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Home News-Telegram News Firefighter training heats up with 'real world' exercises

Firefighter training heats up with 'real world' exercises

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The recruits in Northeast Texas Fire & EMS Training Academy got a taste of what life as a firefighter is actually like this week during "real world" training.

The exercise puts the basic fire suppression students through their paces, drilling them on the various firefighting skills they've learned during the class. It also puts them in "real world" environments, "on call" 24 hours a day to respond to various simulated situations designed to test their knowledge of curriculum, knowledge and proper use of equipment, area equipment orientation and the ability to respond in various conditions to a number of situations.

The recruits are generally divided into "shifts" much like at a fire department, and stay at a specific location to respond to more than one call in the middle of the night. Learning to get up, suit up and quickly respond in fire apparatus was part of the experience, as was getting up at midnight and the early morning hours when fire tones go off, then being "disregarded" just prior to the location they were dispatched to.

At least one day is dedicated to "incidents," or live burns, at the academy's drill field on County Road 3502. This not only gives the recruits a chance to apply the skills they've learned during the class but to also feel what it's like to be battle back-to-back fires. The drill field is equipped with a single-story building, a multi-story building, a propane tank and vehicles which are set on fire and provide a controlled environment to train the students with certified firemen who often volunteer their services for the events.

The fire students are told going in that they will participate in "real world" exercises but not the scenarios they'll be dealing with. These exercises not only test their skills, response and knowledge, but also the necessity for firemen to work together as a department and as a shift, the importance of safety preparations and orienting themselves on location and where tools are kept.


The academy generally schedules "real world days" just past the half-way mark during the course. The first half of the class gives them the basic information, including skills instruction with the book. The second half the recruits will be doing more skills training, lots of hands on work and practice to help prepare them for the test administered by the state commission which they must pass in order to get their basic firefighting certification. Testing at the half-way point gives the recruits a good idea of what the "real world" of firefighting is like, but also shows the recruits and instructors areas in which the recruits need more intensive training and focus.

The basic fire suppression course is a 468 hour curriculum developed by Texas Commission on Fire Protection to meet the objectives for professional firefighters qualification. The firefighter certification test covers several different NFPA subject areas, including firefighter I, firefighter II,  hazardous materials awareness and operations.

Upon successful completion of the course and the TCFP written and practical examinations, application may be made to receive International Fire Service Accreditation Congress seals in those areas. At a minimum, an Emergency Care Attendant Certification if required for state certification.

In order to enroll in the class, the applicant must have either  a high school diploma or a General Education Degree; be 18 years of age; have a signed physician's release statement; and if sponsored, students must submit a letter of sponsorship containing the applicant's name, address, phone number, Social Security number and statement of equivalent entrance requirements certification.

For more information about Northeast Texas Fire & EMS Training Academy visit fireskillsonline.com, call 903-438-0300 or e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . For a course schedule listing, visit www.fireskills.com




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