Fire & Environmental Emergency Response

Group of fire students wearing fire helmets and clothing

Program Mission

The Fire and Environmental Emergency Response Program is committed to provide training for individuals in the State of Hawaiʻi who are interested in developing entry level skills or in-service professional development required for employment in private, city, state, or federal agencies. Due to the workload demands of fire service personnel another goal is to provide opportunities that are flexible and have accessible delivery options including distance education, evening and weekend classes, and accelerated course offerings.

Program Description

The Fire and Environmental Emergency Response Program courses are provided to meet the needs of the in-service professional as well as students who are not employed by the Fire Service. This Program is designed to prepare students academically for the Fire Service Field, i.e., insurance adjuster, investigator, and safety and building inspector.

Students at Honolulu Community College, who complete 12 credits of Fire and Environmental Emergency Response college credit, may receive up to 26 credits of Fire and Environmental Emergency Response credits for completing Basic Recruitment Training for fire fighting as required by government agencies using Pro Board or IFSAC (International FIRE Service Accreditation Congress) certification. In addition students may be eligible to participate in a cooperative work program that will allow up to a maximum of 6 units of elective Fire and Environmental Emergency Response credits for completion of this program.

An Associate in Applied Science Degree is awarded to students who complete the General Education requirements ** and the 45 units of Fire and Environmental Emergency Response credits. A Certificate of Achievement may be awarded to students who complete 25 hours of the required Fire and Environmental Emergency Response credits.

Health and physical requirements vary with the employers in the Fire and Environmental Emergency Response field so prospective students should seek advice before enrolling.

Program Prerequisites

Associate in Applied Science:

  • Placement in ENG 100; MATH 50 OR Placement in MATH 150 or higher

Certificate of Achievement:

  • Placement in ENG 100; Placement in MATH 24/50

Degrees That Can Be Earned

  • Associate in Applied Science (AAS)
  • Certificate of Achievement (CA)

Cost of Textbooks/Supplies

  • Tuition based on total credits taken.
  • Books approximately $100 - $250 per semester.
  • Fees for clothing rental and equipment purchase for 280A, 280B, and 280C could exceed $1,000.

Upon successful completion of the FIRE program, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge and skills required to respond appropriately to fire, medical, and environmental emergency situations at the private, city, state, or federal level.

Our program technical standards have been developed to help students understand the minimum essential mental, physical, and behavioral skills necessary for participation in and completion of all core aspects of our curriculum.

Thinking Skills


Apply proper principles and strategies in fire fighting, protection, and prevention.


  • Read and comprehend national and local codes used in fire prevention.
  • Explain scientific principles of combustion, fire behavior and hydraulics.
  • Follow proper procedures for fire inspection and investigation.
  • Use mathematical formulas and equations.
  • Identify fire problems and appropriate prevention and suppression tactics.
  • Determine fire ground management strategies for financial, physical and facility resources.

Sensory/Observation Skills


Assess environment and facilities for fire prevention and safety.


  • Scan for hazard indicators.
  • Distinguish pumps, hydrants, and related apparatuses.
  • Survey for hazardous substances.
  • Detect warning signals.
  • Select appropriate materials and tools for task.
  • Judge distances and spatial relationships of objects.
  • Distinguish basic colors.

Motor Skills


Possess sufficient physical strength, flexibility, and dexterity to participate in lab activities (labs are elective).


  • Practice medical skills used in emergencies.
  • Maneuver in confined spaces.
  • Work at varying heights.
  • Climb ladders or ropes.
  • Regain balance in unstable positions.
  • Suit up in protective gear.
  • Participate in outdoor hands-on field training in fire suppression.
  • Manipulate heavy tools and equipment appropriately for fire suppression.

Communication Skills


Communicate effectively to gather and convey information.


  • Obtain necessary information from oral and written sources.
  • Express information coherently.

Behavioral Skills


Behave appropriately and safely in a shared learning environment.


  • Work independently with minimal supervision.
  • Work cooperatively with partners and groups.
  • Follow through with individual and shared responsibilities.
  • Exercise good judgement.
  • Follow safety procedures.

Environmental Tolerance


Function safely in an indoor/outdoor lab environment (labs are elective).


  • Work for prolonged periods amidst: Extreme noise, Extreme heat, Sharp tools and materials, Electrical equipment, Chemicals and toxins, Dust and fumes, Machinery with moving parts, Moving objects and vehicles, Ladders and scaffolding, Slippery or uneven surfaces, Variations in lighting

Section 1


1) Will the FIRE program prepare you for a firefighting career?

