IFSI Plans to Expand Fire Academy

The Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI) is expanding the Basic Firefighter/NFPA Firefighter 1 Academy from six weeks to seven weeks.  The change and the additional integrated classes are at the request of fire chiefs across Illinois. Beginning with the Spring 2013 Academy, six additional topics are being added:  Courage to be Safe, HazMat Awareness, Technical Rescue Awareness, Fire Service Vehicle Operator and NIMS 100 and NIMS 700.

“The additional curriculum is a direct result of conversations we have been having with fire chiefs across the state,” Royal Mortenson, Director of IFSI said.  “They told us that incorporating the OSFM-required classes helped them get their firefighters better prepared in a concentrated time frame.”  By adding the additional components, fire departments do not have to plan for that specific training once the students have returned to their departments.

IFSI’s Academy is one of the last in the country to offer hands-on, live-fire training in real life scenarios.  Academy students benefit from a five-to-one student to instructor ratio and access to more than 100 skill-based drills, of which about 50 percent are in smoke and/or fire.  The curriculum for IFSI’s Academy exceeds the minimum requirements for Illinois’ Office of the State Fire Marshal.

To further enhance students’ and departments’ access to training, HazMat Operations and Vehicle Machinery Operations are offered immediately following the end of Academy.  HazMat Ops is offered the week after Academy graduation with tuition waived under funding from the Department of Homeland Security. Vehicle Machinery Operations is offered two weeks after Academy graduation and has a separate tuition fee of $400.

“We have kept the tuition increase for the seven-week Academy to a minimum — raising it only $250 for the additional five days of instruction,” according to Brad Bone, Director of Fire Fighting programs for IFSI.  The total tuition for the seven weeks is $3,000.

The Spring 2013 Academy begins on March 4, 2013 — a week earlier than originally scheduled. The Fall Academy begins on Tuesday, September 3, 2013 and includes four 10-hour days the first week to accommodate the Labor Day Holiday.

The Illinois Fire Service Institute is the State Fire Academy for Illinois. In addition to training provided at its Champaign campus, the institute offers hands-on classes for fire departments at Regional Training Centers and local fire stations across the State.  The mission of the Illinois Fire Service Institute is to help firefighters do their work through training, education, information and research.

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