Recruit School 101
Loudoun County Fire and Rescue’s Recruit Training Academy is a program designed to provide recruits with the basic instruction required to be an effective Firefighter/Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).
Recruit School incorporates three primary instructional areas: emergency medical, fire suppression, and physical fitness. Each of these areas address specific job functions – the ability to render effective care to the sick and injured; the ability to mitigate a fire or rescue emergency; and the ability to remain mentally and physically capable of performing these functions when needed. Additional areas of instruction include emergency vehicle operations (EVOC), hazardous materials (Hazmat) operations, Introduction to HTR I and II, HTR Vehicle Rescue, MayDay FF Down, MayDay RIT, and Rural Water Supply.
Over the course of Recruit School, recruits will be evaluated on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Daily evaluations include quizzes, tests, practical evolutions, and informal feedback from the Recruit Cadre. Recruits will participate in a physical fitness test every two months to measure their progress during physical training. Finally, the Recruit Cadre will conduct individual, monthly reviews to ensure that recruits are meeting the goals and objectives outlined in the Recruit Firefighter/EMT Performance Plan.
To be successful, recruits must be committed to this program. While the Recruit Cadre is available for additional tutoring or practicing, each recruit is ultimately responsible for ensuring that he or she learns the required material and is able to perform the necessary skills.
Finally, it is important to remember that Recruit School is only the beginning of the learning process. Once in the field, personnel must make an ongoing effort to continue to learn and practice throughout their career.
The Loudoun County Fire and Rescue Career Recruit School lasts approximately 30 weeks. Recruits will obtain numerous basic certifications such as the Virginia Department of Fire Programs Firefighter I and II, National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians (NREMT)-Basic, Mayday/Rapid Intervention Team (RIT) Training, and several other basic technical rescue training programs.
Recruit school is typically:
- Four-day work week (off Wednesdays and weekends)
- 6:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. is a normal day (80-hour pay period)
- Some trainings will take place at night, which recruits will know about in advance.
- Typically recruit school does not take place on weekends.
- There may be some cases where weekend attendance is required. This could be in connection to the recruit's hospital rotations during EMT training or due to a state certification test taking place on a weekend.
Recruit School follows a strict chain-of-command and expects a high level of discipline and respect at all times. We follow a paramilitary style of leadership due to the often chaotic scenarios we find ourselves in on emergency fire and EMS calls to include structure fires, motor vehicle crashes, acts of violence, hazardous materials incidents and more. Personnel are trained to follow orders with strict attention to detail to ensure a positive outcome for the public and department personnel.
It is very important to begin recruit school in a physical condition that will permit you to actively participate in the physical tasks required in school. The following outlines those physical expectations for recruit school.
- In the early weeks of recruit school, there will be occasional running, on average 2-3 miles a week, and various forms of physical conditioning exercises that are overseen by our Health and Wellness Manager.
- Physical conditioning exercises will vary and will include weightlifting and body weight exercises such as push-ups and pull-ups. The amount of weight and exercises will be dictated by our health and wellness manager based on the individual needs of each recruit. It is expected for a firefighter to carry an extra 50-75 pounds of weight under strenuous and potentially high heat/humid conditions.
- You will participate in the “firefighter-conditioning course” at various points throughout the academy.
- This is a physically challenging, job-specific course that is designed to strengthen the muscle groups most commonly used in the firefighting profession and will require you to work in an anaerobic state wearing turnout gear and air pack.
- Your turnout gear and air pack will add approximately 50 pounds of weight and hamper your body’s ability to cool down.
- During fire school, a typical morning consists of physical conditioning to include cardio and/or strenuous weight training for about one hour, and the first one-two hour rotations of practical drills. Practical drills are hands on skills that recruits are required to demonstrate with proficiency. In the afternoon, there are several more hours of practical drills. This schedule is only a typical day and will change occasionally to accommodate various classes.
Firefighter recruits will be measured monthly to track progress on:
- Running 1.5 miles (standards age dependent)
- 20+ leg tucks in two minutes is considered excellent
- 60+ hand release push ups in two minutes is considered excellent
- Up to 340-pound deadlift
- A sprint-drag-carry course (using a weighted sled)
Characteristics of a Successful Recruit
Teamwork. Integrity. Professionalism. Service-Oriented. Safety. Positive Attitude. Trust. Work Ethic. Discipline. Determination. Mutual Respect.
Cooperative effort by the members of a group or team to achieve a common goal.
Steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code. The quality of being upright in principle and action, even when on one is watching
Characterized by or conforming to the technical and ethical standards of a profession. Exhibiting a courteous, conscientious, and generally businesslike manner in the workplace.
Characterized by a personal commitment to serving the public good.
The condition of being free from danger, risk, or injury.
A state of mind or a feeling; disposition.
Firm reliance on the integrity, ability, or character of a person.
A set of values based on the moral virtues of hard work and diligence.
The control of oneself and one’s conduct.
Firmness of purpose; resolve.
A feeling of appreciation, often deferential regard, directed and received in an equal amount.