Yes, the FIRE program will teach you the academic skills necessary for entry into the fire service field, i. e., fire fighter recruit, insurance adjuster, fire investigator. However, to qualify for fire fighter recruit positions in government agencies, you are not required to complete the program. You will learn about 1) Fire Behavior, Prevention, Suppression and Control 2) Fire Rescue and Emergency Medical Response and 3) Operations, Management and Administration. The FIRE program is not designed to prepare you for the recruit written exams required by some FIRE jobs. Once you are a firefighter, a FIRE degree may help you get a promotion.

2) Is there a way for teenagers and young adults to find out more about the career and work of a fire fighter?

The Honolulu Fire Department (HFD) Fire Explorers Program introduces teenagers and young adults to firefighters' duties. These experiences help youth to become more mature, responsible and compassionate. For more information, call the HFD's Support Services section at 808-723-7115 or visit the HFD website at FAQ.

3) When are the FIRE classes offered?

FIRE classes are offered in the Fall and Spring semesters. Some are offered only in Fall semesters and others only in Spring semesters. Go to Honolulu CC's Class Availability. Read the comments at Class Availability for each of your classes. Classes are sometimes cancelled for low enrollment.

Some FIRE courses are offered exclusively through Distance Education (DE) while other FIRE courses are offered once per week in class in the day or evening or weekends.

4) Is there anything unique about the FIRE courses?

  1. In addition to traditional class lectures and discussion, some classes are offered via Distance Education and require motivated and conscientious students.
  2. National certifications are awarded upon successful completion of certain fire courses. Some require passing national certification exams:
    1. Firefighter 1 and 2 for successful completion of FIRE 280A and FIRE 280B courses
    2. HazMat Operation for successful completion of FIRE 207 course
    3. Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) - Basic for passing the National Registry exams. Completion of FIRE 119B and FIRE 119C will provide students with theory and practical knowledge as preparation for passing the National Registry of EMT.

5). What courses should you take in your first semester in the program if you meet the program prerequisites of placement in ENG 100 and MATH 150?

The following FIRE first semester courses may be offered in the Fall or Spring semesters.

  • FIRE 100 - Introduction to Fire Protection (3 credits)
  • FIRE 102 - Fundamentals of Fire Prevention (3 credits)
  • FIRE 117 - Basic Rescue in the Fire Service (3 credits)

You can also take the following general education classes:

  • ENG 100
  • MATH 150, 100, 103, 135, 140 or higher
  • Social Sciences


6) What courses can you take if you do not meet the program prerequisites of placement in ENG 100 and MATH 150?

Most important for you is to complete the prerequisite English and Math courses with "C" or higher grades. Then you would satisfy the prerequisites of placement in ENG 100 and MATH 150 which are the FIRE program prerequisites.

If you place into MATH 24 and 25 or 50 or 75X, you have the following options:

  1. Take MATH 24 and MATH 25, earn "C" or higher grades in both then enroll in MATH 100, 103 or 150.
  2. Take MATH 50, earn a "C" or higher grade then enroll in MATH 150.
  3. Take MATH 75X, earn a "C" or higher grade then enroll in MATH 100 or 150.

Be sure to read the course descriptions for the general education courses. General education courses applicable to the FIRE degree are: ENG 100, MATH 150/100/103 or higher, CHEM 105, Social Sciences, and Humanities & Arts.

7) Should you purchase textbooks before the semester begins?

For certain FIRE courses, textbooks must be ordered on-line two weeks before the start of the semester at or call 800-727-3327. Be sure to read the comments for each course at STAR Registration as textbook information may be posted there. This is subject to change at the discretion of the instructor.

Generally, the recommendation is to purchase your textbooks prior to the beginning of the semester. If you wait until your first day in class, the textbooks may be sold out. You would also avoid the chaos of long lines in the first week of the semester.

8) As a student with a full time day job or not living on Oahu, is it possible to complete the FIRE program with Distance Education (DE) courses? Or evening and weekend courses for students with full time day jobs?

Some FIRE courses are offered through DE. Required FIRE courses such as 119B, 119C, 207 and 280B however involve hands on learning and are offered in class in the day time. You would have to take these courses at Honolulu CC on Oʻahu.

It is important that you take the FIRE courses in the order presented in the Graduation Pathway (GP) which is posted on this page or can be viewed in STAR GP. The first semester FIRE courses are prerequisites or required preparation for the second semester courses. Third semester FIRE courses also are needed to be taken in order to satisfy prerequisites for fourth semester FIRE courses.

As for the general education requirements, most courses are offered in the evening or through DE at Honolulu CC or at other University of Hawaiʻi Community Colleges (UHCC):

MATH 100, 103, 135 or higher has been offered as a DE course at Honolulu CC or at other UHCC.

