Firefighter Recruit Training Program

The next step for candidates for firefighter jobs who successfully complete the requirements to get hired attend a firefighter recruit training program.

The program length varies depending on the department, but usually lasts between eight and twelve weeks. Recruits attend the program on weekdays.

Along with the classroom sessions, newly-recruited firefighters need to allow for time for studying the material they are learning. The course is made up of a combination of hands-on and classroom learning. Some fire departments require that recruits attending the training program achieve a minimum score of 80 percent on all written examinations. Students are given either a Pass or Fail for the course, and performance evaluations are performed on a continuous basis.

Exact subject matter is set by each fire department, but the subject matter will likely include the following subjects:

  1. Arson investigation
  2. Breathing apparatus
  3. Building construction
  4. Driver and pump training
  5. Elevator operations
  6. EMS bridge training
  7. Equipment maintenance
  8. Extrication (vehicle and machinery)
  9. Fitness and healthy living
  10. Fire prevention
  11. Firefighter rescue
  12. Fitness training
  13. Foam operations
  14. Forcible entry and rescue
  15. General firefighter safety procedures
  16. Hazardous materials
  17. Hose techniques
  18. Ladders
  19. Live fire exercises
  20. Radio communications
  21. Ropes and knots
  22. Search and rescue
  23. Sprinkler systems
  24. Water rescue

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Live Fire Training

The live fire training portion of the firefighter recruit training program involves entering buildings that are deliberately set on fire.

firefighter training photo

These exercises give students the opportunity to demonstrate that they can think clearly and take appropriate action under demanding circumstances. All exercises are performed under the supervision of qualified instructors, who check the participants for injuries after the drill is completed.

This training program is very demanding, and not all recruits who start the course are going to pass it. Those who do successfully complete the recruit training program are hired as probationary firefighters. While a new firefighter is on probation, they are required to complete additional training programs as determined by the hiring department.


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