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A fire instructor is a fire service professional who trains firefighters of all ranks so that they can work more safely, effectively, and efficiently. To become a fire instructor, someone usually needs to be trained as a firefighter, and to complete a series of courses which are designed to provide information about current instructional techniques. Fire instructors work in a variety of settings, from schools which train firefighters to organizations which offer mobile training workshops to volunteer firefighters who want to improve their skills, but cannot afford to travel to attend classes at a firefighting school.
Fire instructors work in the field and in the classroom. In the classroom, they discuss theory and ethical practices with their students. Firefighting is a science, and a fire instructor is responsible for teaching students about the science of fire so that they can learn to fight fires more effectively. Classroom education also includes discussions about industry standard practices in firefighting, and the ethical obligations of firefighters.
Fire instructors may also provide instruction in medical aid so that firefighters can respond to medical emergencies when they respond to fires. Firefighters also learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation and other basic first aid skills, just like other first responders do. In the field, a fire instructor shows students how to work with firefighting apparatus, and students are also taken to controlled burns and other staged emergencies so that they get an opportunity to practice their skills.
Many fire instructors belong to professional organizations. These organization promote a high standard of behavior and training for their members, and they also provide their members with networking opportunities, the chance to attend conferences, and trade publications which discuss the latest developments in the field of firefighting. A skilled fire instructor keeps up with new safety protocols, new releases of equipment, and the ever-growing arsenal of tools available to firefighters.
General fire instruction covers a range of basic topics which are designed to provide students with the tools they need to work safely. A fire instructor may also choose to specialize in more detailed issues, such as fighting oil fires, responding to terrorist attacks, high rise fires, car fires, water rescue, and so forth. A traveling fire instructor who provides classes and workshops to regional fire departments may carry along a broad assortment of equipment to demonstrate new techniques and to provide specific information about topics of interest, while fire instructors at firefighting schools often have access to structures specifically designed for firefighting training, such as houses built to practice controlled burns.
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