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    Default GFO need not apply...

    http://thehousewatch.com/

    Scroll down to the "GFO need not apply" article.... interesting read...
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
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    Ill take a guy with a GFO over a EFO any day. At least you would know he can force a real door and do some real elevator 'maintenance', not to mention know how to read a fire.

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    Well Gonz, I guess its not that much different from a lot of professions or jobs, depending on your point of view. Look at law enforcement, the military. a lot of careers that were dependent on a lifetime of experience rising to the top and then being cascaded down to the newer personnel are being supplanted by people with " Management" type degrees.
    The article on here O liked better was the one about the rookies being used to serve tea to the alderman. Talk about OJT. Tell me, do you guys handle a hoseline pinkie in or pinkie out?

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    Post Yep................

    The man speaks the Truth. The Fire Service is heading in the direction (or has it already gone?) where Prehospital EMS went a long time ago. As soon as Paramedics got out on the street, they were noted in print as "Joe Smith, NREMT-P" or "Jane Doe, MS RN EMT" and so on. I do not, in any manner, look at this as a bad thing, after all they worked their butts off to get there, and they should be recognized for their accomplishments.

    On the other hand, The Fire Service has been extremely tight with similar recognition. EFO, MiFireE, CFO, and "Normal" Degree designations like MS, PE, PhD, etc are about it. The Medical field has the NREMT designation for the folks who ride in the back of the Ambulance, and it goes up from there, but the Fire Service starts at the top and remains there.

    In 1994, I became involved in the Real Estate Development field when work began on a major "Planned Community" in our area. Working with Architects, Engineers, Planners, and others, I noticed over a period of time that everyone had a string of acronyms after their names, and that it was an expected business practice.

    Looking at my Fire Service Education, I noticed that the most verifiable Professional training that I had was a National Pro Board Fire Officer IV Certificate, so I started a discussion here in these forums regarding the use of "Nationally Certified Fire Officer" or NCFO for a Professional Designation that would be lower on the Totem Pole than those that were already in use. In true Forums tradition, I got my butt handed to me on a platter. No one thought that any form of professional recognition was needed in the Fire Service. "You're a Fire Chief, that's good enough" seemed to be the attitude of the day. That was quite some time back, I took it with a grain of Salt, and got on with life. Now, here we are today, starting a discussion on this, again. Have the times changed that much?? I thought that "NCFO" was a Good Idea for those with Professional Training back then, I still think so today. And the "GFO"?? I'd go with him in a minute......
    Last edited by hwoods; 01-01-2009 at 12:46 PM.
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    I would go with the the GFO to the ends of the earth and back, no questions asked. In fact, there are several "certified GFO's" right here.

    This guy sums my opinion up. It was like he was reading my mind when I read this and I have to post it.

    I would like to comment on FIRE chiefs needing to have been good firemen and having “school experience” prior to leading an entire battalion, division, bureau, or department. Oddly enough, I read another article from another Fire Service legend that I respect, Chief Salka, which echoed Ray’s thoughts. I agree it is incredibly important for Chiefs who are directing firefighting operations to have been good firemen prior to being fire ground commanders. However, in my opinion, it is incumbent that the Chief of Department has a degree (if not an advanced degree) in a relevant area of study. Consider the job of the COD (and this varies depending on the size of the department): Budget analysis/management, personnel management, human relations manager, and labor/management relations. Consider who they interact with: The mayor, aldermen, citizen groups, the media, state organizations, city accountants, the city attorney, Fire and Police Commissions, etc. In my opinion, the higher up on the ladder you go, you do less of the fireman thing and more of the stuff you learned about in college. Another unfortunate reality is, these same people don’t care how weathered your helmet is, they want to talk to someone who talks like them. Quite frankly, I don’t want a FIRE Chief who does not have experience with accounting and budget analysis. I want someone who is politically savvy. I want someone, who when they are representing the department in the media, is polished and well spoken. I want a Chief that has developed diplomatic interpersonal skills to address the handful of people who are “offended” and can avoid financing expensive lawsuits and put the money into safer gear. All of these skills I would argue are “learned” in college and not at the firehouse kitchen table. This FIRE Chief however also needs to be cognizant of the fact his people are his greatest resource and realize he/she is there to get them everything they need to allow them to operate safely and effectively. This FIRE Chief is the same guy who shows up at a given incident and looks to the GFO and says, “Ray, tell me what’s going on and what you need.” I’m sure this is too much to ask out of a FIRE Chief but a brother can dream can’t he?

