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Technical Trades and Manufacturing Division

Fire Fighter Technician

Fire Academy: The fire academy is only offered in the winter semester. You must be licensed as an Emergency Medical Technician or Medical First Responder to register. Please call and make an appointment with the Fire Science Coordinator to obtain the academy packet.

The responsibilities of firefighters are the same the world over: to save lives and property from fire, explosion, and other emergencies. However, not all fire departments approach this goal in the same manner. Many variables are considered by the agencies that provide fire protection. Some agencies only protect airports, whereas others do structural firefighting and provide emergency medical services (EMS). Fire departments that provide EMS may only perform basic life support (BLS), whereas others may provide advanced life support (ALS). The mission statement of modern fire departments, is usually synonymous with an agency's purpose for existence, or even its legal authority to act in a certain manner.

What makes firefighters knowingly and willingly take part in some of the most hazardous activities outside of military battle? They do so because for the most part, firefighters are dedicated, caring, motivated, and sincere people. Today's firefighter responds to emergencies of every type: medical, auto extrication, swift water rescue, high angle rope operations, hazardous materials incidents, confined space rescues, natural disasters, and, of course, fires. The size and organizational structure of fire departments range from small volunteer companies that protect only a few people to metropolitan departments that protect millions.

Because of the complex issues and tasks facing a firefighter, many additional functions are assigned to their responsibilities. Some of these, such as training or fire prevention, are necessary in day to day operation. Other sections or staff functions may be established to manage complex areas such as arson investigation, public education, urban search & rescue, code enforcement, apparatus maintenance & purchase, and other special operations.

Maintaining current skills and developing new ones is the most important activity for firefighters today. Whenever they are called, or to what type of emergency they respond, they must be prepared. There is no room for doing things half right, when their lives and the lives of those they protect hang in the balance. The fire service of today is vastly different from what it was fifty years ago. The increasingly complicated array of services provided and the fact that the fire service has become more diverse as a result of gender and ethnic involvement. What is predictable about the future is that firefighters will likely be called on to deal with whatever dilemma or disaster strikes the community they serve. They must be prepared.

Working Conditions

A firefighter as defined in a number of sources is "a member of a fire department who fights fires". This is a straightforward and simple definition for a very complicated and physically demanding job. Firefighters operate as a team and independently at incidents of uncertain duration, exposed to the elements, and able to tolerate extreme fluctuations in temperature while performing their duties. They must function in environments of high noise, poor visibility, limited mobility, at heights, and in enclosed or confined spaces in a safe and prudent manner.

Firefighters respond to alarms and assist in suppression of fires, cleans up and performs salvage operations after fires. Maintains fire apparatus, equipment, fire station, and grounds. Conduct pre-incident surveys, school fire drills, and community awareness programs. Their working condition can change in a split second or with the sound of alarm.

Fire fighting is more than a physical activity that requires strength and alertness. It is also a science that demands continual study and learning. You should be able to work well under pressure or in critical or unexpected situations, work well when taking necessary risks, use reason and logic, and able to perform mathematical operations quickly and accurately.

 


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