Perhaps one of the noblest jobs in society, firefighting has been a dream of children for years. To see their yellow jackets and firefighter hats, to ride their trucks; firefighting truly is a respectable profession. Of course, anyone can learn to drive and turn on a gigantic hose to put out flames, but there is more to firefighting than just having the privilege to blow that siren while riding at top speed through a busy intersection. A firefighter is someone who saves lives by very precise means. If you want to pursue this career, there are a lot of firefighter academies and schools in the United States and online. Here's how to start:
- FDNY Fire Academy. The New York Fire Department's training school is located in Randall's Island in New York City. With a total of 95 acres of land, the academy is composed of 11 buildings, a 22,000 capacity stadium, a picnic area, a 200,000 gallon water supply, diesel fuel pumps, and a truck garage, among other things. They offer courses in various situations, like rope training, hazardous materials training, basic firefighting, collapse training, and tactical training. In other words, you also need to be physically fit to be able to serve as a firefighter. Don't worry, this academy will train you well to serve your purpose.
- University of Maryland University College. The University of Maryland University College (UMUC) offers a Bachelor's Degree in Fire Science. They offer courses in disaster planning, fire-protection, firefighting planning, wild land firefighting and arson investigation. Their curriculum also includes fire-defense planning and the social roles of firefighting. They require a total of 120 units for a Bachelor's degree.
- Columbia Southern University. A privately owned online-only university, Columbia Southern University offers a BS Fire Science degree online with the help of several government partners. They require 121 courses, which include fire drills, and studies on how to prevent fires. There are also other courses offered like Behavioral Sciences, which takes most of the bulk of the lessons for this course. This is emphasized for the obvious reason that a firefighter must also understand how people behave in such dangerous situations. In this way, people can be ushered into safety more quickly.
- Eastern Kentucky University. Eastern Kentucky University offers an online and on-campus teaching system for Fire Safety and Engineering. They have firefighter videos included in their online curriculum. Their coursework includes Fire Administration for prospective Fire Chiefs, and Fire Protection Engineering, a course that helps design fire retardant equipment, and fire safety gadgets like fire alarms. They are quite a prestigious university for firefighting, with several awards for their students who have become volunteer firefighters.
There are more schools from which to choose, but these are some that your can look into for starters. You still have the option of asking people you know, or inquiring at either your student affairs office, or the guidance and counseling services. Whichever school you choose, you must remember that the biggest factor for learning is your willingness to understand the science of firefighting and the risks involved.