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National Fire Academy takes a green initiative

Published on 14 September 2010
National Fire Academy has taken a green initiative by curtailing the usage of paper and recycling the paper waste materials
As a green initiative, soon students will be allowed to take laptops for classroom notes and activities

In an effort to reduce paper use and waste, the National Fire Academy (NFA) is pilot testing a program to have student manuals delivered on compact disk.

In the last few years, students have regularly encouraged the NFA to reduce paper usage and to focus on “green” efforts.  Excess baggage fees charged by airlines provided added impetus to switch to the electronic option. Often, at the end of each class cycle, NFA staff finds a number of student manuals discarded; of no use to anyone because they’ve been written in or otherwise made unusable.

Students attending the NFA in November will be the first who are able to obtain the entire student manual on compact disk when they arrive at the National Emergency Training Center in Emmitsburg, Maryland.  They may choose to use their laptop computers in the classroom to capture instructor comments, student interactions and activity outcomes.

Traditional paper-based student manuals will be available in the classroom, and these books will be reused for future classes.  Reusing these manuals also will reduce printing costs.

NFA Superintendent Dr. Denis Onieal said that once the results of the pilot are assessed, it may lead to more manuals presentation information being available on line.  This has the potential to reduce paper usage, and save the National Fire Academy up to $128,000 per year in production costs.  NFA creates approximately 8,500 student manuals each year.  Students will see the added advantage of not having to pay excess baggage fees to carry their paper-based manuals home.

“An additional benefit to this method will enable us to keep student manuals more current in response to emerging trends and issues,” Onieal said.  “We will be able to provide students the most current data and information by electronically updating the course manuals.”

Documents will be in Portable Document Format (PDF) and require the Adobe Acrobat Reader to open them. Students can use the Comment and Markup feature available within Adobe Acrobat Reader to type and save notes.  If students elect to do so, they can print paper copies of the materials on their home computers and printers.

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