Fire Academy Opinions

keeaston

Forum Ride Along
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I know there are a lot of fire/paramedics out there, but I wanted an opinion on fire academies. I'm planning on going through one after medic class, but I'm worried about my size being a disadvantage. I'm petite, 120lbs, 5'5". I ran cross country and track in high school, but I have heard from a few firefighters in my medic class that I will be fine going through a fire academy. Any other women who are small have some opinions for me?
 

DrParasite

The fire extinguisher is not just for show
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While I'm not a woman, or a small person, I will say this: your size will put your at a disadvantage, however it will also give you several advantage over the larger firefighters. At the end of the day, it all comes down to one thing: can you do the job?

Strength training is important, but even more important is technique. perfect your technique. Will you be able to drag a 250 lb man in full gear out of a structure? probably not. will a 250lb man be able to remove a 250lb man in full gear? probably not, as Phoenix FD's tests showed it took 12 people to remove a downed FF.

I've worked with small and large firefighters, both men and women, and there are two consistent items to take note of: the smaller firefighters are usually great for confined space entry, and at the end of the day, every newbie needs to prove that they can do the job, whether big or small, man or woman. If you make the effort and demonstrate competence and ability, you will be good.

If you use your size or gender as an excuse as to why you can't do something, well, that is likely to not go over well.
 

Jim37F

Forum Deputy Chief
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As a rookie FF myself, based solely on my extremely limited experience, yes lifting heavy weights is certainly not unimportant lol, but perhaps even more important is cardio. The ability to not just do work...but keep doing it. Particularly under stress/load. It's less about moving a 250lb guy once and more about picking up that 40lb tool, moving it to point A, using it for 15 min straight, then moving it back to where it was, and now you have to grab another 40lb tool and do the same thing...so grip strength...thatvinch and a half is a one man hose, so it's just gonna be you holding onto that 140 psi nozzle reaction on a straight stream.

After being out in the field a few months, thise are the main 2 things I wish I focused on more prior to academy.
 

PotatoMedic

Has no idea what I'm doing.
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Jim37F

Forum Deputy Chief
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Wuss... Real firefighters use 1 3/4. :p
Talk to the white hats that made that decision however long ago :p Can always just grab from one of our 2 1/2" beds, both have nozzles preconnected (well ok, the Capt side bed has a RAM not an actual nozzle, but same difference....just grab the Engineer side!)
 

DrParasite

The fire extinguisher is not just for show
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Jim37F

Forum Deputy Chief
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1 1/2 was our wildland hose... like for progressive hose lays.
We get away with using 1" for brush, we get a little help from mother nature, see we have this strange thing where water will actually freefall from the sky on its own...though I know this "rain" is a strange and alien concept to you guys back in California still...
 

jgmedic

Fire Truck Driver
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As a rookie FF myself, based solely on my extremely limited experience, yes lifting heavy weights is certainly not unimportant lol, but perhaps even more important is cardio. The ability to not just do work...but keep doing it. Particularly under stress/load. It's less about moving a 250lb guy once and more about picking up that 40lb tool, moving it to point A, using it for 15 min straight, then moving it back to where it was, and now you have to grab another 40lb tool and do the same thing...so grip strength...thatvinch and a half is a one man hose, so it's just gonna be you holding onto that 140 psi nozzle reaction on a straight stream.

After being out in the field a few months, thise are the main 2 things I wish I focused on more prior to academy.
WTF who is pumping attack line at 140? ****ing ridiculous. But I 100% agree with everything you said. Muscular endurance IMO is the most important thing, so yes, cardio, but more importantly can your muscles handle high intensity work with minimal rest over and over again.
 

Peak

ED/Prehospital Registered Nurse
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WTF who is pumping attack line at 140? ****ing ridiculous. But I 100% agree with everything you said. Muscular endurance IMO is the most important thing, so yes, cardio, but more importantly can your muscles handle high intensity work with minimal rest over and over again.
I worked with a firefighter who wanted to have 175 at the nozzle, even though we uses automatic nozzles on our 1 3/4 lines and it didn't make a difference.

I'll take a 2 1/2 with a smooth bore with 50 at the tip all day, if I'm dragging a hose I'm there to put out fire. Not to mention that you should be positioning the hose so that the force is going into the floor, not your arms.
 
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