Monday, March 2, 2015

Online Firefighter Recruit Academy - 'Excellent Program'

I want to share with you my recent experience with a TEEX course, ORT300 for NFPA 1001 Firefighter I & II along with HAZMAT. I was a volunteer firefighter and have been dreaming of serving as a full-time firefighter for a long time. Taking 2 years off of work to be able to take a traditional Canadian course unfortunately was not an option for me. I am married and have a daughter, so I was not able to put my family on hold for two years without income.


When I learned about the TEEX online/boot camp course, I found it to be an excellent way for me to get my NFPA 1001 Firefighter I & II.

Online Training

The online course was excellent! Having a background in firefighting, I found it both appealing for someone with some background as well as covering the basics for students starting from scratch. The videos and questions were excellent as well as the online forum postings.

One of my concerns taking this course was that I was going to be studying after work and weekends. I was worried about not being able to get help during those hours. I found out that I couldn’t have been more wrong! All the way through the online course, I was blown away by the support I received from the instructors. Mr. Jason Loyd’s help was amazing! Every time I had a question, he was there to help, it didn’t matter the time.

Mr. Rhett Filburn also offered his help with any questions and a great building assignment as well as help with knots. He also responded promptly to emails and any questions I had. Mr. Benjamin Miller also helped me out with HAZMAT questions I had and also helped me stay on track with physical fitness guides and updates. All in all, the support I received during the online course was more than I expected. The instructors were available and encouraged any questions or feedback.

Boot Camp

After completing the online course I then arrived in College Station, TX, for my 21-day boot camp. The first thing I noticed was that the facilities, from the washrooms all the way to equipment storage, everything was clean, well-maintained and in excellent condition!

I will break up my boot camp review in 4 sections: Physical Training, HAZMAT, Firefighter I & II and Instructors.


Physical Training

The physical training was excellent! I never thought I could be pushed that hard. The encouragement from the instructors was great. The fitness exercises were geared around firefighting, like climbing the tower, controlling your breathing, etc. I also found that the team-building was a great part of it. As much as they pushed us, they had a great program for students that were injured. They pushed me to my limits but never pushed me to do something I was unable to do. Stretching before and after every PT session was great! Excellent program!

HAZMAT

In my opinion, HAZMAT is a tough subject to teach. There is a lot of material to cover and in the short amount of time that we had, it was well covered and the instructors were excellent! The hands-on portion was realistic, and I learned a lot from it. The exam portion was very well organized and well thought-out. There were a lot of us, and it flowed really well. I did have to get help with the HAZMAT PPE section of my testing and the after-hours help was excellent! Great job on the HAZMAT portion!

Firefighter I & II

When I found out the number of people that were attending this course, my first thought was that I was not going to get the one-on-one time with instructors I would have got if I was in a smaller group. Boy, was I wrong! The course was well-planned and every training session I attended was excellent! The training materials were great! Everything from bunker drills, ladder training, live-fire training was done safely and professionally. I have nothing but great memories and learned so much from this course. The intensity and flow of the course was amazing. I ran into a couple of minor issues with my SCBA and they were resolved by the next morning. I cannot say enough good things about the training! Excellent job!



Instructors

I wish I had a list of all the instructors’ names to be able to personally thank each one of them.  The instructors taught not only firefighting, but also taught by example. Every one of the instructors showed passion and professionalism. They were approachable, friendly and led by example! I can’t say enough about the group of instructors we had! They encouraged us, offered extra help after hours, showed us different ways to do things, shared personal experiences and their passion was contagious!

I never had a day where I had an instructor that gave me the impression that they “had to be there.” I have been to firefighter course in the past where the content was great, but the instructors gave the impression that they were looking forward to the end of the day; but with the amount of hours we had, I always saw 100% effort with every instructor.

TEEX should be proud of the team of instructors they have! Chief Loyd, Buford, Deemer, Filburn, Stewart, Miller, Seaback, Dugan, Hindman, Carsey, Ford, York, Connor and all the ones I missed: these guys are top-notch and are excellent role models and instructors I am thankful I had the chance to meet and learn from! Instructors can make or break a course and they sure made this course an excellent one! Excellent job, guys!

In conclusion, I want to say thank you for giving me the opportunity to get my certification. I would not have been able to do this with a traditional course.  I will make sure I represent the TEEX name with pride when one day I serve full-time as a firefighter, in part, thanks to TEEX. I would recommend this course to anyone!

by Joel Woods of Kawartha Lakes, Ontario, Canada. Woods, 35, completed the TEEX Online Firefighter Recruit Academy, held Sept. 2 - Dec. 22, 2014, and is now a certified firefighter.