Training programs for aspiring firefighters include training on how to suppress and extinguish fires in a variety of environments, how to manage hazardous materials, how to utilize fire fighting equipment, and how to evacuate and treat injured people. Training often ranges from six weeks to four months, although there are longer programs that culminate in a fire science degree. The programs involve classroom learning combined with hands-on practice.
Each hiring facility has its own training requirements, but many places expect that new firefighters have a combination of volunteer experience and post-secondary fire training at a college or trade school. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics stipulates that firefighters must either join the profession knowing, or be willing to learn, how to correctly use pumps, hoses and other apparatus in order to hold back and extinguish fires, how to successfully clear a burning building and assist people injured in the blaze, and how to operate emergency vehicles and pump engines. It also states that potential firefighters must know how to maintain fire fighting equipment.
In school, prospective firefighters learn how to use ladders, hoses, axes, chain saws and fire extinguishers. Students learn search and rescue procedures, the science of fires, and building codes. They often learn how to raise public awareness about fire prevention, disaster prevention and arson. Students learn how to manage difficult situations, such as fires in cars, subways, attics and high-rise buildings.