Thread: Education

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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    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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    We need to remember the difference, as defined in Instructor I, between training and education.

    Training is vocational in nature and teaches us to do the physical aspects of the job and the mental aspects as it relates to deciosn making, tactics and strategy. Training is conducted by the fire department, fire schools, other fire departments and the like.

    Education is academic in it's basis and takes places a colleges, universities, and one could argue, places like the National Fire Academy.

    Line firefighters and line officers recieve a lot of training but generally, very little, if any education.

    Battalion and District Chiefs may receive some education. There are some departments that require it for that level. There are some that require education for advancement. There are some that require it for Deputy Chief and Chief posistions.

    Training teaches us how to fight fires and mitigate emergencies. Education teaches us how to manage fire departments.

    I want a managers or administrators at the top. I want fire commanders in the middle.

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    >>Education teaches us how to manage fire departments.<<

    And I want to be about as far away from your FD as I can possibly get.

    So all of the college classes in fire science, building construction, hazardous materials, fire prevention, fire protection systems, hydraulics, etc. are to make a fire officer a better paper pusher?

    My God, are you a fool.

    (I long for the day that you get sick and tired of getting your butt kicked in every, single thread you post in and you just leave).
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    So all of the college classes in fire science, building construction, hazardous materials, fire prevention, fire protection systems, hydraulics, etc. are to make a fire officer a better paper pusher?

    I guess that is making the assumption that an administrator is nothing more than a paper pusher.

    Somehow I see a fire department administrator, wether it be a department chief, a staff officer or a division head chief officer (training, prevention, public education, fleet management, etc) as more than someone that functions as a "paper pusher".

    I see them as the ones setting the pace for the department, designing an implementing new programs and leading the department from above. They are the leaders of the department.

    Maybe your view of administrtative personnel is different from mine.

    Does that mean that there are college level classes that have no impact on line level and ballelion level officers? No. Certainly college level courses that cover building construction, protection systems and the like do. But when I talk about courses at the Chief level, I am referring to management, adminisrtation, finance and classes that will be used to manage the department.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    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.

    What you don't seem to understand, since you have never experienced it, is the disconnect between a business/administration based leader and the actual activities of the fire department. If they run the department based on numbers, and pie charts, finances, and statistics they lose the mission because they are blinded by those numbers. Even if the Fire Chief removes himself from ops, a bad move in my mind, he still needs knowledge of how the fire department operates and its needs from a position other than numbers and money.

    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.

    The Fire Service is not a for profit based organization, well municipal based fire protection isn't anyways. There in lies the difference. We offer no product, just service. A service that epople expect that we will offer when they need it. Not controlled by numbers and production quotas.

    Same with a successful government executive.

    Yep, the politicians on all levels have done an excellent job managing their budgets and personnel, as well as priorities in their communities, states and the nation. I wouldn't use politicians as an example of good business executives.

    We disagree on that.

    We disagree on a topic you have no knowledge or experience on. It is that simple. I wouldn't presume to tell you how to administer the bizarre system you run because I have no experience with using paid firefighters like maintenance workers while letting volunteers make emergency responses. What makes you think you know what is best for the career fire service when you have never been a member of a fully paid fire department?

    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.

    You have doubts that Leo Stapleton would be successful today? Really? Did you know that he wasn't only the Chief of the Boston Fire Department, he was the Fire Commisioner too? Obviously, he had qualifications, practical experience, knowledge and the education to run the BFD. You really need to stop slandering people out of your pure ignorance.


    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.

    If you don't care then get out of a topic about a career fire department and stop pontificating your ignorant opinions about it. It really is that simple. I know you won't though because you can't help yourself. You think you know everything there is to know about the fire service and that not only makes you ignorant, but damn dangerous too.


    The rural enviromet is a lot different than the urban.

    Duh? I'll bet you I live in a more rural part of the country than you are. What's the population of Bossier Parish? The village I live in has a population of 717. I would bet I have fought more rural fires than you have ducked out of.

    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.

    Passing the academy is a part of employment. Do you make you firefighters pay for their basic training in Bossier Parish? I didn't think so...so once again you have posed a stupid point just to be argumentative.

    Paramedic? Out of the last 4 classes we have hired almost 70% had their paramedic license. They went to class and got them on their own, at their expense, to make them more viable as a candidate for the job. Their is no requirement to be a paramedic on the job here. It is a voluntary position with a test and interview before you get sent to school.

    Special teams here are voluntary too. Most training is done in house, although on occasion guys will be sent elsewhere for training. There is no requirement to be a special teams member.

    There are many times that our guys go to training on their own time. If the class is deemed by the individual as beneficial to them and their career they make the time and find the money to go.

    As a volunteer I went to college and got my Fire Science degree, while working full time, and paid for it myself. I also got my EMT-B license on my own time and paid for it myself. Went to more classes and cert courses than I care to list on my own and many of them I paid for myself. Was it always convenient? NOPE, but if I wanted it bad enough I made it happen, I have taken vacation and made trades to go to classes I wanted to attend.

    My volunteer fire department not only pays for classes that our guys want to attend, it also pays the guys for attending at the same rate that we pay for inhouse training sessions. Maybe you need to look and think outside the box instead of always making excuses for why you can't do something. I see you as a hell of a roadblock to progress and an enabler for those that prefer to find reasons they can't get educated or trained.

    Do you pay for training you need to do your job or does the FD pay for it? Do you do all of that additional training during duty hours or is it after hours and travel and per diem is paid to you? If the answers are you get paid and they pay for the classes how hypocritical can you be? You have mentioned that your FD paid for your guys to go to some industrial fire school in Texas. How did your guys find the time to go to that training? It can be done if your guys want it bad enough.


    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.

    Done it, many times, and I still do. I'll even go one step farther than that, I have gone and trained with other FD's and at a regional fire school on my own time with no pay. I guess maybe I am more dedicated to the craft than the volunteers you continually makes excuses for.

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

    Read above, all the guys I know that have either associate degrees or more advanced degrees have found the time and money to do it on their own. There are several guys on my career FD that do it. It takes longer when you work full time, but it can be done if you are motivated enough.

    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.

    Why? I find it hysterical that you believe that a fire chief can't be both a good administrator AND a good real world practical experienced leader.
    Please stop talking about the career fire service. You have no knowledge other than your BS that has no base in fact or experience.

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    If I was in a larger department, I would like my chief to be heavy on the admin background and it wouldn't bother me if he was light on the fireground side.

    Even my small combo department, as much as i respect my cjied i wish he was heavier on the admin side and i wouldn't mind if he was lighter on the fireground end.

    You obviously prefer it the other way around.

    We obviously view the Chief's roles and responsibilities differently.

    Let's just leave it at that.

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