    A balance of both the CFO and the GFO is required and would be perfect. This is a very rare rare rare case.
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    Paper, Paper, Paper...seriously, look at the new prophets of the fire service they all display there many degrees, certifications and more. Does it make them better than a guy with the GFO? Not necessarily, in fact, it may make them far more dangerous and actually set the fire service back if they have no real world experience to fill out their education.

    Am I anti-education? Hell no. I am a fire service instructor for the tech college. But the one thing I know is that real world practical experience is an absolute requirement in a complete fire service education. Can you be a great leader coming up through the ranks with a practical experience education with no degree? Absolutely, because you have lived what you will be leading. But you must keep up on what the fire service is learning and be progressive on the right changes. Can you be a great leader if the majority of what you know is all theory and book learned? Possibly but the odds are far slimmer.

    It is the combination of practical experience and book learning and theory that makes a great leader

    I do agree with the others here that have said given the choice of a book learned theorists and and GFO I will take the GFO everytime.

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    Man, I just don't see how the firefighters of yesterday in cities like New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, etc. ever did their jobs without college degrees. I mean, for nearly two hundred years, they weren't good enough, and they didn't even know it!
    Seriously, this is a skilled, high-risk blue collar job. You see, the fire service was never good enough for the college boys, so they set out to bring it up to their standards. A city near us just hired a fire chief who has never worked a day in his life as a firefighter. When you take your car to the shop to get it fixed, do you really give a damn how many humanities classes the mechanic has under his belt?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThNozzleman View Post
    .... When you take your car to the shop to get it fixed, do you really give a damn how many humanities classes the mechanic has under his belt?
    Do you care is he has been properly trained by the auto mfg and on the tools of his trade (including modern diagnostic equipment)? Or prefer he works by trail/error, plugging and replacing until sumpun happens? If you car is his next OJT project.

    How about if it's your doctor?

    It's a mix like just about anything that matters. Formal instruction followed by on job training/experience. Depend on OJT and you get a very very limited view.

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    Quote Originally Posted by neiowa View Post
    Do you care is he has been properly trained by the auto mfg and on the tools of his trade (including modern diagnostic equipment)? Or prefer he works by trail/error, plugging and replacing until sumpun happens? If you car is his next OJT project.

    How about if it's your doctor?

    It's a mix like just about anything that matters. Formal instruction followed by on job training/experience. Depend on OJT and you get a very very limited view.
    Depend on people with certifications up the the old wazoo and no real fire experience to speak of and you end up with a lot of vacant lots, burnt out businesses, lost jobs, whcih further decay the area which begets more fires that increase the problem exponentially... but hell, everyone looks snazzy in their vests throwing books and their certifications at the fire and expect it to go out!!
    Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 01-05-2009 at 09:31 PM.
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    Do you care is he has been properly trained by the auto mfg and on the tools of his trade (including modern diagnostic equipment)?
    Well, yeah; that's my point. I don't care how much he/she knows about algebra or if they can quote e.e. cummings all day, or some political science class they took at a local community college.
    It's a mix like just about anything that matters. Formal instruction followed by on job training/experience. Depend on OJT and you get a very very limited view.
    I'm not talking about "formal instruction" or relative training. I'm referring to the growing notion in the fire service that if you don't have some kind of degree, you aren't worth spit.

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    Oh damn!I forgot to throw the BOOKS!No wonder it took so long to put it out.Thanks Gonzo!Hehe T.C.

