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    Default Obviously Not the Only One Thinking This Way .....

    Fornell: Imagine for a Moment - Legislation in Texas

    by Capt. Dave Fornell
    Created: April 25, 2013

    A bill that goes before Texas politicians this week prohibits the state from regulating any volunteer fire department and prohibits the state from requiring a volunteer firefighter or industrial emergency response team member to obtain a license or...

    by Glen E. Ellman

    A bill that prohibits the state of Texas from regulating any volunteer fire department and prohibits the state from requiring volunteers to obtain a license or certification is going moving forward...

    What would you think if you read this tomorrow morning in your morning paper or on your iPhone?

    WASHINGTON (UPI) April 24, 2013 - The Pentagon announced yesterday that because of cutbacks in defense funding and the limited time that National Guard and Reserve units have available for training, new rules are being put together that will allow these part-time units to go into battle with little or no training.

    Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said during a press conference yesterday that while regular Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine units will still be required to meet stringent training requirements, because the Guard and Reserve units are only part time, they don’t really need to train at all.

    “They can get all the training the need when they go into battle because there are still older members on the roster who have enough experience to teach new enlistees, and because they are only part time, except when they are called up, they can spend their active duty weekends and summer camps maintaining the equipment and even doing fund raising,” said Hagel.

    “It costs money to properly train the troops and with funds short because of the sequester budget cuts, we don’t need to waste money on training that may or may not be needed,” continued Hagel.

    Members of Congress immediately released statements questioning the action, saying that in times of emergency, these units are expected to perform up to the standards of regular military units.

    “The enemy does not differentiate between regular and part-time units,” said Senator John Dugg (D-OH), citing the fact that the National Guard and Reserve units are serving right now on the front lines in Afghanistan and South Korea.

    “Well,” said Hagel, “If we make them train all the time, we would not get any volunteers to enlist so, that’s why I’ve asked the president to push for legislation to make sure that the Defense Department removes all requirements for training—actually to make it illegal for us to require any standards at all for Guard and Reserve unit personnel.”

    Think about that story for a moment and think about how that would affect our nation’s security, and how many troops would be lost in battle while trying to fight while learning how to fire a weapon.

    Pretty absurd, isn’t it? Could you imagine the U.S. Congress letting the Defense Department get away with such an impractical plan?

    Well, check out what’s happening in Texas. Right now, the State Senate is moving to enact SB-766 that does what was just described.

    And incredibly, the bill is being vigorously supported by the State Firemen’s and Fire Marshals’ Association of Texas (SFFMA), as well.

    The bill prohibits the state from regulating any volunteer fire department and prohibits the state from requiring a volunteer firefighter or industrial emergency response team member to obtain a license or certification.

    The SFFMA says that the bill will, “make it clear, once and for all, that the state should not impose mandatory licensing, regulation and red tape on volunteer firefighters."

    The group claims that in these tough economic times, it has become increasingly difficult to recruit and retain volunteer firefighters and, “those that do, should not have to ask Austin bureaucrats for permission first!”

    While paid firefighters in Texas will still have to be certified to NFPA Firefighter I and II standards, the volunteers want no such encumbrances to their firefighting activities.


    The SFFMA still encourages volunteers to get as much formal training as possible, but does not want the lack of training to stand in the way of facing the red devil.

    It seems to me that because many states mandate certain levels of training before a firefighter can don gear at a fire, and with nationwide standards such as NFPA 1001, mandating basic and advance skills training, it is beyond all rational thought that no matter how well intended, this bill would allow inexperienced firefighters to operate in dangerous environments.
    Train to fight the fires you fight.

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    Yes they should be trained

    But Texas does not fund the volunteers like they should be funded

    Plus the few academies in Texas

    Plus you can almost get tx certified entirely on line

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    Quote Originally Posted by fire49 View Post
    Yes they should be trained

    But Texas does not fund the volunteers like they should be funded

    Plus the few academies in Texas

    Plus you can almost get tx certified entirely on line
    The predominant funding should come from the local community served. The state can help by allowing dept's to bid through the state's purchasing channels for better pricing.

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    Just because Texas is taking a GIANT leap backwards is no reason to celebrate. It is just another pathetic example of the fire service being its own worst enemy some times.

    Further what you see as a mandate for standards for training to be set inhouse I see as the ability for some volly FDs to not train on a damn thing and go back to the "Good Old Boy" days of cards and beer on training night. Some victory for the fire service that will be.
    Last edited by FyredUp; 05-02-2013 at 06:15 PM.
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    The bill prohibits the state from regulating any volunteer fire department and prohibits the state from requiring a volunteer firefighter or industrial emergency response team member to obtain a license or certification.

