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11/9/2018 9:21:38 PM
Posted: 8/11/2018 10:43:49 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/11/2018 10:51:33 AM EST by Towely]
Not in every aspect, obviously, but this is quite a bit more rough than I had anticipated. 16 week academy for us and the level of physical exertion and the frequency of it has been quite an eye opener.

Every day it's PT in the gym that rivals any organized PT I did in boot camp. It's essentially getting smoked for the first 1.5hrs of the day. Then out to the training grounds in full gear where you rotate chopping and running the tower. If there's any lecture that day they squeeze it in before lunch. Then it's back in gear for the last 4-5hrs doing rotations(ladders, hose layout, search and rescue etc.).

Sooner or later we're going to start weightlifting but that hasn't happened yet.

Just figured I'd let anyone know that's thinking about applying for a full time department that runs their own academy(especially bigger departments that can afford to run a lengthy academy) or anyone that has a start date coming up, get in shape YESTERDAY. It will pay dividends. They are going to make damn sure you're in the best shape of your life before you even think of walking into a house but being prepared ahead of time will make your life much more enjoyable. It never slows down. The only rest you get will be your weekends and you'll still feel like you got run over by a train Monday morning, and that is the best you're going to feel until you graduate. Learn to ignore being uncomfortable. You'll spend 4-6hrs a day in full turnout gear, sweat constantly dripping down your back, down your ass, down your legs, into your boots. Within the first hour you will be literally walking in standing water(sweat) and you will spend the rest of the day like that.

Also watch that your axe handle doesn't swing between your legs when you're laying out a hose line

One last thing, never give up on any evolution, there may be things you cannot physically do at that point in time, or don't quite have the technique for. The training ground is the place to fail, but as long as you fail while trying and pushing yourself the instructors will work with you to strengthen you and help you get the technique down. If you just shut down and give up on yourself you will find yourself in the captains office answer the question "Do you really want to be here?" and that's a very bad place to be. If you're running the tower the only excuse to stop is if you're going unconscious or vomiting. The former they will deal with, the latter you better get back on your horse once you empty your stomach.

All in all it's going well though but I will be happy when I am through it. The training is excellent and I'm getting paid to get in the best shape of my life so I can't complain. We got to try 2-man 35' ladder raises at the end of the week and mine was a dumpster fire but it will get there.
Link Posted: 8/11/2018 2:25:41 PM EST
We got to try 2-man 35' ladder raises at the end of the week and mine was a dumpster fire but it will get there.
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Just follow and remember the pictorial in the training book and you'll be fine.
Link Posted: 8/11/2018 4:16:06 PM EST
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Originally Posted By R_Steel:
Just follow and remember the pictorial in the training book and you'll be fine.
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Originally Posted By R_Steel:
We got to try 2-man 35' ladder raises at the end of the week and mine was a dumpster fire but it will get there.
Just follow and remember the pictorial in the training book and you'll be fine.
Wait till they bring out the 50' OP!
Link Posted: 8/11/2018 5:14:37 PM EST
Ahh I remember it well, and just keep you eye on the prize....you will make it.
Link Posted: 8/11/2018 7:15:08 PM EST
It will be fun, way back when mine was 6 weeks, no EMT class, that came afterwards.

Now the new guys are about 16 weeks also. I hate to admit it, the new folks know as much when they start shift as we did at the end of probation.

4-man bangor ladder is the best.

taking 5" up the stairwell is a joy also.
Link Posted: 8/11/2018 8:25:56 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/11/2018 8:28:29 PM EST by Towely]
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Originally Posted By Kubota3430:
It will be fun, way back when mine was 6 weeks, no EMT class, that came afterwards.

Now the new guys are about 16 weeks also. I hate to admit it, the new folks know as much when they start shift as we did at the end of probation.

