Frequently Asked Questions about Fire Fighting Essentials

What is Essentials?
FireFighting Essentials is designed to give the new or inexperienced Fire Fighter an introduction to the trade.  It teaches the basics of Safety, Personal Protective Equipment, Ventilation, Ladders, etc. in a fast-paced and informative atmosphere.  The focus is on safety and professionalism, and the instruction lets the candidate "hit the ground running" with a strong emphasis on teamwork and competence.  Although the course was developed to meet the needs of Granville County, it's lessons are applicable in any department.  For a detailed outline of the course of instruction, please click here .  In order to receive a certificate for the class, you will be required to successfully complete all practical exercises and pass the written progress tests and final exam.

Why do I need Essentials?
One of the most often repeated complaints by Volunteer Fire Fighters is how long it takes to learn the basic tasks necessary for the job.  There are a lot of reasons, from lack of personnel to lack of time, but the reality is that the new Fire Fighter is often forced to acquire knowledge via the time-consuming process of observation or the potentially lethal method of trial and error.  During this period, there is a real risk of liability for the department as the new "employee" learns how to do everything from respond to roll hose.  Essentials is designed to flatten that learning curve and help the Fire Fighter quickly learn the dangers of this job and how to work safely as his or her skills are honed.

What are the physical requirements?
The same as Fire Fighting.  You need to be in reasonably good physical condition.  You will be wearing from 30-80 pounds of gear in a hot, wet, stressful environment.  You will participate in exercises requiring the removal of fallen firefighters and/or victims from structures: your "victims" may weigh as much at 250 pounds.  If you are suffering from physical conditions worsened by stress or heat, you would be well advised to consult a physician before attending this class.  If you have time before the class begins, start working on your upper body, back, and leg muscles.  Increase your aerobic and anaerobic capacity by running, biking, swimming, etc.  Your Doctor, family, and Insurance Provider will appreciate it more than we will.

What are the risks?
Any way you look at it, Fire Fighting is a potentially risky endeavor.  You reduce that risk through knowledge, training, and preparation.  Good physical condition (see above) will also lessen your risk of injury.  Your instructors in this class will take very possible precaution to make this class as safe as possible and prevent accidents.  As a student, your responsibility will be to inform your instructors of any limitations, physical or otherwise, that may prevent you from performing the required tasks.  It is imperative that you follow instructions and act within your capabilities.  Every person in the exercise area must have a commitment to safety.  Even with every precaution followed, however, there is still a certain amount of risk inherent in Fire Fighting and a possibility that you may be injured or killed during training or live incidents. Emergency Medical Personnel will be on-site during all practical exercises..

Who are the Instructors?
The Essentials staff is a dedicated group of Volunteer and Career Fire Fighters who are Certified Instructors qualified by DOI to teach Fire Fighting in the State of North Carolina.  A minimum of three instructors will be on hand at all times, with a minimum of five instructors during Live Burn Exercises.

How do I sign up for the class?
In order to take Essentials, you need to be a member of a Fire Department, volunteer or career.  This will give you access to the equipment you will need to bring to the class and the insurance you will need to have in place.  Then, look at the schedule and make sure you can attend all 4 days of instruction.  This is very important! There is no "slack" time in this class and there are practical exercises and tests each day.  You cannot miss a day of this class and expect to complete it successfully.  Once you have cleared your schedule,  Request a Preregistration Packet .  This packet contains information forms, instructions, and waivers that have to be completed before you can take Essentials.  Please note that the number of positions in each Essentials class is limited and open positions are filled on a first-come, first-serve basis. The County sponsoring the class gets the first shot at most of the slots, but any unallocated positions are filled with open applications two weeks before the first teaching day.

What certification will I receive for this class?
You will be certified in Fire Fighting Essentials I.  This class is basic and does not cover the depth of material required for the Fire Fighter 1/2 certifications.  It will, however, give you a strong base that will help you to complete the FF1/2 course work.  In addition, you will have live burn experience and proof that you are comfortable with the gear and equipment that you will use as a Fire Fighter.

Where is Essentials Taught?
Essentials can be offered anywhere that the facility and class requirements can be met.  Among other things, a suitable burn structure must be available along with the apparatus and equipment to conduct the live burn without reducing the available response for the immediate area.  A list of the requirements for hosting Essentials is available by sending a request to .  You will receive a response detailing the facilities, training environment, and equipment as well as a approximation of the cost of the materials used in the class.  Please include mailing address, contact name, and contact numbers in request.