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    Depend on people with certifications up the the old wazoo and no real fire experience to speak of and you end up with a lot of vacant lots, burnt out businesses, lost jobs, whcih further decay the area which begets more fires that increase the problem exponentially... but hell, everyone looks snazzy in their vests throwing books and their certifications at the fire and expect it to go out!!
    Right on. Like I stated before, the fire service has been just fine for years using job related training and certifications. Now all of a sudden, you are worth a crap unless the local community college says so...to the tune of several thousand dollars, of course. I know a neighboring department that promoted a guy to Captain over others with a lot more time in, simply because he had a degree in theology or some such nonsense. WTF??
    Of course, all you degree-holding wonder boys can come on in here and attempt to explain how having a degree in philosophy somehow makes you a better firefighter.

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    It makes you wonder why the military would require its officers to attend places like the Army War College (Generals Eisenhower, Patton, Bradley, Pershing, etc), Naval War College (Admirals Nimitz, Halsey, Spruance, etc) or even Princeton (General Petraeus- PhD in International Relations).

    Probably because the military figures that it takes education combined with tough training to produce leaders that can command our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coasties.

    As for the philosophy comment, maybe it won't help put out a fire but, Vice Admiral Stockdale (Medal of Honor, one of the POWs held captive longest by the North Vietnamese) felt that the Philosophy classes in Stocism he took at Stanford (there is that college thing again) while getting his Masters Degree in International Relations and Marxist Theory helped him get through his ordeal as a POW for 8 years (plus he was able to turn the tables on the North Vietnamese during interragations as he knew more about Marxism than his captors). Perhaps it made him a better leader. Later, as President of the Naval War College, he developed and taught a philosophy class to the students. It is still taught today and is one of the more popular courses. If a Medal of Honor winner thinks philosophy is important, my personal belief is one should try to find out why instead of just ridiculing it (but I'm a Navy vet, so I'm a bit biased).

    That's this degree holding wonder boy's explanation .

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    The fire service is evolving as it should. Chiefs of major depts must deal with various levels of govt in securing funding, grants etc, in addition to budgeting and managing their own depts. Many depts can have in excess of 1000 personnel. Because a person was an exemplary fire fighter and officer, it does not mean he will be an exellent administrator. By the same token, an administrator may be out of touch with the rank and file members. As several have said on here, it takes a combination of both to be sucessful in a Chiefs position.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SFDE37 View Post
    It makes you wonder why the military would require its officers to attend places like the Army War College (Generals Eisenhower, Patton, Bradley, Pershing, etc), Naval War College (Admirals Nimitz, Halsey, Spruance, etc) or even Princeton (General Petraeus- PhD in International Relations).

    Probably because the military figures that it takes education combined with tough training to produce leaders that can command our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coasties.

    As for the philosophy comment, maybe it won't help put out a fire but, Vice Admiral Stockdale (Medal of Honor, one of the POWs held captive longest by the North Vietnamese) felt that the Philosophy classes in Stocism he took at Stanford (there is that college thing again) while getting his Masters Degree in International Relations and Marxist Theory helped him get through his ordeal as a POW for 8 years (plus he was able to turn the tables on the North Vietnamese during interragations as he knew more about Marxism than his captors). Perhaps it made him a better leader. Later, as President of the Naval War College, he developed and taught a philosophy class to the students. It is still taught today and is one of the more popular courses. If a Medal of Honor winner thinks philosophy is important, my personal belief is one should try to find out why instead of just ridiculing it (but I'm a Navy vet, so I'm a bit biased).

    That's this degree holding wonder boy's explanation .
    Or, most likely they possessed a leadership quality that would have shown forth without school.

    I know in the many years I've been in so far, the only officers I have encountered worth working with and for, were prior enlisted. The college ROTC officers and the current crop of Naval Academy officers hitting the fleet couldn't lead a box of paper bags to the back of the checkout line.

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    I agree that in the bigger communities there is a huge difference in training and experience necessary for an administrative chief when compared to the job of a company officer or chief working in the field. However more than 90% of the fire service is not in the ghetto, nor are they having fires every day, week or even month. For all of us that don’t work in NY, Chicago, Boston or LA what training do you think the bosses need?

    Suppose you work in a city/town where there are around 15-20 working fires a year. Now if you have three shifts, each firefighter probably is only exposed to 5-6 fires a year and over a twenty year career they have been to 100 fires give or take. Now for their organization these people are the veterans and have the most experience. Now if you compare them to a boss in a bigger city or community where they have fires on a more regular basis they haven’t seen squat in comparison, but you have to compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges.