4-man bangor ladder is the best.

taking 5" up the stairwell is a joy also.
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We have a 16 week academy and then 12-14 weeks of EMT before we are done. Not sure what EMT all entails but it's 12-14 40hr weeks of training(2hrs of PT in the morning). I'm guessing they will mix in some fire training during EMT to keep our skills fresh. Honestly I'm glad it's 16 weeks. Aside from being a little nervous about the injury potential I don't think 6 weeks would be enough to get most of us to a level where we'd be an asset to anyone in the streets.

No bangor ladders on our department anymore. 35' is as big as our portables go, if you need to go higher you're going to need an aerial. For a little dude I can toss the 24 around like it's nothing but that 35 has its way with me.

We haven't even touched a charged line yet aside from learning how to crack a hydrant.
Link Posted: 8/11/2018 8:41:05 PM EST
When I went through fire academy in 1998 it was much easier than what you are describing. There were some hard parts and several pass/fail events but not as hard as you are going through. I remember one thing is we had to do the 1.5 mile run in 12 minutes and that was a hard fail if you didn't make it. They had a few different things like that. The big thing they stressed was don't be late. 2 times was the max and after that you were kicked out of class. No excuses of any kind were excepted.
Link Posted: 8/11/2018 8:48:38 PM EST
I have always heard of fire fighters having heart attacks on the job and I figured it was pretty tough.
Link Posted: 8/11/2018 8:55:42 PM EST
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Originally Posted By cosmogony:
I have always heard of fire fighters having heart attacks on the job and I figured it was pretty tough.
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Yeah pretty much everything about fighting fire is bad for your heart. Going from rest/sleep to fighting a fire which can jack your heart rate up to 180-200bpm in less than 10 minutes, extreme heat exposure, sleep deprivation.
Link Posted: 8/11/2018 9:03:16 PM EST
Have ya'll done live burns yet? Go through an interior attack where you chase it through a house and you'll learn real quick why you need to be in shape. Not to.mention it helps you extend a bottle. I workout 6 days a week and I'm still exhausted after a good size structure fire where you dont just fight it from the yard. It's good stuff
Link Posted: 8/11/2018 9:08:37 PM EST
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Originally Posted By Moses_J:
Have ya'll done live burns yet? Go through an interior attack where you chase it through a house and you'll learn real quick why you need to be in shape. Not to.mention it helps you extend a bottle. I workout 6 days a week and I'm still exhausted after a good size structure fire where you dont just fight it from the yard. It's good stuff
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Not yet but I'm looking forward to it. Before graduation we get to light up at least one vacant 2.5 story and (hopefully ) put it out. Other than that we will be putting water on a ton of old mattresses and wood pallets in the tower.
Link Posted: 8/11/2018 11:37:58 PM EST
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Originally Posted By Towely:
Not yet but I'm looking forward to it. Before graduation we get to light up at least one vacant 2.5 story and (hopefully ) put it out. Other than that we will be putting water on a ton of old mattresses and wood pallets in the tower.
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Originally Posted By Towely:
Originally Posted By Moses_J:
Have ya'll done live burns yet? Go through an interior attack where you chase it through a house and you'll learn real quick why you need to be in shape. Not to.mention it helps you extend a bottle. I workout 6 days a week and I'm still exhausted after a good size structure fire where you dont just fight it from the yard. It's good stuff
Not yet but I'm looking forward to it. Before graduation we get to light up at least one vacant 2.5 story and (hopefully ) put it out. Other than that we will be putting water on a ton of old mattresses and wood pallets in the tower.
You'll love it. We always get stuff donated to us that we get to train with. I'm lucky enough to have my old training turnout gear along with my new duty gear so I always volunteer for the nozzle. Here's a picture from a few weekends ago when we had a work shed donated to us and we made a bet on how big of a fire we could produce from it. Judging from the steam off my helmet we did ok
Attachment Attached File
Link Posted: 8/12/2018 11:55:06 PM EST
Whats the age range of the dudes in class OP?
Link Posted: 8/13/2018 7:37:03 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/13/2018 7:37:58 PM EST by Towely]
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Originally Posted By sefus:
Whats the age range of the dudes in class OP?
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Mostly younger kids but it runs 20-42. The 42 year old is some PT God though. I swear he and his wife do burpees and pushups as foreplay. I'm middle of the road at 30.

