1. #1
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    Exclamation HELP! Need input for SOP / By Laws Ammendments for Minimum standards of officers in V

    LOL Help guys we just had our elections and elected some really under qualified folks in our Fire Department!

    We are a true 100% Volunteer hall which had 50 call outs in 2009. We have roughly 20 members and serve a very vast and rural district in TN.

    I want to put forth some minimum standards into out SOP's and By Laws.

    What does YOUR Fire Department require for minimum standards or qualifications to be an office or executive committee member for the below positions.

    Officers:
    Chief
    Ast Chief
    Captain
    Equipment Officer
    Saftey Officer
    PIO Public Information Officer

    Executive Committee:
    President
    Vice President
    Treasurer
    Secretary

    Our FD is very open to ammending the By Laws ans SOP's so putting forth well organized SOPs and By Law ammendments is well worth doing.

    Even though some of our officers which just got voted in with out any formal training, they all agree "What is done is done now let's move forward" and they are very open to the idea of minimum standards.

    Currently we require only:

    NIMS 100,200,700,800
    16 Hour state mandatied FF050 course.

    How do you in your Fire Departments keeping any Tom Dick or Henry from becoming the Chief? Etc?

    Our FD just voted out our Chief who has 30 years experience, and founded our FD with a training folder 1 inch thick. Our new Chief is 22, and has a very full plate outside of the FD already.

    The obvious choice is NOT vote in kids, LOL we realize that being we are small (20 members) everyone here knows well I am sure how departmental politics work though. My thought is change the rules enough so they simply can not run in the first place. If you are not qualified to some degree you should not have the opprotunity to run the show until (through training etc you have proven you are worthy to lead)

    Thanks all and all input is welcome.
    Pete

  2. #2
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    How about mandating Basic Firefighting and live burn? Officers should be commisioned at the FFI level at the least. Why do you need an equipment officer? What is his role? Do you really need a public infromation officer with only 50 calls in a year? Make the chief handle public relations and equipment. Contact the state about training. You would be surprised at the number of classes offered free of charge.

    We are currently redoing our SOGs, so I don't have a copy for you. My dept. is also in need of a revision on how we appoint officers. Be prepared to have the "this is how we always done it" attutide come out.

    Good Luck.
    FF/Paramedic

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    You might need to be a little carful about what standards you set. Not that I'm against standards, but with only 20 people and depending on training available, you might find that you can't fill some positions in a few years.

    That said, here are our standards as I remember them, for fire officers. We have similar requirements for Rescue and EMS officers.

    Sergeant: FF1, First Responder, CPR
    LT: Above + FF2 + Haz Mat Ops
    Capt: Above + FO1
    Deputy Chief: Above + 1 Yr as lower officer and EMT
    Asst Chief: Same as above
    Chief: Above + 1 year as Asst or Deputy Chief.

    There are also NIMS rqmts that I can't think of off the top of my head.

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    PIO <--- That's me LOL

    PIO is used to funnel information up and down the ladder at the FD both as per training, schedules, fund raising, etc etc. Think of it as PIO and IIO rolled together in one. In the formal sense of the position in our area we have many distinct situations which would call for a PIO as per media if the situation ever came to be. The PIO in our department is the public face of the FD in all ways from the Web Site to the business relationships we have with folks in the community and companies in our community.

    My personal background is prefect for that as I am very well qualified for what I do in the department. (LOL I exceed about any criteria there could be for that position.)

    The end goal though is to make it so all FD positions are at a higher level and standard. If ya want to wear the hat, you should have to SHOW prior to elections you are qualified to do so.

    Thanks for your input, good to see another TN'er here!

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    Equipment Officer <-----in our FD serves as the go between from the Volunteer and the Chief. AKA keeps the volunteers from calling the chief day and night. AKA I need a new glove I lost one, or my radio battery is not lasting, Blah Blah Blah. Chief needs to be the Chief and not be overly bogged down with the day to day. We are a true Volunteer FD so have no one at the hall 24-7.
    The Equipment Officer also, signs in and out gear, keys, etc. He keeps a computer inventory of all items at the FD from gear to hoses. He does basic maint on the truck and equipment etc. In a nut shell if it has to do with gear or equipment he is the guy ya go to.

