SMART Fire Recruit Training
In the ever changing world, all professions have had to change. As such things are changing within the fire service. Fire departments are slowly adopting new ways of conducting business.
How is this change occurring?
One way is through the training of recruits. Traditionally, a candidate would attend a fire academy. This was referred to as residential program where the recruit lived at the academy, much like post-secondary school, every day for a period of time.
In our ever expanding world, we have the ability to change careers often vs the previous generations where one stayed with one employer for their entire career. How does one take a desire to change careers, take the time away from earning a living, being with their family and attend a ‘fire school’? A recent trend has been “part time” fire schools. These typically have an online component where the student studies the theory of various aspects of the fire service. This is usually followed up with a “practical” component where they would attend classes, receive ‘hands on’ and partake in practical exams. This has become so popular that many “full time academies” have adopted similar models. This allows a person to continue to work and support themselves and their families while working through the training required to become a firefighter.
Ronin Safety & Rescue has been working with SMART FIRE (smartfire.ca) on such a program for several years now.
One significant advantage of the SMART FIRE program is the addition of 70 hours of practical skills training prior to attending the accrediting organization for the two week bootcamp and exams. Ronin has been contracted by SMART FIRE to provide this component of the training in Canada. Ronin Safety & Rescue has conducted nine of these programs in BC and two in Alberta. We have set up contracts with local fire departments to utilize state of the art training facilities and equipment. We have also experimented with different durations of time for the training. At the beginning we spread the training out over 8 – 10 weeks of Wednesday evenings and Saturdays. The most recent course in Calgary was conducted Saturday and Sunday (10 hours per day) over four weeks. Although condensed it received plenty of positive feedback from the recruits.
We believe this “change” in the fire service, specifically the training aspect of it; is a positive change allowing individuals who may normally not be able to attend full time studies, the ability to change careers and be eligible for hiring by fire departments.