USFA Lessens ID Theft Risks for Fire Academy Students

EMMITSBURG, Md. -- Concerned about the rising incidents of identity theft, the USFA announced Wednesday they will be phasing out the use of social security numbers for students attending National Fire Academy classes.

People applying to attend on-campus classes at the NFA or Emergency Management Institute (EMI) will have to obtain a student identification number (SID) from the Center of Domestic Preparedness.

The enrollment for classes that start in October opens April 15, and students must use that number, explained Kirby Kiefer, NFA deputy superintendent.

He added that until FEMA establishes its own system or database, applicants will use the one at CDP. There aren't any fire-related logos and the questions may seem a bit strange, but it’s legit.

The nine digit SID number will be e-mailed to the person.

Smiley White, program analyst and head of support services at the NFA, said the project was promoted by FEMA Director Craig Fugate who voiced concern about identity theft as well as people not wanting to divulge their social security numbers.

He added that in the future, the only time social security numbers will be used is when a student is seeking a stipend for travel or expenses.

All student transcripts and records will now be tracked by SIDs.

People applying for or taking state-sponsored courses and those held off-campus will still be using social security numbers for now. Eventually, all students will be required to use the SID.

To apply for a number, go to