1. #1

    Join Date
    Jul 2007

    Default Questions about FF academy.

    I'm a 19 year old EMT-B student, I'll finish in Sept 1st. I've been volunteering with Rescue now for over 6 months. Now I'm thinking of taking the plunge and entering the fire academy too. I just have a couple questions. I'm 6'3, and weigh 250. I am pretty strong and very agile for my size.

    My job is pretty strenuous now, I work construction, most days near 12 hours. I often hand shoveled about 8 tons of dirt a day, not to mention unloading it from the trucks by hand. And I've taken 3 -80 pound bags of cement on my shoulder before with no trouble.

    I was just wondering, how many FF's are there my size? I'm in the process of losing more weight now along with more weight training. So by the time the adacemy started, I'd be down to about 230, not to mention all the weight I'd lose in the academy.


  2. #2
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Bouncin between the rust belts mitten and Charm City on the Chesapeake


    Tell ya what man....every academy is different. The one I went to was from September till May....like 2 college semesters. It was 2 nites a week and every other Saturday. We did no physical training at all as far as workin out. I was doing my own thing most of the time I was going through that academy so I was alright, but some guys actually gained weight from start to finish and it wasn't muscle. The academy also offered a daytime academy as well and those guys worked out I know. They only did like a mile a day run tho so nothing too bad.

    There are a couple guys your size I know that are firefighters. Their biggest challenge is being able to keep that big body going. Good cardio is more important that sheer strength anyday.....Any firefighter who cares about physical conditioning knows that. If you really can shovel dirt for 12-14 hours a day like ya say, or can work quickly framing houses, or can set block on a house, or pour concrete.....any physically laborious job where your actually working with a production time equals money type mindset....without getting extremely winded.....you should be fine.......Running never hurts either along with stairclimbing and eating right.


  3. #3
    Forum Member
    polecat's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Burnaby,B.C, canada

    Thumbs up

    Most depts. would love to hire a young buck with your size,strength ,and credentials. I'd guess there are 10% of fulltime firefighters your size. Consider yourself blessed,for its alot more difficult to get hired if one needs to jump around in the shower to get wet. Best of luck Mr. Big.

  4. #4
    MembersZone Subscriber
    fireslayer1237's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005


    we've got a truckie in the making

  5. #5
    Forum Member
    almsfan21's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007



    I wouldn't sweat it..sounds like you're perfect size for firefighting..(well, for a truckie at least lol), I'm in the same boat...about 255 and 6'1" and will be starting Academy here in three weeks...and our PT test is 32 pushups in a min, 32 situps in a min, and 1.5 miles in 13:54...so nothing too bad. It all depends on the Academy.

  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Nov 2005


    While brute strength is certainly important, so is too is cardio. I am certain that you are plenty strong hauling around sacks of concrete. Both of you will struggle with running in the academy.

    I am telling you now:
    There will be a significant amount of running in the academy. Big, corn fed guys like US will struggle. You need to be in much better cardiovascular shape. The number one reason people fail out of an academy is due to poor physical fitness.

    Here is an article out of one of my books about what to expect from a fire academy.
    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.

    Poor Attitude:

    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.

    Physical conditioning

    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.

    Mental Conditioning

    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.

    Paul Lepore
    Battalion Chief
    Last edited by BCLepore; 07-30-2007 at 09:44 AM.

  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Jul 2006


    I wish I was your size. I'm 5'7" 160lbs. I make sure I train hard enough so that my small size doesn't become an issue, but I' still give anything to be a bigger guy.

  8. #8
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Boulder, CO


    How hard it will be depends on the academy. FF'ing is a lot of cardio. You might have a tough time in an SCBA maze or entanglement drills.

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