Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Firefighter program sparks rigorous training with live fire simulations

Working in the public service is very demanding, serving the public and putting others’ well-being before your own in emergency situations. Firefighters are called to duty in times of fire, and other cases of peril. The glorious but high-stake career in firefighting has its benefits:

  • Generous wages and salaries, with an average full-timer earning $60,000 – $70,000.
  • Current good job outlook in Canada.
  • Early retirement.

Although the minimum educational requirement is a high school diploma, many jobs are now requiring college-level education from future firefighters. The governing body of the 458 municipal fire departments in Ontario, The Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs (OAFC), states that learning theory and basic firefighting skills in community colleges increases the likelihood of employment. The OAF, the Office of the Fire Marshal, and the fire services partnered with colleges to produce curriculums that satisfy a Pre-Service Firefighter Education & Training Program. Centennial College offers a firefighter program, spanning two semesters of classroom training and a third semester for the Firefighter Pre-Graduate Experience, the practical component of the program. Its Pre-Service Firefighter Education and Training (1260) program

Centennial provides rigorous educational training with an introduction to the role of firefighters and the Ontario fire service and more technical courses on:

  • The responsibilities of the emergency medical services,
  • The techniques in using ropes, knots, and ladders,
  • Generic and rescue skills and basic vehicle extrication skills,
  • Water extinguishment theory and the proper usage of water streams, and
  • Classroom and physical component in fitness, involving cardio-pulmonary training, strength training, endurance and circuit training.

Firefighters respond to other emergencies other than those related to fire. When an emergency call is placed, a group of emergency medical services, comprising of the police force, medical team, and firefighters, arrive at the scene. Therefore, Centennial students learn patient care management and skills to provide knowledgeable decision-making skills in assessing the scenarios. Firefighters can encounter a host of different events such as childbirth, hypothermia, anaphylactic shock and poisoning.

The firefighter program at Centennial College includes the Professional Preparation course which will give the students a career-focused view on employment expectations. The highly-competitive field requires testing and certifications prior to entering the workforce. This course helps students in writing aptitude tests and preparing the application and interview process. In addition, the program includes practical experience in the final semester, providing basic firefighting skills in a simulated environment, including live fire. Will and physical strength will be tested as students enter various, possible scenarios in firefighting. Before entering this final phase of the Firefighter Pre-Graduate Experience course, students must obtain cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and First Aid Training, pass a police and background check, and pass the medical requirements.

The Pre-Service Firefighter Education and Training program graduates from Centennial College can enjoy a successful career in firefighting. They are eligible to write the Ontario Fire Marshal Provincial testing which will lead to their candidacy as firefighters. Upon employment by a fire service in Ontario, they are eligible for the Ontario Fire College “Firefighter Certificate of Achievement.” Firefighter titles can include industrial firefighter, airport firefighter, and fire captain. stated that graduates can earn starting salaries between $40,000 and $60,000 per year. According to the Centennial’s Graduate Employment Report, the graduating class of 2012 had a 91% employment rate with a maximum salary of $96,000.

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