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Southwest Fire Academy

Frequently Asked Questions

Southwest Fire Academy is a registered Private Career College that prides itself on providing forward-thinking, quality, and affordable Firefighter Pre-Service training in Ontario. This program is very flexible, as the theoretical portion of the course is done independently, on your own time. SFA’s unique training experience provides the most realistic firefighting environment, as the bootcamp portion of the program requires students to live on campus in a firehouse setting 24 hours per day. This enables students to learn what it truly means to be immersed in the world of firefighting, working together with your crew members to learn and complete tasks. All of our instructors are currently employed or retired from the fire service, and many of them work on the departments that you wish to join! At SFA, you will be trained by the best.  

We have an extensive list of other courses available, for those looking to advance their knowledge and skills as firefighters. Such courses include: vehicle rescue, rope rescue, hazardous materials courses, medical first response, and various officer development courses. SFA also provides training to over 60 fire departments and industrial clients in Ontario, so the education quality and reputation speaks for itself.  

Yes! Southwest Fire Academy is a registered Private Career College, governed by the Ministry of Training, Colleges, and Universities, and is an approved training provider through the Office of the Fire Marshal. At the end of the Firefighter Pre-Service Program, the OFMEM attends the campus and administers IFSAC and ProBoard Certification Exams. 

This program is a part-time blended training program with three components.  

The first portion involves independent online training, during which you learn by reading, viewing online presentations, and completing tests, prior to your arrival on SFA campus. This is done at your own pace, but you should anticipate this portion to take approximately three to six months of part-time study.  

The second portion of the program is the completion of Modules A-D and X. These modules are completed on campus. Modules A to D are each one full day of instruction, while Module X can either be completed in the evenings of Modules A to D, or as an additional day of study. During these modules, you will have hands-on training and experience with PPE and SCBA, and exposure to the tools you will be using during your bootcamp. You can complete these modules as many times as you would like, to gain extra experience.  

The final portion of the program is the bootcamp, which is an immersive 24-hours-per-day, 16-day firefighter experience. It is the final stage of the course, during which you live on campus and train as a firefighter. This portion includes your OFMEM certification testing for IFSAC and ProBoard.  

Module X is your self-guided on-campus module that must be completed prior to your bootcamp. During this module, you are required to do the following: 

  • complete two of three practice tests 
  • watch instructional saw videos 
  • complete Incident Report (JPR) assignment 
  • complete ERG HAZMAT worksheet 
  • review rubric Safety and Communications questions 
  • practice Fire Safety presentation 

The course cost is $8,795.00, plus taxes. This includes everything that you will need in order to complete your training. All of your meals, accommodations, gear rental, and examination fees are included in this price. At SFA, there are no hidden costs. 

While our stand-alone courses do not qualify for financial assistance, the Firefighter Pre-Service Program certainly can! This program can qualify for RESP payments and Second Careers funding. We also offer our own in-house financing plan.  

The SFA financing plan requires you to pay a deposit of 20% of your tuition, plus a $200+ tax financing fee, upon registration. An additional 20% of the tuition fee is required every thirty days thereafter, until 100% of the fee has been paid. Please note that the full tuition must be paid prior to the beginning of the bootcamp portion of the course. 

If successful, you will receive NFPA 1001 Firefighter Level I and Level II, as well as NFPA 1072 Hazardous Materials Awareness and Operations Levels certification

Upon completion of your exam, you can typically expect to wait six to ten weeks for your results, and approximately twelve weeks before receiving your certificate; however, there may be delays that are beyond the control of the OFM. This being said, the OFM is beginning to offer much of the testing in an electronic/online capacity, and test results will be generated immediately. As this is not yet entirely implemented, we recommend you reach out to the OFM directly for further information.  

You can defer to a later bootcamp six weeks prior to the start of your bootcamp, at no additional charge. You will be charged $500 if you cancel with less than six weeks notice. This fee increases to $1000 at the four week mark, and $1500 at or after the two week mark. This information is outlined in the contract that you receive when you register for your program. All fees are subject to applicable taxes. 

SFA offers many different courses, to help you advance your capabilities as a firefighter. Our courses include: pump operations; hazmat courses; officer courses; various technical rescue courses, including vehicle rescue, trench rescue, and ice rescue; and an array of specialized Beyond the Academy courses, offering a unique opportunity to learn specified skills from experts in the business. Check out a full list of our courses here.  

Yes! You have the opportunity to reside on campus when taking any SFA course. The fee for accommodations is $50 plus taxes (total) for a 1 – 2 night stay, and $100 plus taxes (total) for any stay 3 or more nights in duration. The maximum fee for accommodations of any duration is $100 plus taxes.

This fee grants you access to your firehouse-style dorm room with your own bunk, our washroom and showering facilities, parking, and a communal kitchen. 

If you are attending campus to take your Modules A-D and X for your Firefighter Pre-Service Program, you are welcome to stay overnight in the dorms free of charge. Your accommodations for the bootcamp portion of the program are also included in your tuition.  

If you wish to stay on campus overnight for any course or for your Modules A-D and X, please contact us ahead of your course date to reserve your dorm, as accommodations depend on availability. 

You are provided your IFSTA 7 and Hazardous Materials for First Responders textbooks by SFA for the Firefighter Pre-Service Program. If you wish to purchase a textbook for any other course, we may have it available for sale at SFA. Please inquire with us directly. If we do not have your textbook in stock, a good resource to utilize is the Firehall Bookstore. You can also look elsewhere online, as some websites offer electronic textbooks.  

SFA reserves the right to cancel any course. As a more practical guideline, if a course is not filled to 75% capacity 7 days before the beginning of the course, it is likely that it will be cancelled. In this event, you will be provided a full refund. Generally, this is the only reason a course will be cancelled. We try our very best to follow through with our commitments, and we do everything in our power to keep our scheduled courses on the books. 

For details on what happens when you are unable to attend a course that you have registered for, please review the following refund policies: SFA Policy 400-001 Student Refunds – Rebooking Fees (Pre-Service Course) and SFA Policy 400-010 Student Refunds – Rebooking Fees – Non-Vocational Courses. 

We are located about 25 minutes North of Barrie, just off of Highway 400. The campus address is 36 Hazel Street, in Waubaushene, Ontario. 

Call us at 705-510-9501 or email us at We would be happy to answer any questions you may have.  

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Make the change you always knew you needed!

By submitting this form, I agree that Southwest Fire Academy may call, text and/or email me about their educational services*