    The SFFMA says that the bill will, “make it clear, once and for all, that the state should not impose mandatory licensing, regulation and red tape on volunteer firefighters."

    The group claims that in these tough economic times, it has become increasingly difficult to recruit and retain volunteer firefighters and, “those that do, should not have to ask Austin bureaucrats for permission first!”
    If that is the case, then these FD's should not be allowed to apply for SAFER grants, FIRE ACT grants nor should they submit anything for any state or Federal LODD benefits, because sending someone to fight a fire without any training whatsoever is the suicide mission that LAFE thinks that trained professional career, call and volunteer firefighters do daily when they go interior to fight a fire.
    ‎"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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    Well this is the current attitude in the state of Texas:::::




    Volunteer fire fighter certification
    Volunteer fire fighters and individual fire fighters who are not affiliated with a department can participate voluntarily in the commission's certification programs. The certification requirements for volunteers and individuals are the same as for paid fire protection personnel.

    Volunteers who have achieved advanced certification with the State Firemen's and Fire Marshals' Association of Texas (SFFMA) may qualify to complete the commission-designated skill evaluation process and take the certification exam (please see Chapter 423 of the Standards Manual).

    Individuals and volunteers can maintain their certification by completing the required hours of continuing education each year and paying the required renewal fee. A form for documenting completed CE, Form TCFP-010 , is available on this site.

    Volunteer fire department regulations
    The Texas Commission on Fire Protection regulates training, personal protective gear and breathing apparatus of paid fire departments. The commission does not regulate volunteer fire departments unless the volunteer department chooses to participate in the commission's regulatory programs, but this participation is strictly voluntary (please see Chapter 495 of the Standards Manual for more information on voluntary regulation).

    The commission has no statutory authority with regard to apparatus, response times or similar matters. Concerns regarding these issues should be brought to the attention of local authorities.

    While the commission does not regulate volunteer fire departments it does have a resource library that may aid volunteer departments in providing training for fire fighters. This is a free service with the only cost being the return postage on borrowed resources. Please see the resource library overview page for more information.

    The State Firemen's and Fire Marshals' Association of Texas (SFFMA) is an organization that may be able to provide volunteer fire departments. Additionally, the Texas Forest Service has a grant program and other resources available to assist volunteer fire departments





    http://www.tcfp.texas.gov/home/FAQs...._certification

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    Quote Originally Posted by DeputyChiefGonzo View Post
    If that is the case, then these FD's should not be allowed to apply for SAFER grants, FIRE ACT grants nor should they submit anything for any state or Federal LODD benefits, because sending someone to fight a fire without any training whatsoever is the suicide mission that LAFE thinks that trained professional career, call and volunteer firefighters do daily when they go interior to fight a fire.
    I would disagree with you under the instance of a department applying for training to achieve a level of ceritification equal to or greater than NFPA FF1. Once they prove that, then they should be allowed back in the program.

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    One department in the West area of Texas lost 16% of their membership in the explosion at West. And it wasn't the West Fire Department.

    On online source indicated that the department (the name escapes me) had all of six members...

    The point? There are more than a few departments out there (and the vast expanses of Texas just make it all the more likely) that are on a shoestring. One could argue that they shouldn't even be a fire department, but when the nearest help is otherwise 10+ miles away, a few guys with a fire truck or two look pretty good to the populace (such as it is).
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

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    I see idiocy flourishes in Texas, much like in Louisiana......Must be in the water down there.
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    Keep in mind this is the state who's governor was campaigning on cutting the size of the Federal Government at the same time he was screaming that the Federal Government wasn't sending enough help to his state when it was on fire.

    The people of Texas have always treated me well when I have been there. Hands down one of the friendliest places I have ever fought fire, but their phobia of regulation borders on delusion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Here and there View Post
    Keep in mind this is the state who's governor was campaigning on cutting the size of the Federal Government at the same time he was screaming that the Federal Government wasn't sending enough help to his state when it was on fire.

    The people of Texas have always treated me well when I have been there. Hands down one of the friendliest places I have ever fought fire, but their phobia of regulation borders on delusion.
    Well said. I've enjoyed the people I've met when I've visited the state. But their disdain for any rules and regulations is almost frightening.

    We saw the effects of that mindset in West, TX. An industrial accident that was 100% preventable.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tree68 View Post
    One department in the West area of Texas lost 16% of their membership in the explosion at West. And it wasn't the West Fire Department.

    On online source indicated that the department (the name escapes me) had all of six members...

