The first thing you need to know about enrolling in a firefighting school is that the academy can be physically demanding. You will need to be in peak physical shape to pass the program.
You will also learn basic firefighting concepts such as water supply management, building construction awareness, and firefighting tactics like using positive pressure ventilation and selecting the proper hose stream.
Get a Better Job
A firefighting career fulfills many people’s lifelong dreams. But the job can also be very demanding. It requires high physical fitness, quick reflexes, and mental acumen. And it’s important to remember that firefighters have a higher risk for certain health conditions, such as heart disease and cancer.
Enrolling in a Texas firefighting school can help you keep your body healthy. Especially in the academy, you’ll be physically active four to five times each week. The physical training includes manipulative drills and intense, calorie-burning exercises such as burpees, lunges, and stair-climbs.
Enrolling in a program will also allow you to take an emergency medical technician course, boosting your chances for employment (although not all fire departments require EMT certification). In addition, it will allow you to earn more money than those with a high school diploma. You’ll also likely advance on the fire department ladder more quickly.
Get a Better Salary
The perks of becoming a firefighter can be substantial. Many firefighters enjoy competitive salaries and excellent benefits. In addition, those who complete a bachelor’s degree in fire science often find that they can advance up the career ladder to supervisory and management roles.
To become a firefighter, you must pass a civil service exam and meet other criteria. The state typically administers the exam. It usually includes a written section and a physical test. The written section is multiple-choice and contains questions about reading comprehension, math skills, and situational judgment.
The physical portion of the exam is a series of exercises, including climbing stairs, carrying heavy equipment, hoisting hoses, and searching for items.
The physical part of the exam can be incredibly challenging for those who need to be in better shape. You must be physically fit to enter the fire academy or advance your career. That means a healthy diet, regular exercise, and possibly some weight loss.
Get a Better Life
Getting into a fire academy is only for some. If accepted, expect to spend several weeks (or more) living a highly disciplined and stressful lifestyle. You may not sleep much and will likely need to dedicate much time to studying.
Fire academy students must be able to think clearly and make decisions under extreme stress. Training instructors often set up drills that involve purposely setting buildings on fire to train them for this.
Additionally, firefighters must be able to work in teams under pressure and communicate effectively. To help them develop these skills, they practice in simulated disasters, like a car accident or a bus hijacking. These drills \are also used to identify potential leaders within the academy.
Preparing for the academy will include getting physically fit and purchasing or borrowing study materials to prepare for academic testing. Students will also need meal prep to eat healthy between physical exercise and drills.
Get a Better Education
Although some firefighters start at the firehouse and move up the ladder without obtaining a bachelor’s degree, others pursue degrees to enhance their knowledge base and career progression into supervisory or managerial positions. Several colleges and universities offer bachelor’s degrees in fire science, with typical completion times of four years.
All firefighters must undergo post-secondary training at a vocational school, college, or fire academy. However, each department sets its own hiring qualifications and training requirements.
Whether you enroll in a full-time academy run by your department or choose to attend a college Firefighter 1 program, the fire academy is not for the faint of heart. This paramilitary-style experience is intense and involves heavy reading and study, often outside class.
You must adjust your lifestyle and be prepared to miss family events, birthdays, and holidays. You will also be physically active daily and likely endure many stair climbs, lunges, and core strength exercises.