    We all need to remember although the job we do is very similar the frequency we do it is different based on our region and its demographics. An officer in my city will never be a ghetto fire officer, nor will anyone else in my county, but our chiefs go to 90% of the fires in the community and attend as much training as they can, so in our organization they are some of the most experienced fire ground officers in our community. The chiefs job here is 90% administrative so allot of the stuff they do is geared towards administration and that’s why they have and continue to attend college and courses from the NFA, like the EFO/CFO etc.

    I hope everyone realizes that you cannot compare a company officer or chief in Manhattan, Kansas to one in Manhattan, NY.

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    Are we talking about the tactical Captain who leads two-five firefighters into a building to save lives and put the fire out? For that you need the blue collar skills no doubt about it. Or are we talking about the Chief who is outside sending the correct resources to the different locations to get the incident under control and has to know what resources he can order up and what he needs to keep in reserves, etc? One is hands on leadership, the other is a bit of leadership but a ton of management. One needs to be taught hands on, the other really can be taught in the classroom if for no other reason than to produce measurable data to decide if they are ready for the strategic responsibility.

    I think we all know great and terrible firefighters with no education past 12th grade. I am sure we all know some great firefighters and some terrible ones who have a string of degrees.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DennisTheMenace View Post
    Are we talking about the tactical Captain who leads two-five firefighters into a building to save lives and put the fire out? For that you need the blue collar skills no doubt about it. Or are we talking about the Chief who is outside sending the correct resources to the different locations to get the incident under control and has to know what resources he can order up and what he needs to keep in reserves, etc? One is hands on leadership, the other is a bit of leadership but a ton of management. One needs to be taught hands on, the other really can be taught in the classroom if for no other reason than to produce measurable data to decide if they are ready for the strategic responsibility.

    I think we all know great and terrible firefighters with no education past 12th grade. I am sure we all know some great firefighters and some terrible ones who have a string of degrees.
    I think there is room for both also.

    To be honest, I hope it's the GFO's who get or have some education and become the EFO's.

    To operate as a firefighter, company officer, etc.. I don't think that you need a college degree.

    As was mentioned, being the Department Chief of even a mid-size Suburban department requires some political savy and education. Does it have to be college level? For some people, no.

    You don't have to have a college degree to be articulate and knowledgeable. I know a guy who barely finished High School, but if he had wanted to could've gone to law school or medical school because he was born with a high IQ.

    I think that there is no good argument for not furthering your education if you want to have a bigger role in your department.

    Being able to write, speak and sound intelligent is important for any Fire Department Chief. You are representing a fine group of people who are doing an important job. Having an education would help most people to do this more effectively.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DennisTheMenace View Post
    Are we talking about the tactical Captain who leads two-five firefighters into a building to save lives and put the fire out? For that you need the blue collar skills no doubt about it. Or are we talking about the Chief who is outside sending the correct resources to the different locations to get the incident under control and has to know what resources he can order up and what he needs to keep in reserves, etc? One is hands on leadership, the other is a bit of leadership but a ton of management. One needs to be taught hands on, the other really can be taught in the classroom if for no other reason than to produce measurable data to decide if they are ready for the strategic responsibility.

    I think we all know great and terrible firefighters with no education past 12th grade. I am sure we all know some great firefighters and some terrible ones who have a string of degrees.
    And just to add...How about who do you want putting budgets together, working on grant applications or meeting with politicians?

    Or better yet, how about who is meeting with architects, engineers and developers (like I do in prevention).

    If these folks are going to be working in the "white collar" world, they sure as h*ll better have the "book" education to fit in.

    Keep bashing higher education in the fire service, but if you want your Chief(s) to be viewed as a peer by city managers, lawyers and architects, et all, they need a level of education like the NFA's executive program gives.

    If you would rather he/she be viewed as nothing more then the senior "blue collar" guy/gal, then you get what you get when it comes to things like respect and funding.

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    Quote Originally Posted by spegram View Post
    I agree that in the bigger communities there is a huge difference in training and experience necessary for an administrative chief when compared to the job of a company officer or chief working in the field. However more than 90% of the fire service is not in the ghetto, nor are they having fires every day, week or even month. For all of us that don’t work in NY, Chicago, Boston or LA what training do you think the bosses need?