    The point? There are more than a few departments out there (and the vast expanses of Texas just make it all the more likely) that are on a shoestring. One could argue that they shouldn't even be a fire department, but when the nearest help is otherwise 10+ miles away, a few guys with a fire truck or two look pretty good to the populace (such as it is).
    Some can't see that in many, many places that is the reality of the fire service, and mandated standards will destroy what little bit that they have.
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    [QUOTE=LaFireEducator;1366390]Some can't see that in many, many places that is the reality of the fire service, and mandated standards will destroy what little bit that they have.[/QUOTE

    Or could the standards start a culture of competence and attract members who would rather be good than lucky?

    MAN! I still cant figure the quote deal out!

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Some can't see that in many, many places that is the reality of the fire service, and mandated standards will destroy what little bit that they have.
    Or it will make them better and attract the type of folks who are interested in that level of competence.

    When you say, "destroy," you really mean your involvement will no longer be required. And that scares you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by scfire86 View Post
    When you say, "destroy," you really mean your involvement will no longer be required. And that scares you.
    One would think with his mindset that it would relieve him.
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    LA, you are the only firefighter here that thinks this way. You are jumping in the boat with politicians now. Never a good thing.

    Currently the TCFP (Texas Commission on Fire Protection) regulates professional firefighters in Texas, requires FF II and other certs to be a firefighter. The State Fire Marshall governs over the volunteers, and currently has no requirements to be a firefighter. There is a big push by many to get the volunteers rolled under TCFP, and that would lead to required certification (which is a good thing). This bill is trying to cripple TCFP's effort to standardize the state, has little support in the firefighting community and less support in the halls of government.

    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    I see idiocy flourishes in Texas, much like in Louisiana......Must be in the water down there.
    Easy now. This is a total political move. Does not involve real firefighters.

    Quote Originally Posted by Here and there View Post
    Keep in mind this is the state who's governor was campaigning on cutting the size of the Federal Government at the same time he was screaming that the Federal Government wasn't sending enough help to his state when it was on fire.

    The people of Texas have always treated me well when I have been there. Hands down one of the friendliest places I have ever fought fire, but their phobia of regulation borders on delusion.
    Well, Governor Pointy-Boots has a valid point, since we only get 1/3 of the money back in federal funding that we put in... unlike some other states (Connecticut, West Virgina, Mississippi, Hawaii...) that get more in federal funding than they put in. We are actually in a loosing deal with the federal tax system.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FWDbuff View Post
    One would think with his mindset that it would relieve him.
    It scares him because he is obviously one of those FF's whose entire identity is wrapped up in his profession. If that is taken away from him he's just another babbling old man walking down the street.

    He is only relevant because of his involvement with the VFD. He could no sooner quit than stop eating or breathing.
    Last edited by scfire86; 05-04-2013 at 11:26 AM.
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    Lowering training requirements to allow more bodies on the fire scene will not make us safer.

    Contrary to what you believe, LA, bodies with a pulse do not equate to safe fire ground operations. It equates to having more people to stand in the yard watching, because their level of training and confidence is so low they're scared to do anything.

    Aggressive training, attendance at state offered classes, taking your personal time to go to other classes/schools offered around the area makes for a safer fire ground.
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    Tx has about 117 certified academies and some of those are for a specific city dept only

    http://www.tcfp.texas.gov/certificat...facilities.asp


    They require around 468 hours of class


    http://www.tcfp.texas.gov//manuals/c.../chapter_1.pdf
    Last edited by fire49; 05-04-2013 at 11:00 AM.

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    I would rather have 6 trained and certified guys than 15 Pubed Idiots who think they know what they are doing.

    I bet it makes him happy that there are ZERO requirements in the State of Pa. to be a firefighter- but it probably kills him to know that MANY vfd's REQUIRE (on their own mind you!!!) that their members be certified to some minumum standard, usually FFI for newer guys and FFII for more senior guys. And in most cases officers all have to have more requisite training as well.
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    This is bugging me, so lets break it down. TCFP, which controls paid firefighters, wants to take over the volunteer portion of firefighting in Texas. SFFMA, the State Fire Marshall which is over the volunteers would be out of a big portion of their jobs.

    Also of note, volunteer firefighting is not what it is in say Pennsylvania (which by the way has no mandatory standards for volunteers either, and lets it up to individual departments to pursue FF I & II). But in Texas, almost all cities with a population of over 10,000 have a paid fire department. There is not the large tradition of volunteer fire service as there is in the northeast. The volunteer departments we do have are mostly brush trucks and tenders, covering vast open county rural areas. They almost never arrive to a structure in time to save anything. There are some big volunteer departments, mostly made up of big city paid guys that live out in the country, that hold up FF II training standards, but they are rare.