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    Chief-
    Administrative Requirements:
    Must be 4 years active member; Must be cleared to drive and operate all apparatus; Must have been a fire line officer for 3 years; Must have run 30 incidents year preceding.

    Training and Education:
    Basic First Aid; Current CPR Healthcare provider; FF I and II; Haz Mat Ops; the NIMS Series classes; Incident Safety Officer; Fire Officer I and II. Must have 36 hours continuing education annually.

    Assistant Chief-
    Administrative Requirements:
    Active member for 3 years; and all other requirements listed above for Chief with the exception of Fire Officer II.
    Education and Training: Same as listed above as Chief PLUS must complete Fire Officer II within 2 years of becoming an Asst. Chief.

    Captain-
    Administrative Requirements:
    Active member for 2 years; Same others as Asst. Chief
    Education and Training: Same as Asst. Chief EXCEPT does NOT have to complete Fire Officer II.

    Lieutenant-
    Administrative Requirements:
    Active member for 1 year; Same others as Captain
    Education and Training: Same as Captain EXCEPT does not have to have Fire Officer I. Must complete Fire Officer I within a year, however.

    Administrative Officers- (Pres., VP, Sec, Treas)
    Must be an active member for 2 or more years.

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    ...and

    Safety Officer:
    Active member 3 years
    FF I and II
    First Aid and CPR (First Responder recommended)
    Haz Mat Awareness (Operations is recommended)
    NIMS Series
    Incident Safety Officer
    Basic Auto Extrication (Advanced is recommended)
    Confined Space

    PIO:
    3 years active member


    Also: Equipment Officer duties are done by one of the Lieutenants.

    If we are unable to fill a position, it sits vacant until someone meets the requirements. In our experience, this has encouraged members to get more training, as opposed to watering down the requirements....
    Last edited by CustomShields; 12-16-2009 at 03:47 PM.

  8. #8
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    Post And Now...............

    Here's what we have........

    Firefighter - Firefighter I, EMT-B, Hazmat Awareness, CPR & AED,
    Driver-Operator - Above and Pumps, EVOC, One Year as Firefighter I
    Lieutenant - Above and Firefighter II
    Captain - Above and Fire Officer I, Fire Instructor I, Three Years on.
    Deputy Chief Above and Fire Officer II and 4 Years on. 1 Year as Captain
    Assistant Chief - Same as D/C
    Chief - Same as Above and 5 years on. 1 year as Deputy or Asst. Chief

    All Courses are Required to be Certified thru the National Pro Board except EMS Items that NBFSPQ does not cover.

    Every one must pass an Annual SCBA Fit Test.

    Annual EMS recerts are required.

    All Officers must get 12 Hours of Continuing Education Annually

    NIMS classes for 100,200,300,400,700, and 800, are required as you move up the ladder. (Not sure which Class for which Rank )
    Last edited by hwoods; 12-16-2009 at 04:20 PM.
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  9. #9
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    What does YOUR Fire Department require for minimum standards or qualifications to be an office or executive committee member for the below positions.
    I don't know if this will help you since our requirements are based upon paid staff.

    It seems to me that you do not want the firefighters ranks and duties in the Bylaws. The Executive Board (officers) should be defined in the Bylaws, but the firefighters responsibilities, ranks and requirements, along with punishments should be in a Policy Manual. The SOP/SOGs should discuss Operations, etc. Sometimes Policy and SOP/SOGs may share common elements or jump across the lines, but they must be clear.

