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Thread: Education

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    Default Education

    How important is an education in the fire service? Do you feel the right courses, and experience will help a firefighter throughout their career?


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    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    The answer is not as simple as your questions.

    How important is an education in the fire service?
    It is very important. There are only 2 times you should expect to stop learning in the fire service. One is if you are unfortunate enough to die while still on the job and the other is when you retire. Anyone that tells you otherwise should be avoided like the plague.

    The amount, or rather level, of education may vary. Some people see firefighter certifications as enough, others see an associate degree as enough, some see nothing less than a bachelors degree or a doctorate as enough. I would suppose that the truth lies somewhere in between for most, depending on your career aspirations.


    Do you feel the right courses, and experience will help a firefighter throughout their career?
    Yes, they will. Especially if you choose a specialized tract such as haz-mat, tech rescue, or have a desire to be in admin at some point. But even if your deisre is to be nothing more than a back seat rider firefighter(honorable enough in its own right) all the education you can get will be a benefit to yourself and your fellow firefighters.


    Just don't become a 30 year member with one year of experience 30 times.

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    MembersZone Subscriber Dickey's Avatar
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    What my good brother fyredup said!!
    Jason Knecht
    Assistant Chief
    Altoona Fire Dept.
    Altoona, WI

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    One needs to have a combination of book smarts (knowing where to look for information as opposed to memorizing it) and street smarts.

    A fire never went out by throwing a book at it, and those who fight fire "by the book" forget that the fire never bothered to learn to 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."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo View Post
    One needs to have a combination of book smarts (knowing where to look for information as opposed to memorizing it) and street smarts.

    A fire never went out by throwing a book at it, and those who fight fire "by the book" forget that the fire never bothered to learn to read!
    Of course you are correct Chief. I focused on the education question and failed to mnention this all to often forgotten truth.

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    I'll agree that no fire has been extinguished by a book. However, if the department leadership lacks the educational foundation to recognize the right priorities, and explain our needs to the politicians in a professional manner, the guys who put the fires out will not have the staffing, equipment, and organizational support to accomplish the mission.

    The need for "book lernin" increases exponentially with each additional bugle on the collar. I personally believe that a minimum of a bachelor degree or significant comparable education should be required for any career fire chief.

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    Permanently Removed CALFFBOU's Avatar
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    Oh my...Education is probably THE MOST IMPORTANT TOOL you will ever use in the fire service. And I am talking formal education, not cert piling.

    Get all of the schooling you can as you never stop learning in the fire service, seriously.

    Bou

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    In a career , or primarily career department the leaders need formalized education. Not training, but education.

    A certain amount of street smarts is required, but at that level, the college credits should outweigh the "street credits".

    Get the education now, as that is the direction the fire service is traveling, though, the pace of the journey varies from department to department.

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    "Experience is a hard teacher because she gives the test first, the lesson afterward." -- Vernon Law

    No one every walked onto the fire ground and instantly knew how to put out a fire. They had to be educated first. A front line fire fighter needs to get the basics of how to put out a fire. Pump operators need to know how to flow water. As one progresses up the management ladder from lieutenant to captain to asst. chief to chief, they need more and more knowledge. LT need to know the dynamics of fires and not just how to put them out. Depending on the organization at some point you need to do public relations work, talk to the press, write reports So a knowledge and good grasp of the English Language becomes important. Courses in people management, administration, finances, are needed by chief officers.

    You can never get to much education, but take the education and use it.

    "Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything he learned in school." -- Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

    "The only person who is educated is the one who has learned how to learn and change." -- Carl Rogers

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    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    In a career , or primarily career department the leaders need formalized education. Not training, but education.

    Frankly, how the hell would you know? Have you ever been a member of a career or mostly career fire department? Speak to what you know and not what you would like to pretend you know.

    Why do just career chiefs need education and not volunteer chiefs? Is it because the good old boy network is still alive and well in far too many places and how many beers you buy gets you elected chief and not what you know?

    See unlike you and your wannabe pretend expertise about the career fire service, I am both an active volunteer and a career firefighter with 18 years on the job. Remind me again how many years you have as a career firefighter on a mostly career, or all career fire department...that's what I thought, NONE.


    A certain amount of street smarts is required, but at that level, the college credits should outweigh the "street credits".

    NO, the right answer is if you want a FIRE CHIEF you need a balance of both. If you want a Chief Fire Executive then fine have someone with a higher percentage of education than practical experience. But that person needs to realize their shortcomings and let someone else run operations and equipment procurement because that is not their strong area. Sad that in your world you want an administrator and not an actual FIRE CHIEF.

    Get the education now, as that is the direction the fire service is traveling, though, the pace of the journey varies from department to department.

