Although only a high school diploma and an emergency medical technician license are needed to become a fire fighter, entry-level fire fighters also receive extensive training at state-sponsored fire academies. Some fire fighters pursue additional training from the National Fire Academy. To earn the more advanced title, 'fire fighter II,' individuals must possess the firefighter I certification, and usually take a series of more advanced courses and classes.
Here are some common concepts found in fire fighter II courses:
- Philosophy of fire service
- Public safety
- Wild fires
- Ropes and ladders
- Fire investigation
- Fire protection water systems
List of Courses
Basic Fire Fighter II Course
In this course, recruits learn the individual and team skills necessary when suppressing a fire. Topics include fire behavior, equipment and safety, presented alongside an orientation to state fire fighting requirements. Students also receive beginning knowledge in building structures, forcible entry, proper ventilation, water supply, fire control and survival techniques. Students are often required to take fire science courses consecutively with basic fire fighter II courses.
Fire Fighting II Techniques Course
Recruits examine pre-fighting activities and ground operations in this course. They also explore various fire situations, such as search and rescue, ventilation, utilization of manpower and incident command systems. Handling fires in different building structures and handling natural disasters are additional topics in this course. Technique or tactic courses are taken after introductory fire science courses.
Fire Prevention Course
Recruits take an in-depth look at the organization, operations and objectives of fire prevention bureaus. Topics also include the building and facilitating of well-organized inspection programs, water supply, sprinkler systems and other tools related to fire safety and techniques that promote fire prevention. Functions of the fire alarm, analysis of heat sources, fuel supply and oxygen exposure are often covered as well.
Fire Fighter II Hazardous Materials Course
In this course, students examine the laws of hazardous materials mandated by the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Fire Protection Association and other organizations, depending upon the state. Recruits must be able to identify and demonstrate safe procedure methods when dealing with various hazardous materials. Emphasis is also placed on properties of flammable liquids and gas, destructive chemicals and toxins.
Emergency Medical Technician Course
Prospective fire fighters often take emergency medical technician or paramedic courses in order to learn the proper care and handling of the critically injured and sick. Students study the human body and the various emergency signs to assess when arriving on the scene; these include breathing, cardiac emergencies, resuscitation, bleeding, shock, fractures and injuries. Students learn the proper way to lift and move patients, as well as the legal and ethical issues that arise when implementing emergency care. Most often, EMT training is a prerequisite for a firefighter II program and not taken as part of firefighter II coursework.