Overview of Fire Protection
Fire protection encompasses not only the fire service, represented by our community’s fire departments and their members, but the civilians who work for fire departments in various roles, those who work elsewhere in government in fire-related roles, and those in the private sector who are involved in fire prevention or related pursuits.
Fire Protection Technology Mission Statement
The Mission of the Fire Protection Technology Program of Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College is to provide a positive environment for higher education that will contribute to increased knowledge of fire protection enabling students to better educate and protect the citizens of the communities they serve.
Fire Protection Recognition of Accomplishments
The college may recognize prior accomplishments for students enrolled in the Fire Protection Technology Program as follows:
- FIP 120 - NC certificate as a Firefighter II Firefighter III for certificates issued prior to 1992
- FIP 128 - NC certificate as a Fire Investigator
- FIP 136 - NC certificate as a Fire Inspector
- FIP 224 - NC certificate as a Fire Instructor
- FIP 230 - NC Certificate as a Hazmat Technician
*Prior work in other college programs may also be recognized. Documentation is required.
Check with the program chair after enrolling for more information.
Careers in Fire Protection
Firefighters are often credited with saving lives and property. But others in fire protection should be credited as being heroes. Now make no mistake about it, nothing in fire protection is as exciting as firefighting. But there are others who do not normally run into burning buildings or make dramatic rescues. However, they are just as committed to your safety as firefighters, if not more so, for these are the people who design, install, test, and maintain the fire protection detection and suppression equipment located in every commercial and industrial building in our community. In addition, there are people in state and local government who approve these installations and inspect them regularly to make sure that we stay safe. The insurance industry plays a role here as well. Insurance companies also inspect commercial and industrial buildings to make sure that their interests (reduced losses) are represented. Insurance company employees also investigate fires that occur to learn lessons that will enhance prevention activities, and to validate the claim. Our program can lead to a career in any of these fields.
How to become a firefighter:
Many ask us about getting a job with of the fire departments in our area. We are flattered to be asked but we have no real role in the firefighter-selection process, However, we may be able to shed a little light on how that process works.
Most fire departments hire personnel as vacancies occur within their organization. Firefighters are generally a pretty content group, so there is little turnover. However, there is always turnover as some leave and others retire. And, in some areas, fire departments are adding new positions. All of these represent opportunities for those who wish to join.
In most fire departments the selection of new personnel is a very competitive process. The chance of selection is based on such variables as the reputation of the organization, the nature of the economy, and the availability of alternatives for those who like this type of work.
Improving your chances of selection as a firefighter:
Given the competitive nature of the fire service hiring process, here are some suggestions on improving your chances:
Stay in the education process. If still in high school, stay there and graduate. If graduated from high school, go to college and get all the education you can. An associate (2-year) degree will soon be a minimum standard for entry into the fire service. Any college program is better than none, but we think that our program should be the most helpful. Regardless of your choice, take this activity seriously: You are spending good time and money to go to college. Make the most out of it, learn all you can, and establish a good record for yourself.
In addition to staying mentally fit, stay physically fit. While world-class status is not essential, lifting weights and running are generally recognized as good ways of staying healthy. Because of the nature of the work, fire departments select only healthy and fit people. This means you will have to pass a fitness test to get in.
Be a good citizen: Stay out of the grasp of law enforcement agencies. This means safe driving, no drugs, and of course no other crimes, things that will haunt you the rest of your life.
Finally, get involved as a volunteer firefighter or rescue squad member in your community. In most places the training for firefighter or emergency medical technician (EMT) is free. Get as much training as you can and become certified as a firefighter and EMT. These activities will show any prospective employer that you are really interested in the profession, not just a job.
Please keep in mind that you would certainly want the best firefighter to help you during your emergency and you would certainly want the best EMT to help a friend or family member during a time of need. Fire departments hire the best people who apply. If you want to be competitive in this process, you should try your best to be the best by doing everything suggested here.