    Get the education because it is the right thing to do. Both in making you a better firefighter and making you more viable for promotion, if that is your career goal.

    If you believe college education is something new wave in the fire service you are DECADES behind. Take me for example, I got my Associate Degree in Fire Science in 1980. When did you get your degree?

    I do wish that you would stop speaking like you have this vast knowledge and experience regarding career fire departments. You look foolish everytime you attempt it.

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    Why do just career chiefs need education and not volunteer chiefs? Is it because the good old boy network is still alive and well in far too many places and how many beers you buy gets you elected chief and not what you know?

    Certainly a good idea. But sure don't think we can require that of a volunteer chief. That's especially true of a rural volunteer chief. By the way, my current chief has a degree in engineering. Chief of my past volunteer department also has an engineering degree. The Deputy Chief here, who is likely to take over, has a business degree.

    NO, the right answer is if you want a FIRE CHIEF you need a balance of both. If you want a Chief Fire Executive then fine have someone with a higher percentage of education than practical experience. But that person needs to realize their shortcomings and let someone else run operations and equipment procurement because that is not their strong area. Sad that in your world you want an administrator and not an actual FIRE CHIEF.

    Departments are requiring less and less fireground participation by the Chief. Most large communties expect thier chiefs to be manager, not fireground responders except for major events. they expect thier chiefs to have akeen understanding of business, finance, personnel management, political interaction and a wide variety of other management task. They expect the battelion or asst or deputy chiefs to handle the majorituy of the fireground incidents. At least, that is what the cities down here expect.

    And yes, intoday's enviroment, I do want an adminstrator if I have more than a handful of employees. The person under him should be the operations guy.

    If you believe college education is something new wave in the fire service you are DECADES behind. Take me for example, I got my Associate Degree in Fire Science in 1980. When did you get your degree?


    Got my orignal degree in 1983 (BS). Got another degree in 1994 (AS). Got an Alternative Teaching Certification in 1985.

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    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Why do just career chiefs need education and not volunteer chiefs? Is it because the good old boy network is still alive and well in far too many places and how many beers you buy gets you elected chief and not what you know?

    Certainly a good idea. But sure don't think we can require that of a volunteer chief. That's especially true of a rural volunteer chief. By the way, my current chief has a degree in engineering. Chief of my past volunteer department also has an engineering degree. The Deputy Chief here, who is likely to take over, has a business degree.

    Another example of your double standard. Career chiefs need education but volunteer chiefs don't. Stupid, plain and simple. They both face the same things just maybe not on the same scale.

    NO, the right answer is if you want a FIRE CHIEF you need a balance of both. If you want a Chief Fire Executive then fine have someone with a higher percentage of education than practical experience. But that person needs to realize their shortcomings and let someone else run operations and equipment procurement because that is not their strong area. Sad that in your world you want an administrator and not an actual FIRE CHIEF.

    Departments are requiring less and less fireground participation by the Chief. Most large communties expect thier chiefs to be manager, not fireground responders except for major events. they expect thier chiefs to have akeen understanding of business, finance, personnel management, political interaction and a wide variety of other management task. They expect the battelion or asst or deputy chiefs to handle the majorituy of the fireground incidents. At least, that is what the cities down here expect.

    And that seperation from the fireground and the firefighters themselves is a huge part of the problem in the career fire service today. There is no connection, there is no understanding of the actual work being done, there is no connection between the equipment being used. Mnanagement by numbers, statistics and by budget alone makes for a crappy leader and a dismantled shell of a fire department.

    And yes, intoday's enviroment, I do want an adminstrator if I have more than a handful of employees. The person under him should be the operations guy.

    Reread my above post. I know you won't understand it but reread it anyways to humor me.



    If you believe college education is something new wave in the fire service you are DECADES behind. Take me for example, I got my Associate Degree in Fire Science in 1980. When did you get your degree?


    Got my orignal degree in 1983 (BS). Got another degree in 1994 (AS). Got an Alternative Teaching Certification in 1985.


    Degrees in what? Alternative teaching certificate? What is that?

    I have certificates for Fire Service Instructor as well as Teacher in the Vo-tech system.

    UIt figures since you are admin and not a line firefighter you would want an admin leader and not someone with a practical firefighting background. Especially since they wouldn't have the knowledge to tell you how off the freaking wall most of your firefighting ideas are!

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    Point 1:

    The volunteer fire service is different from the career service.

    It does not take an educational background in administration to run a VFD with a 90K budget and 15 volunteers. Many chiefs are business owners and run that kind of operation everyday.

    It does take a formal administration background to run a department with 80 employees and a 7.6M budget, working within a city government. Not something that can be learned running around in a battalion's chief buggy.

