Fire departments in the Information Age face many significant challenges. The issues that normally permeate news headlines – fire prevention and suppression, emergency medical services, hazardous materials, technical rescue and the ever-increasing demand to “do more with less” – bring a...
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6. Fire Suppression. This program involves basic fire suppression skills training by company officers and chief officers in basic engine and ladder company skills necessary to function at the scene of a fire emergency. Included is annual live fire training in acquired structures throughout the city. This training also includes instruction on how to operate safely at the scene of a fire emergency.
7. Hazardous Materials. This program focuses on federal and state mandates for training in addressing our response to hazardous materials emergencies. These sessions involve classroom and practical application. This program is co-sponsored by the Specialty Unit Division of Special Operations.
8. Technical Rescue. The department has trained in six of the seven technical rescue disciplines in the national standard. Training in confined space, rope, structural collapse, trench, transportation/machinery and water rescues is provided on annual basis. This training is also critical in the success of the department’s Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) program. Seattle is a part of a regional effort and hosts a contingent of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Washington USAR Task Force 1. This program is also co-sponsored by the Specialty Unit Division of Special Operations.
9. Computer/Technology. Every SFD facility has computers connected to a wide area network and the Internet. Additionally each chief officer carries a laptop computer with pre-incident survey information from structures around the city. To access this technology, SFD members need to be comfortable with the use of computers and other information technology systems.
The focus of this training program is to ensure that SFD members have the skill necessary to integrate technology into both emergency and non-emergency activities. The program includes training on basic computers, software applications and other systems including the department computer aided dispatch and records management system. This program is co-sponsored by the Management Information Systems Division.
10. Position Specific Development. This program includes the basic, and on-going training for specific positions including recruit firefighter, firefighter, driver operator, fireboat deckhand, engineer or pilot, company officer, chief officer, paramedic, dispatcher, investigator, inspector, instructor and administrative specialist. Each of the position specific development programs has cross-functional involvement from various segments of the department.
More On-The-Job Training
In addition to those listed above, SFD training programs include the following:
- In-Service Training Unit. The In-Service Training Unit, managed by 27-year fire service veteran Captain Patrick Pavey, facilitates the implementation of department’s training program. Assisting Pavey are Lieutenants Jesse Atteberry (Vehicle Operations Training) and Thaddeus Mercer (EMS Training).
A major focus of In-Service Training is the department’s annual training calendar. In-Service Training ensures that Category A and B training is made available to various segments of the department. In 2000, the calendar includes 22 scheduled training courses, each four or eight hours in length. These courses involve the pre-determined movement of fire companies to training locations around the city. Training sessions begin at 9 A.M and are completed at 9:30 P.M., five days a week. Operations chief officers conduct battalion training programs on Saturdays and Sundays.
- Recruit Training Unit. The SFD conducts an 111¼2-week training academy for recruit firefighters. Led by 19-year veteran Captain Ray Shakoor-Asadi, the Recruit Training Unit conducts three 20-person recruit academies each year. The State of Washington and the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress accredit the academy. When new firefighters leave the academy, they are Firefighter 1 certified and have received a majority of the Firefighter 2 fundamentals. Firefighter 2 is completed during the firefighters’ first year, when they return to the Training Division for a midterm and final written and practical examinations. Assisting Asadi are Lieutenants Bill Morrow, Brady O’Brien and Phil Jose.
- Wellness/fitness. A central purpose of the department’s training efforts is minimizing the potential for situations that might result in firefighter injuries or fatalities. Kim Favorite coordinates the division’s Wellness/Fitness efforts. The SFD is one of 10 city fire departments involved in the IAFF/IAFC Joint Labor Management Wellness Fitness Initiative. Favorite has been involved with the development of the initiative from its inception. These efforts being with the use of the Candidate Physical Ability Test (CPAT) and continue with close physical fitness assessment during the first year and on-going assessments throughout the member’s career.