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 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.
How to become a firefighter:
Many ask us about getting a job with 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.
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.
- Mr. F. Wayne Bailey, Office of the State Fire Marshal
- Chief Scott Burnette, Asheville Fire Rescue Department
- J. Robert Griffin, Deputy Chief, Asheville Fire Department, Retired
- Chief Anthony Penland, Swannanoa Fire Department
- Chief Jeff Justice, Reems Creek Fire Department
- Chief Steve Jones, Black Mountain Fire Department
- Mr. Jerry VeHaun, Director of Emergency Operations, Buncombe County
- Ryan Cole, Chief, Skyland Fire Rescue Department
- Tommy Brooks, Fire Service Training Continuing Education Coordinator, A-B Tech
Fire Service Certification Class Schedules
Our classes are listed in the Buncombe County Fire Training Calendar (link below) and on the Facebook page "Buncombe County Fire & Rescue Training".
Access the Buncombe County Fire Training Calendar with this link...
Check the Facebook page "Buncombe County Fire & Rescue Training" for updated schedules.
To register for classes see the "online registration" instructions below or contact Tommy Brooks 828-782-2139.
To register online for a course(s), please write down the course number. Click on the "Online Registration Button" below, login to the secure system, complete your information and enter the Course ID number. If you are not fee exempt, you may pay with an American Express, Visa, or MasterCard. Fee Exempt personnel should click the "I am exempt from paying" button and list your place of employment if you qualify. Please note that all fee exempt applicants are verified.
Renowned Miami Fire Captain Will Present Workshop at A-B Tech
Captain Bill Gustin Will Discuss Intelligent Fire Department Operation Sept. 9
A-B Tech Community College will host an intermediate level workshop, intended for command officers, company officers and firefighters aspiring to be company officers presented by Bill Gustin, Captain at Miami Dade Fire Rescue, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Monday, September 9 in Ferguson Auditorium on the Asheville campus.
Gustin, a 46-year veteran of fire service, is also a lead instructor in his department's officer training programs. Gustin currently serves on the editorial board and is a technical advisor for Fire Engineering Magazine. He began his fire service career in the Chicago area and teaches fire training programs in Florida and other states.
Intelligent Fire Department Operation will examine how changes in building construction and design, increased fire loads, recent research on fire dynamics, and reduced fire company staffing may call for a change in some traditional firefighting tactics.
This class will also examine modern fire dynamics; why wind-driven fires are not just a high-rise fire hazard and why ventilation without water application may make interior conditions worse.
Students will learn why experienced, professional firefighters, whether career or volunteer, do not operate at every fire, every phase of a firefighting operation, and every occupancy with the same strategy, tactics, or level of risk. Several fire case histories will be examined to identify and avoid the most common "mayday" situations. Students will also learn factors that must be considered in an on-going assessment that continually evaluates the risk to firefighters against the intended benefits.
Register online at Continuing Education Online Registration and search “Intelligent Fire Dept.”. The class is free for North Carolina firefighters. For more information, contact Tommy Brooks at (828) 782-2138.