Fire Technology Division

1. Fire Academy Requirements

Thank you for your interest in the College of the Sequoias Fire Academy.  We offer the FF 1 Academy once a year in the spring semester – January through May, and there are two prerequisites for the course.  These two courses are FIRE 159 - Introduction to Fire Protection and EMT 251, which is held on Mondays with a lab on either Tuesday or Wednesday. Our academy is a 12-unit course with 380 hours over a 19 week period.  The class meets Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 1745 to 2200 and all day on Saturday. 

There is no waiting list or other means of registering for the COS Firefighter 1 Academy other than the standard registration process through COS. If a student meets the prerequisites for the course then the computerized registration system will allow the student to enroll.

To attend COS you will need to complete the on-line application on our web site:     

2. How much does attending the Firefighter 1 Academy cost?

In addition to your tuition, you can expect to pay at least $400 for uniforms, $150 for textbooks and supplies, $650 to rent Personal Protective Equipment (firefighter turnouts), $210 for certificates covered as a material fee at the time of enrollment, an unknown amount for a medical examination (may or may not be covered by your personal insurance) and you will be paying for fuel, meals, etc. as you drive to various fire department training facilities throughout Tulare and Kings Counties. Persons who are already employed by a fire department will have the benefit of not having to rent gear or pay for a medical evaluation, but in round numbers the cost of attending this Academy will likely exceed $1500 for the average Cadet.

You must have good dependable transportation and cannot rely on others to get you to the College or our off-site training facilities.

3. Fire Academy Personal Protective Clothing Requirements

Cadets enrolled in the College of the Sequoias Firefighter I Academy MUST provide their own structural and wildland personal protective equipment (PPE).  Cadets may not share gear, and any cadet lacking the required gear will be dropped from the academy.  If a cadet is not affiliated with a fire department that can provide PPE, the cadet will need to either rent or purchase.

Cadets can expect to pay in excess of $650.00 to rent both structural and wildland PPE.  Purchase of this same gear will typically cost at least $1,200 to $2,000. Listed below are three companies that rent equipment to fire academy students.  The college is not specifically endorsing these vendors, but is simply providing their information as a convenience to you.  An internet search for “turnout gear rental” or “bunker gear rental” will provide information about other vendors.

The two internet based companies have been listed because their websites were attractive and easy to navigate. The L. N. Curtis & Sons information is listed as they appear to be the only California based company with a rental gear program.  The other companies listed are in other states.  Be aware that not all of the companies found on the internet have wildland PPE available for rent.

L.N. Curtis & Sons (Oakland, CA) – no online rental available, call:
Nathan Belcher at 800-443-3556 or Erik Anderson at 559-301-5156   or call 866-887-6688

Should you rent gear, or should you buy gear?

It’s your choice, but when you go to work for a fire department they will provide gear that meets their specifications, and will normally not let you use personal gear.  However, should you prefer to buy gear, an internet search for “turnout gear” or “wildland gear” will lead you to numerous vendor sites. 

Detailed information about gear is in the Academy Cadet Manual - “Appendix B – PPE”.

4. How long is the Academy?

380 hours over 20 weeks each spring semester. Attending this Academy will require a substantial commitment of both time AND money. You will be in class three nights a week, (5:45 p.m. to approximately 10:00 p.m.) and all day Saturday (7:45 a.m. to about 5:00 p.m.), every week from first Monday in January through the last Friday of May.
You might have class on State or Federal holidays that fall on a regular class day. You must be on time and stay for the complete class EVERY day.

5. How strenuous is the training?

Very! Before you may participate in this Academy, you will be required to obtain a medical clearance from your Doctor, at your expense.
Detailed information on this issue is in the enclosed document “Medical Clearance”.
You will be working hard, running, climbing, dragging, lifting, and… you will be expected to participate in group physical fitness training on Monday and Wednesday from 1745 to 1900.

6. Is there a lot of study involved?

Yes! You will need to study at home for several hours each week, and will have to make time to do so. To be successful, you must do a lot of reading and lecture note review, and you will be practicing hands-on skills outside of class hours as well.
You will have about 30 written exams, and hands-on skills evaluations throughout the Academy.

To meet State Fire Marshal requirements you must score at least 80% on each exam. A student will be required to retake an exam if their score is below 80%. Students can only take three retake exams. If a student fails any retake or a fourth exam, they will be dropped from the Academy.

Testing/Grading criteria is in the Academy Cadet Manual we will review it the first class day.

7. What textbooks and other basic supplies do I need?

The textbook for this Academy is the “FIREFIGHTER’S HANDBOOK: Essentials of Firefighting and Emergency Response”, Third Edition, published by DELMAR. You will also need the related “Student Study Guide/Workbook” (same title, edition, publisher).

Books are available at the College bookstore and on the Internet.

You will also need:
• 25 “Green” Scantrons (Item# 882e) – Available at the College Bookstore
• One sturdy 3” three-ring binder and notepaper
• A #2 pencil and black or blue ink pens

The Scantrons are available at the College bookstore but may not be available at all department stores or office supply outlets.

8. Do I have to buy Uniforms?

You are required to purchase and wear a Fire Academy uniform. The cost will depend on which options you select but will probably exceed $400. Detailed information about uniforms is in the Academy Cadet Manual - “Appendix A - Uniforms”.

9. How soon do I need to the Uniforms, PPE, etc.?

You must have your Medical Clearance, Uniforms, Turnout gear and other supplies by the second week of class. Some of these items make take a few weeks to get, and that’s exactly why I’m sharing this information to you now. Don’t wait! Start now.

10. Is Financial Aid available?

The short answer is “Maybe”, but based on past experience it is difficult to get all of the required funding by the first week of the academy. One reason for this is the fire academy starts one to two weeks before the regular spring semester at COS.

You may be suffering from “sticker shock” after reading above that, in addition to paying tuition, you are going to need to spend $1,500 or more to buy books, uniforms and rent gear for this Academy. So I want to share some important information about financial aid.

The College of the Sequoias Financial Aid Office has programs that may assist students who meet certain qualifications. Unfortunately, they do not have a program that will give anyone money in advance for this Academy. So even if you qualify, you will still have to pay up front for tuition, uniforms, gear rental and so forth. They may, however, be able to assist those who qualify by providing some reimbursement AFTER the fact.

If you would like more information regarding this, please call the College of the Sequoias Financial Aid office at 559-730-3747.

Additional Information

Please reference the attached Student Operations Manual for the Firefighter 1 Academy and the Uniform Policy.

More detailed information about the subjects discussed in these “Frequently Asked Questions” can be found in the Academy related documents on our website.

Last Updated: 4/2/2012 11:17 AM