Fire Science

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About The Program

The Fire Science program prepares students for careers in the wildland and structural fire service. The combination of classroom instruction, extensive hands on training, in-the-field experience, and internships allow the student to develop skills required for successful employment in the Fire Service.This program is designed to meet the specific needs of municipal and wildland firefighting agencies in the Great Plains and Black Hills regions. Completion of the program will result in a firefighter well prepared to work on a fire in the hills or respond to a large structural fire. The successful student will have the opportunity to earn ProBoard and NWCG certifications.

The Firefighting Career

Every year, fires and other emergencies take thousands of lives and destroy property worth billions of dollars. Fire fighters help protect the public against these dangers by responding to fires and a variety of other emergencies. In addition to putting out fires, they are frequently the first emergency personnel at the scene of a traffic accident or medical emergency and may be called upon to treat injuries or perform other vital functions.

During duty hours, fire fighters must be prepared to respond immediately to a fire or others emergency. Fighting fires is dangerous and complex, therefore requires organization and teamwork. At every emergency scene, fire fighters perform specific duties assigned by a superior officer. At fires, they connect hose lines to hydrants and operate a pump to send water to high-pressure hoses. Some carry hoses, climb ladders, and enter burning buildings—using systematic and careful procedures—to put out fires safely.

At times, they may need to use tools, like an ax, to make their way through doors, walls, and debris, sometimes with the aid of information about a building’s floor plan. Some find and rescue occupants who are unable to safely leave the building without assistance. They also provide emergency medical attention to the occupants, ventilate smoke-filled areas, and attempt to salvage the contents of buildings or personal belongings. Fire fighters’ duties may change several times while they are on duty, and sometimes they remain at the site of a disaster for days at a time, rescuing trapped survivors, and assisting with medical treatment.

Fire fighters work in a variety of settings, including metropolitan areas, rural areas with grasslands and forests, airports, chemical plants and other industrial sites. They have also assumed a range of responsibilities, including emergency medical services as well as hazardous materials mitigation. In fact, most calls to which fire fighters respond involve medical emergencies. In addition, some fire fighters work in hazardous materials units that are specially trained for the control, prevention, and cleanup of hazardous materials, such as oil spills or accidents involving the transport of chemicals.

Although employment is expected to grow as fast as the average for all jobs, candidates for these positions are expected to face keen competition as these positions are highly attractive and sought after. Employment of workers in fire fighting occupations is expected to grow by 12 percent over the 2006-2016 decade.

WDT students train in real-life conditions so they are prepared to work as firefighters. The entire Fire Science programs used extensive hands-on training to give students real-life experiences so they learn the skills they need to be successful.