    Suppose you work in a city/town where there are around 15-20 working fires a year. Now if you have three shifts, each firefighter probably is only exposed to 5-6 fires a year and over a twenty year career they have been to 100 fires give or take. Now for their organization these people are the veterans and have the most experience. Now if you compare them to a boss in a bigger city or community where they have fires on a more regular basis they haven’t seen squat in comparison, but you have to compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges.

    We all need to remember although the job we do is very similar the frequency we do it is different based on our region and its demographics. An officer in my city will never be a ghetto fire officer, nor will anyone else in my county, but our chiefs go to 90% of the fires in the community and attend as much training as they can, so in our organization they are some of the most experienced fire ground officers in our community. The chiefs job here is 90% administrative so allot of the stuff they do is geared towards administration and that’s why they have and continue to attend college and courses from the NFA, like the EFO/CFO etc.

    I hope everyone realizes that you cannot compare a company officer or chief in Manhattan, Kansas to one in Manhattan, NY.
    Very good points!!
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    My take is that one shouldn't put so much weight in some letters after ones name...considering it only highlights a very limited aspect of that persons expereince.

    We've discussed this issue before. There are many that seem to shy away from listing where they worked yet are all to willing to exclaim they have a masters in Anthropology and a MBA from Upper Strawbottom's Liberal community college anex


    As for needing this EFO...etc. to be accepted as a peer with politicians. That is nothing short of a pipe dream...by nature elected officals and political hacks think they know more than you and will tell you this. You will never be accepted as a peer and certainly not because of the EFO program or anything of the like.

    The best thing a Chief can have is unparrelled experience, built over many years where you can provide timely and relevant advice based on your "expert" opinion and professional experience. Achiving respect and excercising ones abilities within the Dept and city beuracracy politically is something obtained only by application and practice in the real world and certainly not something that is bestowed upon someone by writting a few papers and taking a handful of classes in rural Maryland.

    The reason Chief Dunn (for example) is a respected authority on fire extinguishment and collapse...isn't because he read a few good books on it and wrote a A+ dissertation on the considerations he guessed would be things to address at a building collapse or fire....

    ...It is because he speaks from experience that can't be learned in any classroom...but other than listing the companies and commands he had prior to becomming the Commander of the 3rd Division prior to retirement (BTW they are...E-59, E-33, E-58, Bn. 25, 7th Div, 3rd Div)...there isn't some nifty little set of letters to express this.(and one would have to a buff to know that those companies were all at the time VERY busy shops and top notch in terms of places to get experience) Yet his expereince as far as the issues he speaks too is much more relevant and held in such regard than any set of letters you could even begin to put after his name.

    To me that is what the author was getting at.

    Not taking away from EFO...but remembering that it is only a small accomplishment that shouldn't be given a disporportionate amount of weight or consideration.

    FTM-PTB

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    FFFred just hit a Grand Slam!
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo View Post
    FFFred just hit a Grand Slam!
    Doesn't he usually?
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    I can't disagree with Fred's assesment. The unfortunate thing is there are few places most fire officers can get the kind of experience that Vincent Dunn, John Norman, Bill Feehan have, name the storied fire service person had.

    While it would be great if every chief officer had been to hundreds of working fires prior to being promoted to company officer, hundreds more prior to making chief officer rank, and even hundreds more prior to making COD. It is unrealisitc in the bulk of the American Fire Service.

    A few classes at the national fire academy will not make up for fighting 1000 fires, but if you don't have the opportunity to fight a thousand fires going to Emmitsburg or other places that address professional development is the best alternative that many chief officers have.

    I don't think getting an EFO puts any fire officer on equal footing from a city managers perspective, but it at least demonstrates some modicum of interest in improving their skills as a firefighter, leader, or chief officer - that is a great deal more than many fire chiefs across this country have done.

  25. #25
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    FFRED always seems to say what I'm thinking.

    Great job man!




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    Jason Knecht
    Assistant Chief
    Altoona Fire Dept.
    Altoona, WI

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