    Rookie - Still trying to put everything together
    Firefighter - FF1/FF2/NIMS 700,100,200/HAZMAT Awareness/EVDT/EMT-B
    Sergeant - Add Apparatus Ops (pumps, hydrology)/ HAZMAT OPS (1 year)
    Lieutenant - Add FO1, NIMS300 - EXAM (2 years, or 200hrs FGE) (Age 22)
    Captain - Add FO2, NIMS400 - EXAM (3 years, or 300hrs FGE) (Age 25)
    Major - Add FO3, Instructor - EXAM (3 years, or 300hrs FGE) (Age 25)
    Asst Chief - EXAM (4 years, and 400hrs FGE) (Age 25)
    Dep Chief - EXAM (4 years, and 400 FGE) (Age 25)
    Chief - EXAM (5 years executive experience, Associate Degree Science or Business) (AGE 30) (The average age over the last 20 years has been about 45 with 20 years experience) Tenures last average of 8 years.

    *FGE = Equivilent - Fire Ground Experience

    There are some other training requirements but these are primary.

    In order to test or promote for rank, the candidate must be with the dept 50% of the required length of service. Example: Asst Chief 4 yrs - must be on roster 2 years.

    This does two things. It build leadership from within the dept, and promotes respect within the dept. They know the guy knows his stuff.

    Only the Chief position can be attracted from outside, due to the education requirements.

    This might be a higher standard than what you want to do, but your Chief should be the best trained and most knowledgable person. He has to be the standard bearer. He should be able to lead by example. He must ba able to instill confidence in those he commands.

    One of the issues that occurs many times when depts elect their officers, it becomes a popularity contest. That can lead to a dangerous situation. If the most popular guy isn't the brightest bulb in the box, he will most likely cause more issues than solve.

    You guys have to do the best that you can with who you have. That usually means many people will wear more than 1 hat.

    I served in a small district many, many years ago. By their Bylaws,When they elected a Chairman, he also became Fire Chief. One annual election gave us a guy that didn't have any fire experience, but he did command scenes. We had several guys very badly injured , two with major burns due to fire ground command failures. He was impeached and many lawsuits nearly closed the dept down. The responsibilities are just too awesome to leave to someone that has no experience. They rewrote their Bylaws during the lawsuits trying to mitigate the damages, and it helped some. After that, the Fire Chief had to have FF1/FF2 and could not be a Board member. You just cannot answer to yourself and someone has to be held accountable.

    I require my officers today to be very skilled. I demand that they serve their crews and not themselves. I get very impatient with the guys that put their rank and position of authority in front of doing the duty; the swelled head syndrome. Officers that do not respect their people will quickly lose the respect of those they lead, and they will find none from me.
    HAVE PLAN.............WILL TRAVEL

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    Just a quick thank you to everyone who posted here. I have a very similar situation to PIO Pete. Now to make sure it never happens again!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaladinKnight View Post
    I don't know if this will help you since our requirements are based upon paid staff.

    It seems to me that you do not want the firefighters ranks and duties in the Bylaws. The Executive Board (officers) should be defined in the Bylaws, but the firefighters responsibilities, ranks and requirements, along with punishments should be in a Policy Manual. The SOP/SOGs should discuss Operations, etc. Sometimes Policy and SOP/SOGs may share common elements or jump across the lines, but they must be clear.

    Rookie - Still trying to put everything together
    Firefighter - FF1/FF2/NIMS 700,100,200/HAZMAT Awareness/EVDT/EMT-B
    Sergeant - Add Apparatus Ops (pumps, hydrology)/ HAZMAT OPS (1 year)
    Lieutenant - Add FO1, NIMS300 - EXAM (2 years, or 200hrs FGE) (Age 22)
    Captain - Add FO2, NIMS400 - EXAM (3 years, or 300hrs FGE) (Age 25)
    Major - Add FO3, Instructor - EXAM (3 years, or 300hrs FGE) (Age 25)
    Asst Chief - EXAM (4 years, and 400hrs FGE) (Age 25)
    Dep Chief - EXAM (4 years, and 400 FGE) (Age 25)
    Chief - EXAM (5 years executive experience, Associate Degree Science or Business) (AGE 30) (The average age over the last 20 years has been about 45 with 20 years experience) Tenures last average of 8 years.

    *FGE = Equivilent - Fire Ground Experience

    There are some other training requirements but these are primary.

    In order to test or promote for rank, the candidate must be with the dept 50% of the required length of service. Example: Asst Chief 4 yrs - must be on roster 2 years.