    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post

    Well, check out what’s happening in Texas. Right now, the State Senate is moving to enact SB-766 that does what was just described.

    And incredibly, the bill is being vigorously supported by the State Firemen’s and Fire Marshals’ Association of Texas (SFFMA), as well.
    SFFMA governs the volunteers, has no set standards that need to be met for volunteers, does cerfify volunteers under a training program, but is not required to be a Jippy-Joe (Texas version of a Wacker).


    The bill prohibits the state from regulating any volunteer fire department and prohibits the state from requiring a volunteer firefighter or industrial emergency response team member to obtain a license or certification.

    The SFFMA says that the bill will, “make it clear, once and for all, that the state should not impose mandatory licensing, regulation and red tape on volunteer firefighters."
    If SFFMA would agree that they need to certify the volunteers, then it would only make sense to roll up the certs under TCFP. Essentially, if SFFMA does what is right, they cease to exist.

    The group claims that in these tough economic times, it has become increasingly difficult to recruit and retain volunteer firefighters and, “those that do, should not have to ask Austin bureaucrats for permission first!”

    While paid firefighters in Texas will still have to be certified to NFPA Firefighter I and II standards, the volunteers want no such encumbrances to their firefighting activities.
    This is where TCFP comes in. And we have two organizations doing the same, but opposite things.


    The SFFMA still encourages volunteers to get as much formal training as possible, but does not want the lack of training to stand in the way of facing the red devil.

    It seems to me that because many states mandate certain levels of training before a firefighter can don gear at a fire, and with nationwide standards such as NFPA 1001, mandating basic and advance skills training, it is beyond all rational thought that no matter how well intended, this bill would allow inexperienced firefighters to operate in dangerous environments.
    You get the fire protection your community is willing to pay for. You want more than a brush truck and a 70 year old dude in overalls showing up, you need to fund it. If you want a fully paid, ISO certified, career fire department, pay for it.

    Either way, the situation in Texas between SFFMA and TCFP is ridiculous. Need to roll it all into TCFP, make mandatory certifications for structural firefighting with the volunteers and get it over with.
    ~Drew
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Some can't see that in many, many places that is the reality of the fire service, and mandated standards will destroy what little bit that they have.
    You, the messsiah of safety, see absolutely no problem with no standards whatsoever for volunteer firefighters. This is where your apple cart of nonsense gets tipped over. How can having no recognized standards of any sort make any occupation safer? Come on LA explain that? And to what other agencies would you extend that same power of no recognized standards?
    Last edited by FyredUp; 05-04-2013 at 06:48 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Some can't see that in many, many places that is the reality of the fire service, and mandated standards will destroy what little bit that they have.
    Quote Originally Posted by conrad427 View Post
    Or could the standards start a culture of competence and attract members who would rather be good than lucky?

    MAN! I still cant figure the quote deal out!
    Fixed it for ya.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chenzo View Post
    Lowering training requirements to allow more bodies on the fire scene will not make us safer.

    Contrary to what you believe, LA, bodies with a pulse do not equate to safe fire ground operations. It equates to having more people to stand in the yard watching, because their level of training and confidence is so low they're scared to do anything.

    Aggressive training, attendance at state offered classes, taking your personal time to go to other classes/schools offered around the area makes for a safer fire ground.
    Never have I advocated for "bodies with a pulse" on the fireground as being acceptable.

    I have advocated for each department being able to decide what thier local needs are based on how they operate and the services they provide, and then designing their department specific training around those department specific needs.

    If the department decides that they want primarily external operations, that is thier call.

    Simply put, local control of training vs. the dictate of the state.

    Let's be accurate.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    You, the messsiah of safety, see absolutely no problem with no standards whatsoever for volunteer firefighters. This is where you apple cart of nonsense gets tipped over. How can having no recognized standards of any sort make any occupation safer? Come on LA explain that? And to what other agencies would you extend that same power of no recognized standards?
    First of all, volunteer firefighting is not am occupation. Hobby? Vocation? But not an occupation.

    Sure, requiring FFI will make it safer. Requiring FFII will make it even safer. requiring D/O for drivers and Officer I for officers will make it even safer. No disagreement there. None at all.

    But what will having 20%, 30% or maybe even 50% fewer volunteer firefighters in a small town do for safety? What will having 20%, 30% or maybe even 50% fewer volunteers available for mutual aid do for safety? I see it making it even more unsafe.

    Training needs should be determined locally by each department.

    As far as extending the same power of no recognized standards to other agencies, that's none of my concern.
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