates" or "partners" is struggling then help, but not necessarily do it for them. But remember, there is a trick to being a leader and confident that you can do it, but by no means get cocky or start running the mouth. Other than that, keep your mind set, stay focused on your goal. This is just the beginning of the best profession to have, so do it the best you can bud. Keep up the physical fitness too....you'll see that for the job we have there arent many guys that are in the utmost shape (sorry to the guys that consider round a shape). Good luck with everything.
03-30-2007, 11:19 PM #5
- Join Date
- Mar 2007
im in now
im in the academy right now and today was the end of my first week. Academics is easy enough and PT isn't bad at all. The instructors are not to pleasent and we have already lost 3 guys, 2 for academics and one quit today and was carted off by local FD in an ambulance. Reason? A sadistic tunnel we have to crawl through. Not sure of the diameter but it is so small I alomost suffocated getting in it. We also did 12 minutes straight of axe chopping in our SCBA. Working up to useing a whole bottle, 30 minutes of nonstop chopping in the florida summer. Nice huh. oh and between going through the tunnel'S yes 3 different diameter tunnels in a row about 70 feet total you are running towers and climbing through windows. And that is just one of the 3 evolutions we did today on top of PT hose drags and tower sprints. Thankgod it was raining!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
04-02-2007, 07:17 PM #6
So your PT isn't that bad? Ours is 1 hour M,W,F...so that's not too bad.....and we'll see about the tunnels..myself being 260ish and 6'1", it may be interesting..
04-03-2007, 09:29 AM #7
- Join Date
- Nov 2006
- The Mistake On The Lake
Just about anyone can fit through the tunnels. The trick is, getting the mechanics down. I've gotten pretty decent with crawling using just my toes to push me forward, and wriggling my upper body to get through. I'm in a slightly rounder shape, but I'm not too bad, I can make a bottle last, and I can go through two at a fire no problem. Plenty of others need a blow before me. But like was said, a big thing is gonna be keeping in shape, and practicing. If you can, doing things like running with a pack on, and doing pushups and stuff with one on will help greatly.
04-04-2007, 12:57 AM #8
Awesome, I was a little worried, because Im about 270 and 6'1" and I wasn't sure I could do it. But now, after a few weeks of working out and finding more motivation I'm sure I can do it.
04-04-2007, 08:39 PM #9
- Join Date
- Mar 2007
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