So far we have had 4 drop out in 3 weeks but the rest of the group looks pretty solid. There is one female that struggles to keep up when we run the tower but she definitely doesn't seem to have any quit in her.
Link Posted: 8/13/2018 10:06:38 PM EST
Wish you well bro. I just got my FF1 last year after 15 years in EMS. I did a local school and I am NOT in shape. No way I would make an academy. I looked at either breaking my knees and spine on the ambulance as a sure thing or that I might die in a burner (fires are way less frequent) before I can secure a desk job
Link Posted: 8/14/2018 11:33:44 AM EST
Link Posted: 8/16/2018 8:10:14 PM EST
Link Posted: 8/16/2018 8:11:13 PM EST
Link Posted: 8/22/2018 4:27:55 PM EST
And I'm out...

Was nursing a shoulder injury for the past couple weeks and it finally caught up with me.

Was told I was done today, that it was either going to end with me walking away or blowing my shoulder up and they weren't going to allow the latter.
Link Posted: 8/22/2018 5:45:53 PM EST
Link Posted: 8/24/2018 10:15:52 PM EST
Man that sucks OP, any chance you can get recycled after you get healed up? Or are you going to have to start the process over again?
Link Posted: 8/24/2018 11:05:57 PM EST
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Originally Posted By jcast141:
Man that sucks OP, any chance you can get recycled after you get healed up? Or are you going to have to start the process over again?
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Nope and nope. They have a little leeway if guys go slightly over hours on light duty during training but can otherwise continue but if you fail to graduate the academy you're out of the program and off the list with no exceptions. This particular department hires off the same list for many years so there's no coming back later and trying again.

I might think about one other department in the area that runs a list every 2 years but honestly, I think I'm done.

The wife unit and I sat down and talked a lot about our situation. We've decided to use this as an opportunity to start over. Currently looking for work away from the city, maybe out in the Juneau or Adams county area. Somewhere we could get a nice little house on 10 acres of land.

I'm pretty bummed but maybe 5 years from now when I'm walking out my back door to my treestand that sits over a little food plot in our little stretch of woods while my wife is out in the pole barn taking care of her horse I'll think to myself it wasn't so bad not making it through.
Link Posted: 8/28/2018 10:21:23 PM EST
Sorry to hear they forced you out. Let it be know this shouldn't be the end of the line. You don't know me but i'm living proof to never give up. Here's why:

1. Enrolled in Fire/EMS academy and Fire science. Triple enrolled. I was out of shape and i knew it. Two weeks into the fire academy i had a injury to my foot. Proper healing time was at a min 3 weeks. They offered to recycle me to the online class. I accepted it but i told i wanted to finish EMS first.

2. Rejoined the online academy. Had to do all my Bookwork over again. No problem. Had to do 22 days straight of Boot camp/skills. 7 days a week 10hrs a day. I got my ass whipped and reinjured my foot.

3. Tried a different route at a different academy. Ended up being very unorganized couldn't get anywhere.

4. Found an academy ran by Houston Firefighters during their off duty time. Was made the company captain the 2nd day in. Excelled at everything. Made a 96 on the TCFP state exam. Academy had great instructors and even better classmates. Everything clicked.

Started volunteering and picked up a duty crew spot with another dept. Got my Hazmat tech last year and wildland certs. Going for my apparatus operator in October. My only issue now is making time for a FT paid spot. I like serving my community so much that i dedicate almost too much to it.