CHEM 105 has been offered as a DE course during Fall semester and sometimes in the summer.

Humanities and Fine Arts

Social Sciences

Section 3

11) What course waiver/substitutions are typically accepted?

CHEM 105 may be substituted with CHEM 151 and 151L provided you earned a C or higher grade. Certain other CHEM courses above 151 have also been accepted as substitutions.

See an academic counselor to complete the course waiver substitution forms. If you are receiving veteran's benefits, the form must be approved after completion of course so you will not receive veteran's benefits while taking the course. Substitution will be posted to your record and you can view at STAR (online academic advising tool) once all approvals are received and grade is posted.

12) Will you be able to use college courses, Advanced Placement (AP) scores or CLEP scores for the FIRE degree?

Yes, college courses, AP scores and CLEP scores that are applicable toward the FIRE degree can be accepted in transfer however grade, grade points and grade point averages (GPA) cannot be transferred. Your GPA at Honolulu CC will be based on your grades at Honolulu CC.

Courses completed at a regionally accredited U.S. institution grades are generally accepted in transfer with a D or higher grade.

You can find out whether your college course or AP scores or CLEP scores will be accepted in transfer by going to the UH System Course Transfer Database. Go to List and follow directions. If your course is not listed, provide Records Office with the course descriptions. Descriptions will be attached to the official transcript received from the non-UH system institution you attended.

To have a transcript evaluated, do the following:

Request that the institution that you attended send an official transcript and course descriptions (if from a non-Hawaiʻi institution) to Honolulu CC Records Office. If the institution is part of the UH system, an official transcript does not need to be sent as Honolulu CC can view your record at other UH system institutions.
Complete the Transcript Evaluation Request Form [PDF] to trigger evaluation of your transcripts. Submit completed form to Honolulu CC's Records Office.

Honolulu CC Records Office
874 Dillingham Blvd
Honolulu, HI 96817
(808) 845-9120

The Transfer Student checklist is posted at Honolulu CC’s website. Go to How to Apply, then Admissions, then to Transfer Student Information. Go to the bottom, to Transfer Checklist.

13) Is it possible to get FIRE college credits if you are working in a FIRE work related experience while in the FIRE program?

Yes, you may be eligible to receive credit through the Cooperative Education Program for a fire-related work experience. The class is FIRE 193v. Some of the eligible jobs include:

  • Firefighter
  • Fire Inspector
  • Lifeguard
  • Fire Sprinkler Installation & Service Worker
  • Hazmat Technician

14) Will you be able to use fire fighter experience or training for the FIRE degree?

Honolulu CC does not give college credits for work experience however does grant college credits for fire related training. Documentation of training must be certified by national organizations such as ProBoard or International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC). Additionally certificates of completed training from Federal Fire Department, Aircraft Rescue & Fire-Fighting Department, Honolulu Fire Department, Hawaiʻi County Fire Department, Kauaʻi Fire Department, and Maui Fire Department are accepted. Certificates of training issued by other fire departments, agencies, institutions or states have not been accepted in transfer due to the varying levels of standards.

The following Certificates of Completion of Training from the above organizations or departments are accepted:

  • Hazardous Materials Awareness and Operations - Submit your training certificates for credit for FIRE 207 Haz Mat Awareness and Operations.
  • Fire Fighter I and II - Submit your training certificates for credit for FIRE 280A Firefighter I & II and 280B Firefighter I & II Lab.

First Responder Training & Current Certification:

Certificates issued by Emergency Medical Technology Program at Kapiolani Community College non-credit and by the National Registry of EMT have been accepted for FIRE 119B & 119C Emergency Medical Technician credit. Submit first responder initial training (about 40+ hours) and current certification card and you will get credit for FIRE 103 Medical Emergency First Responder.

Certificates of Other Non-Credit Training That Are Fire-Related:

First, check the UH System Course Transfer Database. Go to list and follow directions. If your training is not in the Database, e-mail Marilynn Ito-Won at

Second, if your training is in the Database, take original certificate to Records Office and ask them to make a copy and attach to your Transcript Evaluation Request Form [PDF].

Third, if your training is not in the Database, make a copy of all documentation from national organizations including certificates, outlines or syllabus of noncredit training courses. E-mail Marilynn Ito-Won at to find out if you can receive college credit.