    This does two things. It build leadership from within the dept, and promotes respect within the dept. They know the guy knows his stuff.

    Only the Chief position can be attracted from outside, due to the education requirements.

    This might be a higher standard than what you want to do, but your Chief should be the best trained and most knowledgable person. He has to be the standard bearer. He should be able to lead by example. He must ba able to instill confidence in those he commands.

    One of the issues that occurs many times when depts elect their officers, it becomes a popularity contest. That can lead to a dangerous situation. If the most popular guy isn't the brightest bulb in the box, he will most likely cause more issues than solve.

    You guys have to do the best that you can with who you have. That usually means many people will wear more than 1 hat.

    I served in a small district many, many years ago. By their Bylaws,When they elected a Chairman, he also became Fire Chief. One annual election gave us a guy that didn't have any fire experience, but he did command scenes. We had several guys very badly injured , two with major burns due to fire ground command failures. He was impeached and many lawsuits nearly closed the dept down. The responsibilities are just too awesome to leave to someone that has no experience. They rewrote their Bylaws during the lawsuits trying to mitigate the damages, and it helped some. After that, the Fire Chief had to have FF1/FF2 and could not be a Board member. You just cannot answer to yourself and someone has to be held accountable.

    I require my officers today to be very skilled. I demand that they serve their crews and not themselves. I get very impatient with the guys that put their rank and position of authority in front of doing the duty; the swelled head syndrome. Officers that do not respect their people will quickly lose the respect of those they lead, and they will find none from me.
    Is the age out to the side a requirement? As usual, great post.
    FF/Paramedic

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    Awesome info here guys keep it coming I plan to print this before our officer meeting also to show our current officers what some other FDs do. This is really great input so far. Thanks again and keep it coming!

    Pete

  13. #13
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    Is the age out to the side a requirement? As usual, great post.
    Thanks.

    Yes the age is a requirement. It is somewhat middle-ground assuming a new start begins at 19 or 20. The candiate must at least acheive that age within 6 months of assuming that rank; the only exception.

    Also, the Chief can mandate an exception for training requirement if the training is in progress, EMT or FO. Of course they have to pass the class or step down. All officers are on a 180 day interim probation basis in case they go nuts. It has happened. Sometimes new officers forget the ranks comes with a price, new duties and responsibilities. Some just seem to shut down and try to push the paperwork and duties off on subordinates. We give a new officer a short rope to correct this when he it occurs.

    These requirements prevent the situation you have, and it prevents having command officers that just have book smarts. The fire ground experience is based upon data from incident reports. Hours on Structure fires are counted at 110%, groundcover and other fire are counted at 90%. Rescues and Medicals are counted based up on scene time only. Service calls and Good Intent calls don't count. Of course there are other things in there but add up based upon the nature. The experience factor leans heavily on structures, which is where it should.

    I am the oldest Chief that has served here, but my assignment was one of a special nature to change some things. I am only here for a specified time. The guy that will replace me has already been selected, as soon as he completes his Assoc of Science. So we are on his clock, not mine. (I hope he gets it done by summer. I got things to do.)

    But I already push him and the other officers to command most things since they don't need me to stand behind them or look over their shoulder. They know if I put my gear on, that something is about to hit the fan, or already has. If they call the old man off the bench, then it has to be bad or beyond their expertise. In today's world, it can easily grow beyond anyone's skill set, but you have to fallback to thinking outside of the box.

    My job is more based upon the budget, getting them the tools to do the job, keeping our neighbors happy, rubbing elbows with government officals and keeping the natives calm. There is something about the Chief's age that gives the agency credibility. That is more a society thing than fair.

    When you do this nearly 40 years, it isn't so important about being in charge, it is about experience and common sense; that can be found inside alot of good people if they are given a chance. Hence it is a good idea to build your commanders and keep them in the pipeline.