My best advice to you OP is if you have a passion for it don't give up. It doesn't matter the route you take or the setbacks that come with it.
Link Posted: 8/29/2018 9:28:20 AM EST
OP, don't give up if this is your dream. Go to an academy not affiliated with a department. I guarantee there are some night programs, online, community college, etc. in your AO. We have a 12 week traditional recruit academy here (TEEX) and online as well there plus at least 5 or 6 community college programs I can think of. Your GI Bill will pay for the academy and then you go job hunting with your certs in hand.
Link Posted: 9/2/2018 12:23:28 AM EST
[Last Edit: 9/2/2018 12:30:52 AM EST by Fidel_Cashflow]
ETA: Read your update. Sorry to hear that it didn’t work out. Better in the academy than on the job.
Link Posted: 9/2/2018 12:25:36 AM EST
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Originally Posted By Towely:
Yeah pretty much everything about fighting fire is bad for your heart. Going from rest/sleep to fighting a fire which can jack your heart rate up to 180-200bpm in less than 10 minutes, extreme heat exposure, sleep deprivation.
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Originally Posted By Towely:
Originally Posted By cosmogony:
I have always heard of fire fighters having heart attacks on the job and I figured it was pretty tough.
Yeah pretty much everything about fighting fire is bad for your heart. Going from rest/sleep to fighting a fire which can jack your heart rate up to 180-200bpm in less than 10 minutes, extreme heat exposure, sleep deprivation.
Number 1 cause of LODD. Old guys go to sleep after a late night call and never wake up. Had one in our house about 11 years ago.
Link Posted: 9/2/2018 1:22:44 AM EST
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Originally Posted By cosmogony:
I have always heard of fire fighters having heart attacks on the job and I figured it was pretty tough.
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Mostly it's because we eat like shit and don't exercise enough. The job isn't very physically demanding compared to a lot of others.
Link Posted: 9/2/2018 1:25:15 AM EST
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Originally Posted By Towely:
And I'm out...

Was nursing a shoulder injury for the past couple weeks and it finally caught up with me.

Was told I was done today, that it was either going to end with me walking away or blowing my shoulder up and they weren't going to allow the latter.
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Recycle to the next class?
Link Posted: 9/2/2018 1:36:54 AM EST
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Originally Posted By Moses_J:
Have ya'll done live burns yet? Go through an interior attack where you chase it through a house and you'll learn real quick why you need to be in shape. Not to.mention it helps you extend a bottle. I workout 6 days a week and I'm still exhausted after a good size structure fire where you dont just fight it from the yard. It's good stuff
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You end up using muscles you just can't seem to get to when you are humping hose. 2-1/2 handlines usually wore me out pretty good.
Link Posted: 9/2/2018 1:45:41 AM EST
My academy, class of 7-3-1981 was 10 weeks including EMT. It was an 80 hour non-ambulance class.

Classes today are 18 weeks and they get FRO Hazmat, Ventilation, Swiftwater, mass casualty/terrorism FRO. We barely swung an ax for ventilation and there was no Hazmat, swiftwater, mass casualty/terrorism plans. The new hires are in amazing condition as there is a strength and conditioning component with weekly measurements. During probation they go back to the academy to retest on skills and classroom work and a fitness test. It makes for a better firefighter than when I went through.
Link Posted: 9/29/2018 2:31:31 PM EST
I was gonna break your balls about complaining about the 2-man raise of a 35. I make my guys raise it by themselves. When I was on a two man truck, I had to do that a few times on my own. It sucked.

Sorry to hear about your shoulder injury though. Hopefully you can get recycled into the next class. My shoulder finally gave out a few years ago. A little surgery, and 6 weeks later I was throwing 24's like a javelin.
Link Posted: 10/3/2018 9:20:19 PM EST
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Originally Posted By Dan_Gray:
Mostly it's because we eat like shit and don't exercise enough. The job isn't very physically demanding compared to a lot of others.
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We had salad for lunch and dinner today.
Link Posted: 10/6/2018 7:24:42 AM EST
My academy time was only three months. PA EMT training, then fire training.

These days it's six months long. National EMT training, then fire training I never had when I was there (1994).
Link Posted: 10/21/2018 2:05:47 PM EST
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