Hows it going people? I was a paid call fire fighter for about two years now going back to school and studying fire tech. I would like to get into Prevention down the road. This really interest me.... Does anyone have any advice on Career paths, classes, training? Anything would help. Thank you for your help.
In most departments, fire prevention personnel are promoted from within the department, meaning you have to be hired as a firefighter first, then get moved into that slot after a number of years.
In some departments, it's a sought after position. In others, there is little if any competition. In many it's a grave yard where short-timers or those who are having issues (medical or performance) on the line are sent to rot until retirement.
In many departments, these slots tend to be primarily inspection and code enforcement. Public education may be handled by the whole staff along with inspection/code enforcement duties or a small number of the staff may be dedicated to public education.
That being said, there are progressive departments, primarily in Florida and the southwest and the west coast that hire fire and life safety educators as civilian positions from outside. In many cases, these positions require and education degree or an educational background.
There are also state-level agencies that have prevention responsibilities. often these are enforcement and inspection roles, but many state Fire Marshal's offices also have some level of public education or juvenile firesetter intervention functions. I know that in a few states, such a Delaware, the State Fire Academy has statewide responsibility for fire prevention, public education and juvenile firesetter intervention.
A few years ago I attained an Alternative Elementary Education Certification, which was a 30-credit educational program offered by a local college to folks with a college degree in another area. In addition, I have achieved Public Educator I & II, and Inspector I certifications.
My recommendation would be to make contact with the larger departments and the state agency responsible for fire prevention in the area you live, or wish to live, and ask them how they staff their fire prevention/public education divisions, and what type of background they look for. Because of the wide variety of the ways that it is done, this will likely be your best course of action to develop a plan.
Thank you for the information, I'll have to look into the Public Educator I and II and Inspector courses.
Originally Posted by LaFireEducator
I saw in the other thread that you are in southern California.
I know for a fact that Orange County uses civilian public educators as I just attended the National Fire Academy with a couple. I also beleive that San Diego County also uses civilians to deliver public education as well.
Give them both a call and ask them what is the best route to get involved in public education as a civilian.
Are you in the fire service now? if so, the public education cirriculum delivered at the National Fire Academy is excellent, and there is no cost to the department to attend once a year if you qualify. You can attend more than one class a year at no cost except for a meal ticket, however the feds only cover travel for one class per year. Most classes are 6 days long with a day on each end for travel.
Also there is an juvenile firesetting conference once a year in San Diego.