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Fire Science Technology
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  The Fire Science program is a sequence of courses designed to prepare fire service personnel at all levels to become better officers and leaders. The program provides learning opportunities which introduce, develop, and reinforce academic and occupational knowledge, skills, and attitudes required for job acquisition, retention, and advancement. Additionally, the program provides opportunities to retrain and upgrade present knowledge and skills.

Firefighter/EMSP Diploma
Students admitted to this diploma will complete the Fire Science courses prioring to entering the Paramedicine courses.

Program Requirements  

Sample Graduation Plans
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Frequently Asked Questions

Additional Information on the
Fire Science Program

Click (+) on the following topics for more information:
Significant Points [+]

  • Fire fighting involves hazardous conditions and long, irregular hours.
  • About 9 out of 10 fire fighters were employed by local governments.
  • Applicants generally must pass written, physical, and medical examinations, and candidates with some postsecondary education are increasingly preferred.
  • Keen competition for jobs is expected because this occupation attracts many qualified candidates.

  • Program Instructors [+]

      Karen Nowakowski  
      Fire Science Instructor/Program Director
      Hall Campus
      Phone: (770) 533-6942

    Nature of the Work [+]

    Every year, fires and other emergencies take thousands of lives and destroy property worth billions of dollars. Fire fighters help protect the public against these dangers by responding to fires and a variety of other emergencies. Although they put out fires, fire fighters more frequently respond to other emergencies. They are often the first emergency personnel at the scene of a traffic accident or medical emergency and may be called upon to treat injuries or perform other vital functions.

    During duty hours, fire fighters must be prepared to respond immediately to a fire or other emergency. Fighting fires is complex and dangerous and requires organization and teamwork. At every emergency scene, fire fighters perform specific duties assigned by a superior officer. At fires, they connect hose lines to hydrants and operate a pump to send water to high-pressure hoses. Some carry hoses, climb ladders, and enter burning buildings—using systematic and careful procedures—to put out fires. At times, they may need to use tools to make their way through doors, walls, and debris, sometimes with the aid of information about a building's floor plan. Some find and rescue occupants who are unable to leave the building safely without assistance. They also provide emergency medical attention, ventilate smoke-filled areas and attempt to salvage the contents of buildings. Fire fighters' duties may change several times while the company is in action. Sometimes they remain at the site of a disaster for days at a time, rescuing trapped survivors, and assisting with medical treatment.

    Fire fighters work in a variety of settings, including metropolitan areas, rural areas, airports, chemical plants and other industrial sites. They also have assumed a range of responsibilities, including providing emergency medical services. In fact, most calls to which fire fighters respond involve medical emergencies. In addition, some fire fighters work in hazardous materials units that are specially trained for the control, prevention, and cleanup of hazardous materials, such as oil spills or accidents involving the transport of chemicals.

    When they aren't responding to fires and other emergencies, fire fighters clean and maintain equipment, learn additional skills related to their jobs, conduct practice drills, and participate in physical fitness activities. They also prepare written reports on fire incidents and review fire science literature to stay informed about technological developments and changing administrative practices and policies.

    Work Environment [+]

    Fire fighters spend much of their time at fire stations, which are usually similar to dormitories. When an alarm sounds, fire fighters respond, regardless of the weather or hour. Fire fighting involves a high risk of death or injury. Common causes include floors caving in, walls toppling, traffic accidents, and exposure to flame and smoke. Fire fighters also may come into contact with poisonous, flammable, or explosive gases and chemicals and radioactive materials, all of which may have immediate or long-term effects on their health. For these reasons, they must wear protective gear that can be very heavy and hot.

    Work hours of fire fighters are longer and more varied than the hours of most other workers. Many fire fighters work about 50 hours a week, and sometimes they may work longer. In some agencies, fire fighters are on duty for 24 hours, then off for 48 hours, and receive an extra day off at intervals. In others, they work a day shift of 10 hours for 3 or 4 days, work a night shift of 14 hours for 3 or 4 nights, have 3 or 4 days off, and then repeat the cycle. In addition, fire fighters often work extra hours at fires and other emergencies and are regularly assigned to work on holidays. Fire lieutenants and fire captains frequently work the same hours as the fire fighters they supervise.

    Technical Skills

    Firefighters must be able to:

    • write reports, letters, and memos utilizing word processing and spreadsheet programs;
    • operate in an information management system; and effectively operate at all levels in the incident management system.
    • communicate orally and in writing and to relate interpersonally.
    • work under stressful conditions
    • work under extreme conditions, hot, cold, wet, icy, humid, etc.. under long hours
    • receive and disseminate instructions
    • lift and work with moderate weights. (50 to 100 lbs.)
    • recommend a course of action for a member in need of assistance
    • distribute issue-guided directions to unit members during training evolutions
    • issue instructions for frequently assigned unit tasks
    • plan and to set priorities
    • communicate verbally
    • use evaluative methods
    • implement an incident management system, to communicate orally, to manage scene safety, and to supervise and account for assigned personnel under emergency conditions
    • evaluate skills
    • identify safety hazards
    • conduct interviews
    • develop interpersonal relationships
    • allocate finances, to relate interpersonally, • communicate in writing and to interpret data
    • apply knowledge using deductive skills
    • implement an incident management system, to communicate orally, to supervise and account for assigned personnel under emergency conditions, and to serve in command staff and unit supervision positions within the Incident Management System
    • write reports
    • communicate in writing and to interpret accidents, injuries, occupational illnesses, or death reports
    • write clearly and to interpret response data correctly to identify the reasons for service demands