    You want a fire chief. Fine. I want an administrator.

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    Forum Member FyredUp's Avatar
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    LaFireEducator

    Point 1:

    The volunteer fire service is different from the career service.

    Yep, you make excuses for why it can't be a professional service with standards and qualified educated leaders all the while pontificating on how the career service should run. The difference between you and me is I AM a VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTER and a former chief, AND I AM a CAREER FIREFIGHTER on a fire department with over 100 members. You can say you are a volunteer, and a paid member of a volunteer department, but you have NEVER been a member of a career fire department. Yet you seem to be an expert on all things career fire department. You see this is why so many people attack your posts, you want to talk like an expert on things you simply know nothing about.

    It does not take an educational background in administration to run a VFD with a 90K budget and 15 volunteers. Many chiefs are business owners and run that kind of operation everyday.

    So by your way of thinking a CEO of a multi-national corporation would make the best fire chief for a larger fire department? Seriously, your logic is flawed beyond all recognition. The fire service needs educated, real world experienced leaders, that can put a real world touch on the numbers and pie charts and all the other BS that is the modern fire chief.

    It does take a formal administration background to run a department with 80 employees and a 7.6M budget, working within a city government. Not something that can be learned running around in a battalion's chief buggy.

    Bull crap. There are plenty of successful fire chiefs in this country that came up through the ranks. Leo Stapleton and Allan Brunacini just to name 2. They were rank and file firefighters who worked their way up into the Chiefs office. Your belief that you can't have an educated, street smart fire chief capable of doing the job is insulting and once again shows your complete lack of knowledge of the career fire service.

    You want a fire chief. Fine. I want an administrator.

    I KNOW I can have a fire chief that is both street smart and real world experienced as well as educated and capable of running a fire department. Unfortunately for you, your lack of real world experience and perhaps the chiefs you have worked for have led you to believe this is not possible.
    Please go back to talking about what you know, pub ed and stopping at green lights,and exterior rated firefighters. Because this topic and any others about career fire departments simply make you look foolish.

    By the way are you going to answer my questions from my last post?

    Degrees in what? Alternative teaching certificate? What is that?

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    An Alternative Teaching Certification is allowing someone with a previous college degree in another subject to complete between 24 and 32 credit hours of education classes, and be awarded a teaching degree.

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    running around in a battalion's chief buggy.
    Your respect for the job of Chief is overwhelming.

    You prove your "jerkness" every time you post.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    I have no doubt that successful corporate executive could successfully run a fire department, as long as he allowed the Deputy Chief, who would be that up through the ranks firefighter, to handle the operations side of the department.

    Most successful executives know that the production guys know production and the shipping guys know shipping, so they allow those that know those areas to run those areas. I have no doubt they would do the same with a fire department, and they would handle the business and political side.

    Same with a successful government executive.

    We disagree on that.

    Brunancahi has some formal business training. Stapleton was a fire chief in a different era, and it would be interesting to see how he would far today, though I have my doubts that he would be as successful.

    Yep, you make excuses for why it can't be a professional service with standards and qualified educated leaders all the while pontificating on how the career service should run.


    I really don't care how the career service runs, but it is my feeling that until we do devlop educational standards for career leaders, we will always be looked at as the red headed step child at the table when we sit with the police chief and public works and the school system.

    The rural enviromet is a lot different than the urban.

    And since you want common standards for paid and volunteer, how about this concept to level the playing field? Starting now, all career fireman will attend the academy on their own time without pay. Same with paramedic and hazmat. Specialty rescue training too. Any additional required training will no longer be conducted during on-duty hours but now must be attended off-duty without pay.

    Now we're the same. Work a fulltime job then worry about training on your own time. I have just leveled the playing field and now I'll be more than happy to agree that the standards should be the same.

    Same would apply to attending college classes for command level positions.

    By the way, all of my former chiefs, and my current chiefs are very much "operations" guys. It would have bveen nice, with the exception of my last chief (who had a very keen business and management eye) were more "admin" guys.
    Last edited by LaFireEducator; 07-09-2009 at 09:21 AM.

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    You guys are unbelievable!! He says the sky is green and she says it is blue

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    Degrees impress the bourgeoisie, who currently run our country between trips paid for by PACs and lobbies.
    Logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead.

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    Here goes. Education is part of your job and whether volly or career you owe it to yourself, your family and the brothers and sisters you work with to keep up on it. By this I don't mean we should all have masters degrees, but our job is about basic skills and that we should never stop training on. All the advanced stuff comes from the basics. Lastly if you want to further your education by going to college more power to you but personally I would rather have a group visual learners that are tradesmen that I know understand the job and arn't afraid to work.

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