National Fire Academy (NFA) Training:

Additionally you can get transfer credit for training completed with the NFA. You can request an official transcript of the noncredit training completed from National Emergency Training Center (NETC)

Office of Admissions, Bldg O-007
16825 South Seton Ave.
Emmitsburg, MD 21727-8998

Request the official transcript be sent directly to Honolulu CC Records Office at:

874 Dillingham Blvd
Honolulu, HI 96817
(808) 845-9120

Note: not all NFA training are posted to your NFA transcript. You may want to request a copy of your transcript sent to you. If your training is on a certificate of completion issued by NFA however not on your NFA transcript, take your original certificates to Records Office.

To get your training accepted in transfer:

  1. Submit certificates of initial training and current certification if needed to the Records Office.
  2. Ask Records Office to copy the certificates and you should keep your originals.
  3. Complete the Transcript Evaluation Request Form [PDF] and submit to Records Office.
  4. Once evaluated, the transfer courses will be posted to your STAR transcript.

15) Will you be able to use your experience or training as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) or as a Paramedic toward the FIRE degree?

Yes, you can be granted credits provided:

You earned college credit for the EMT-B courses from a regionally accredited college or university


You have an initial certificate of EMT-B training and a current certificate issued by the National Registry of EMT.

Your certificate cannot be expired.

Credit will be granted for FIRE 119B Emergency Medical Technician Part A and FIRE 119C Emergency Medical Technician Part B for a total of 7 credits. These credits count as FIRE elective credits. Once evaluated, you will receive a Transfer Credit Evaluation granting you the FIRE 119B and 119C credits.

EMT certificates issued by individual states or institutions other than the National Registry of EMT are not accepted for credits because of the varying standards.

Paramedic or Mobile Intensive Care Technician experience or training may be accepted toward the FIRE degree as a course waiver/substitution for FIRE 119B and 119C.

Contact Marilynn Ito-Won at for details on course substitutions.

Section 4

16) If you take a break from college, can you follow the old program requirements or do you have to follow the current requirements?

If your break has been one semester then you can follow the old requirements.

If your break has been one year or longer, you should follow the requirements in place when you re-apply to Honolulu CC. If your break has been less than 3 years, see an academic counselor to complete the Exception to Graduation Options to ask for permission to graduate with the old requirements.

You may want to compare the old requirements to the current requirements by running an Academic Essentials and What If Journey in STAR. STAR is also available at MyUH Services.


17) Are there opportunities for volunteer fire fighters on Oahu?

There are no volunteer fire companies on Oahu as stated on the FAQs on the Honolulu Fire Department (HFD) websiteas of 4/23/2014.

18) What kind of fire fighting experience can FIRE students get?

Wildland firefighting is the most common way for FIRE students to get fire fighting experience. Seasonal wildland opportunities are offered on the mainland in the summer and sometimes run into the fall semester depending on the wildland fire season. Students have typically worked in Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. Applications are available around November to February. You can research opportunities on the internet:

USDA Forest Service Temporary Fire (On Mainland) at

Alaska Fire Service Bureau of Land Management e-mail:

To prepare for these wildland federal positions, you could take Wildland fire courses like:

  • FIRE 151 - Introduction to Wildland Fire Control
  • FIRE 152 - Wildland Fire Control Field Methods
  • FIRE 154 - Wildland Urban Interface Operations.

19) Are there fire fighting recruit positions in Hawaiʻi ?

Yes there are fire employment opportunities. You can apply for positions only when there is open recruitment. During non-recruitment periods, applications are not accepted.

FIRE employers in Hawaiʻi are:

County Fire Departments Honolulu Fire Department is responsible for civilian or non military areas on Oʻahu. The neighbor island departments are Hawaiʻi County Fire Department, Kauaʻi Fire Department and Maui Fire Department which is also responsible for Molokai, Lanai and Kahoolawe.

Federal Fire Department (FFD) is responsible for all the military bases and facilities on Oʻahu or (go to application web sites)

Pathways Program for Students
FFD may recruit through the Student Trainee or Recent Grads options. To see the Firefighter Student Trainees vacancy announcement, go to If the link is not available, the job vacancy has been removed.
Students need to pay attention to detail and carefully complete the application. These new options replace the Student Career Experience Program (SCEP).

Army Wildland Fire Department is responsible for controlling fire-prone vegetation in Wheeler, Schofield, Makua, Kahuku, Dillingham East Range on Oʻahu. Click on or (go to application web sites).

Aircraft Rescue & Fire-Fighting Department is responsible for the state airports. Go to (go to departments or employment) or to Department of Transportation Airports .

Private Fire Departments or Businesses - there may be other companies that have fire related positions.

20) Does Honolulu CC offer classes that prepare applicants to take the firefighter recruit exams?

Honolulu CC does not currently offer any prep classes for the fire recruit test.

NOTE: information is provided to the best of our knowledge and is subject to change.