    Some of the best Chiefs I have known, held themselves to a higher standard than did their peers. That is why it is so darn hard to fill those big old boots after they leave. Some guys worry too much about the comparision to the old guy. You just have to worry about what you do and not worry about who sat in the chair before you. If you do a great job, then you'll grow big feet. If you screw up, they already have the rope.
    HAVE PLAN.............WILL TRAVEL

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    Got an email address for me to send our SOG's to??
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    Altoona Fire Dept.
    Altoona, WI

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  15. #15
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    Company Officers:
    First & Second Lieutenant
    -Must have at least two years in the company and three years experience as a Fire Fighter.
    -Must have New Jersey Fire Fighter Level 1 Certificate issued by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Division of Fire Safety.
    -Must have passed Pump School.-
    Must have an I.M.S. Level 1 Certificate issued by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Division of Fire Safety.
    -Must be FAST Level II certified.

    Captain:
    -Must have served as 1st & 2nd Lt. for at least one year respectively.
    -Must have at least three years in the company and five years experience as a Fire Fighter.
    -Must have New Jersey Fire Fighter Level 1 Certificate issued by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Division of Fire Safety.
    -Must be approved operator as per the Driver/Operator Standard Operating Guideline.
    -Must have an I.M.S. Level 1 Certificate issued by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Division of Fire Safety.
    -Must be FAST Level II certified.

    Deputy Chief:
    -Must have served as Captain for at least one year.
    -Must have at least five years in the company and six years experience as a Fire Fighter.
    -Must have New Jersey Fire Fighter Level 1 Certificate issued by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Division of Fire Safety.
    -Must be approved operator as per the Driver/Operator Standard Operating Guideline.
    -Must have an I.M.S. Level 1 Certificate issued by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Division of Fire Safety.
    -Must be FAST Level II certified.

    Safety Officer
    -Must have at least two years in the department as a Fire Fighter.
    -Must have New Jersey Fire Fighter Level 1 Certificate issued by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Division of Fire Safety.
    -Must have an I.M.S. Level 1 Certificate issued by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Division of Fire Safety.
    -Must have passed a Safety Officers Training class or its equivalent.
    -Must be FAST Level II certified.

    Assistant Chief
    -Must have served as Deputy Chief for at least one year.
    -Must have at least six years in the department and seven years experience as a Fire Fighter.
    -Must have New Jersey Fire Fighter Level 1 Certificate issued by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Division of Fire Safety.
    -Must be approved operator as per the Driver/Operator Standard Operating Guideline.
    -Must have an I.M.S. Level 1 Certificate issued by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Division of Fire Safety.
    -Must be FAST Level II certified.

    Department Chief
    -Must have served as Assistant Chief for at least one year.
    -Must have at least seven years in the department and eight years experience as a Fire Fighter.
    -Must have New Jersey Fire Fighter Level 1 Certificate issued by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Division of Fire Safety.
    -Must be approved operator as per the Driver/Operator Standard Operating Guideline.
    -Must have an I.M.S. Level 1 Certificate issued by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs, Division of Fire Safety.
    -Must be FAST Level II certified.

    And the state requires IMS 300+400 for Chief Level officers.
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    We have an officer meeting tomorrow, I hope these guys will heed some good advice thanks guys so far!

  17. #17
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    In addition to what Bones has (I'm in the same state, and our requirements are fairly close).

    We mandate that LT's be qualified to operate all engines and that Capt on up are qualified on all apparatus.

    This way you have to have more than a feq quals and a passing interest to get elected.

    .
    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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    To be chief one must have held the position of dep at least one time in 5 years.
    Must be alble to drive all apparatus.
    Have ff1-2 Incident command, Haz mat ops, Fire officer 1-2 , rescue schools etc etc.

    on the lowest end is the captain , where you must have rescue school, ff1-2- Fire Officer 1 and be able to drive at least one engine.

    In Pa they have Fire Police. To be capt. or Lt. you need Fire police basic and advanced,
    legal concepts- incident command and a lot of other traffic related courses.

    If you have a position that cannot be filled due to requirements, the chief can appoint someone. That means if the new cap. cannot drive the truck, they will learn. If they are missing BVR they will take it.

    There is no way that a ff that has just ff1 and haz mat will ever be chief. They don';t have the qualifications.

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