    Firefighter must have:

    • motivation to serve
    • effective communication skills
    • physical, mental, emotional health
    • ability to exercise sound judgment
    • strong sense of responsibility
    • compassion (even when stressed)
    • ability to work as team member
    • ability to work under direct supervision
    • must be able to read at a high school level
    • tolerance
    • honesty and integrity
    • problem-solving skills
    • strong work ethic
    • sense of humor
    • be a United States citizen
    • be at least 18 years of age
    • be a high school graduate or possess a high school equivalency diploma
    • must be of sound mental and physical health
    • have normal color vision
    • Pick up and advance charged fire hoses
    • Force entry with axe/battering ram
    • Rescue/extricate victim(s)
    • Perform CPR; apply bandages; tie knots
    • Climb stairs with equipment weighing approximately 50 pounds
    • Strip and vent roofs, breach walls, overhaul burned buildings
    • Lift and climb/descend ladders (with victims)
    • Visually determine fire status/hazards; assess patient conditions
    • Hear calls for help; identify fire noise, etc.
    • Walk on roof tops under adverse conditions
    • Operate power tools and extrication equipment
    • Stoop, crawl, crouch, and kneel in confined spaces
    • Reach, twist, balance, grapple, bend and lift under emergency conditions
    • Run, dodge, jump and maneuver with equipment
    • All of the above may be performed wearing heavy and restrictive protective clothing/gear

    The physical demands of a firefighter are characterized by strength, endurance, coordination, agility and dexterity.

    1. Work in extreme temperatures; day and night; in rain, snow and ice.
    2. Exposure to fumes, gases, noxious odors, dust and poor ventilation.
    3. Work in closely confined spaces.
    4. Work around potential hazards: fire, explosives, chemicals, electrical shock, structural hazards, fast moving vehicles, etc.
    5. Intense exposure to water and/other liquids.
    6. Exposure to blood, serious injuries and death.
    7. Exposure to a wide range of highly emotional and traumatic events.
    8. Exposure to noise and vibration from tools, equipment, machinery, etc.
    9. Work at height (e.g., on ladders, roof tops, etc).
    10. Work within restrictions of personal safety equipment (e.g., breathing apparatus, steel-tip boots, hearing and eye protection, firefighting turn-out clothing, and hazardous materials gear).

    A firefighter must perform physically demanding work, requiring judgment, under adverse working conditions.

    Training, Other Qualifications, and Advancement [+]

    Most fire fighters have a high school diploma; however, the completion of community college courses or, in some cases, an associate’s degree, in fire science may improve an applicant's chances for a job. A number of colleges and universities offer courses leading to 2-year or 4-year degrees in fire engineering or fire science. In recent years, an increasing proportion of new fire fighters have had some education after high school.

    Applicants for municipal fire fighting jobs usually must pass a written exam; tests of strength, physical stamina, coordination, and agility; and a medical examination that includes a drug screening. Workers may be monitored on a random basis for drug use after accepting employment. Examinations are generally open to people who are at least 18 years of age and have a high school education or its equivalent. Those who receive the highest scores in all phases of testing have the best chances of being hired.

    Other qualifications. Among the personal qualities fire fighters need are mental alertness, self-discipline, courage, mechanical aptitude, endurance, strength, and a sense of public service. Initiative and good judgment also are extremely important, because fire fighters make quick decisions in emergencies. Members of a crew live and work closely together under conditions of stress and danger for extended periods, so they must be dependable and able to get along well with others. Leadership qualities are necessary for officers, who must establish and maintain discipline and efficiency, as well as direct the activities of the fire fighters in their companies.

    Certification and advancement. Most experienced fire fighters continue studying to improve their job performance and prepare for promotion examinations. To progress to higher level positions, they acquire expertise in advanced firefighting equipment and techniques, building construction, emergency medical technology, writing, public speaking, management and budgeting procedures, and public relations. Opportunities for promotion depend upon the results of written examinations, as well as job performance, interviews, and seniority. Hands-on tests that simulate real-world job situations also are used by some fire departments. Usually, fire fighters are first promoted to engineer, then lieutenant, captain, battalion chief, assistant chief, deputy chief, and, finally, chief. For promotion to positions higher than battalion chief, many fire departments now require a bachelor's degree, preferably in fire science, public administration, or a related field. An associate’s degree is required for executive fire officer certification from the National Fire Academy.

    Job Outlook [+]

    Prospective fire fighters are expected to face keen competition for available job openings.

    Applicants with the best chances are those who are physically fit and score the highest on physical-conditioning and mechanical aptitude exams. Those who have completed some fire fighter education at a community college and have EMT or paramedic certification will have an additional advantage.

    Employment change. Employment of fire fighters is expected to grow by 19 percent over the 2008–18 decade, which is faster than the average for all occupations. Most job growth will stem from volunteer fire fighting positions being converted to paid positions. In recent years, it has become more difficult for volunteer fire departments to recruit and retain volunteers, perhaps because of the considerable amount of training and time commitment required. Furthermore, a trend toward more people living in and around cities has increased the demand for fire fighters. When areas develop and become more densely populated, emergencies and fires affect more buildings and more people and, therefore, require more fire fighters.

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    Effective Dec. 3, 2018, Lanier Technical College's address will be: 2535 Lanier Tech Drive, Gainesville, GA 30507
    Phone: 770-533-7000 | Fax: 770-531-6328
    A Unit of the Technical College System of Georgia

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