Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Online Firefighter Academy a Success

FireFighterAcademy.com may be the new kid on the block when it comes to eLearning, but the comprehensive, blended learning course has nearly 200 years of firefighter training and education experience behind it. The Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX), renowned for its hands-on firefighter training that began in 1930, has joined with Pennwell Corporation’s Fire Engineering Books & Videos to offer prospective firefighters a new option for obtaining the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1001 Firefighter I and II certification. 

In a fast-paced world where schedules are demanding, FireFighterAcademy.com is a fast-track solution to a fulfilling career in fire and emergency services. The online firefighter course unites educational technology with proven training methods that are geared for tomorrow’s fire and emergency service leaders. But with a combined 545 hours of training, the course doesn’t skimp on the essential knowledge and skills firefighters need to be effective and stay safe.     

“Our number one goal is and always has been providing high-quality education and realistic hands-on training,” says Robert Moore, Director of TEEX’s Emergency Services Training Institute and the Brayton Fire TrainingField. “With FireFighterAcademy.com, we’re proud to say we’re continuing this tradition through the dynamic, blended learning environment designed and developed here at TEEX in partnership with PennWell Publishing.”

FireFighterAcademy.com provides cutting edge, intuitive training modules for fire and emergency response personnel who are serious about safety, survival, and effective firefighting techniques. It is designed to meet and surpass all knowledge and skill requirements for the NFPA 1001 Standard for Fire Fighter Professional Qualifications and NFPA 472 relating to Hazardous Materials/Weapons of Mass Destruction Incidents.

Students have up to 90 days to complete the 335-hour online portion of the training, which is followed by an intensive, 21-day, 210-hour hands-on skills training session at the renowned Brayton Fire Training Field in College Station, Texas.
The online course includes nearly 400 videos demonstrating firefighting skills along with commentaries from nationally known training instructors. Students train in a virtual classroom, which prepares them for the intensive, hands-on skills training and NFPA 1001 certification testing at the Brayton Fire Training Field.

The physical skills training portion includes daily physical fitness activities and live-fire training under top-notch instructors. The recruit firefighters extinguish fires engulfing everything from dumpsters and vehicles to warehouses and industrial terminals. Each student receives extensive training on the safe operation of emergency vehicles in a variety of driving situations. They also get hands-on training on fire apparatus, such as working with a fire hose, operating pump panels, drafting water and calculating water flow to a fire. All the training emphasizes safety and personal preparedness, and each student is issued a Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus (SCBA) unit to use while in training.
The comprehensive program runs seven days a week and also includes training in rescue techniques, along with the ropes, knots and hitches used during rappelling, rigging hauling systems, and lowering/raising of victims. The recruit firefighters also receive training in HAZMAT operations and response measures.  

Students who pass both the skills testing and the written exam for each level receive up to six Pro Board certifications and are considered a certified firefighter. The blended learning course has graduated 22 certified firefighters since it was launched in 2012, and everyone passed the Pro Board NFPA 1001 Firefighter I and II certification exam. The program currently has 44 prospective firefighters enrolled.
The online Recruit Fire Training Academy is also recognized by Blinn College, which offers up to 25 college credit hours to those who complete the program. This agreement means that veterans or other students who enroll in the program through Blinn College are eligible for financial aid as well as college credit.
As 2012 graduate David Bohls commented: “It is not possible to compare the education that TEEX offers its online students because it does not compare to anyone else! TEEX is providing a comprehensive and real-world education to all that want to become firefighters."

To hear from more students, watch this video from the second class of the online class: http://bit.ly/VHbVNw, or visit us online at FireFighterAcademy.com

Jason Loyd

A certified firefighter with a Bachelor's degree in Business Management concentrating on Fire Service Administration, Jason Loyd is the Online Training Manager for TEEX Emergency Services Training Institute. The second edition of Jason's book, Fundamentals of Fire and Emergency Services, will be released in August 2013. Contact Jason at Jason.Loyd@teex.tamu.edu with any questions about the online academy.