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how hands on is the firefighting training?

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Ryan’s Answer

Most firefighting training is extremely hands on. I currently work as the coordinator for a major regional firefighter academy in Colorado. Our typical fire academy is two days a week, for 15 weeks. In a typical day students will receive an academic lecture for 60-90 minutes, then workout for 30 minutes. They will then spend the next 4 to 6 hours doing physically demanding hands-on skills training.

If you're interested in wildland firefighting, the training is much shorter, though still hands on. To be certified as a basic wildland firefighter takes about 40 hours (1 week). 2-3 day in the classroom, then 2-3 days in the field practicing skills.

Both often require physical prerequisites to ensure you are a physically capable of performing the duties. For the structural academy, you may need to pass a CPAT test, or something similar. For wildland firefighting, you will likely need to take an NWCG Arduous Pack-Test (a 3 mile hike in 45 minutes while wearing a 45lb weight vest.)

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Renee’s Answer

It's pretty hands on and requires you to be at least close to good shape. Once you finish the training you'll be better prepared for what lies ahead in your career as a firefighter.