Recruit school is one of the most remarkable times of a firefighter’s career. Recruits learn to work as a team and are challenged mentally and physically each day. With each day building on the one before, the best strategy for success is to be on time, be fit, study, and follow directions. Recruit school conducts small group adult learning as part of their curriculum structure.
Plan to arrive about an hour early to have time to set up gear, equipment, and be ready to start your day with the appropriate uniform. The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department is a paramilitary organization with a rank structure. You must address people with a “sir” or “ma’am” and are always expected to follow directions.
There are protocols for professionalism as well as standards for conduct on fire academy grounds. For example, casual conversation in the hallways is not allowed, visitors are not permitted, and cell phones must remain locked in lockers during the training day.
First Training Session
Basic Training staff will provide an overview of daily routine and introduction to the academy and academy staff. New recruits will meet with recruitment and various department heads, complete paperwork, ensure gear and uniforms fit appropriately, and meet fellow recruits.
Basic Training is an accelerated academic curriculum. Recruits should set aside time after a full day of training to study. Recruits must pass all quizzes and exams to obtain certifications. Recruits will be issued a laptop to complete curriculum, quizzes, and exams.
Recruit school follows a routine schedule. Upon arriving to the Fire and Rescue Academy, recruits change into the appropriate uniform or physical training clothes (shorts/sweatpants and t-shirt/sweatshirt), complete housework and set up equipment for the day’s activities. Recruits then participate in a rotation of: physical training activities, lunch, shower, and small group lecture or hands on practical evolutions.. Recruits have at least 30 minutes for lunch. The day concludes with storing equipment, cleaning as needed, and changing into civilian clothes to go home.
Things to Consider
Career and education goals
Professional excellence is one of our core values we strongly recommend continuing career goals, education, and skill sets while waiting for a position in the Fire and Rescue Department.
Maintain hobbies and relationships
Continue participating in hobbies and maintaining positive relationships. Recruit school is challenging, and candidates will need support systems during and after.
Relocation plan for non-local applicants
Once employed with Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, candidates requiring relocation should familiarize with county neighborhoods, housing options, costs, transportation, and traffic flow.
There are several housing options available in the area. The Recruitment Section keeps a list of fire department members who are renting rooms. Contact Recruitment for more information. Additionally, Fairfax County also offers Magnet Housing, Workforce Dwelling Unit (WDU), and Affordable Dwelling Unit (ADU) program options.