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Thread: Departments that promote from firefighter to officer

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    Default Departments that promote from firefighter to officer

    I am researching medium to large sized departments (300+) that allow firefighters to promote to Lt. or Capt. without first serving as a driver. My dept. currently requires time as a driver and I would like to discuss the pros/cons with someone from a department that does not. I am currently aware of Denver and Seattle.

    Thanks

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    I've never heard of such a thing. Not saying that it doesn't exist, but I would have no idea where to find such a department.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mcfx5 View Post
    I am researching medium to large sized departments (300+) that allow firefighters to promote to Lt. or Capt. without first serving as a driver. My dept. currently requires time as a driver and I would like to discuss the pros/cons with someone from a department that does not. I am currently aware of Denver and Seattle.

    Thanks
    But do they ride the driver's seat sometimes???

    Could have hose pullers that have been on other departments that have experience, or they have been on a departent for a long time in that postion and finally decided they want to advance

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    Quote Originally Posted by MidazoWHAM! View Post
    I've never heard of such a thing. Not saying that it doesn't exist, but I would have no idea where to find such a department.
    FDNY has no driver requirement prior to promotion.

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    Our department (550 personnel) doesn't have a driver position, but all personnel are required to be released drivers 1 year after the completion of recruit school.

    Loudoun County, VA allows personnel to promote from FF to LT without ever having sat in the driver's seat. They have a "technician" position (chauffeur, engineer, whatever you want to call it) which is a promotion from FF, but you don't have to hold that to be a LT.
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    Default The Old Days

    Over time do Fire Departments weaken in this area? Forty years ago in our fire department, you had to be a Firefighter for five, (5) years before you could even take the Engineers test. Then you had to be an Engineer for at least three, (3) years before even being qualified to take the Captains test. No Lieutenants. On top of that there was required additional college education, experience and usually, (not always) the best rounded and experienced guys got the few promotions. The more acting time, pump jobs, hours worked out of grade the better and so on. A true meritocracy. ISO Class 1.

    Now my spies tell me my old outfit promotes directly from Firefighter to Engineer only after three, (3) years and from Engineer to Captain, (again, no Lieutenants) in ONLY ONE YEAR, and Captain to Battalion Chief in only one year and so on. What makes it even worserer is that they run Constant Staffing Management and ZERO acting time is now available. All call backs are overtime rank for rank. A guy can go from Firefighter to Engineer without ever having driven to an emergency call... and have! Seems this all came from the Union? Not good. My opinion only. HB of CJ (old coot)

    About 400,000 population. About 184 sworn personnel. 14 Engines, 3 Trucks, 2 Battalions. 57 minimum. ISO Class 3 right now. Soon maybe a 4? Dunno. Does not look good. The promotion process THEN included a written test, practical exam and oral interview. Still does as far as I know. The results seems to be more pencil neck geeks are being promoted way too fast. Practical experience seems to be totally lacking, but that is just me. The Union loves the big overtime. Rank and file endures the 66 hr work weeks average. The average fire personnel makes well over $100K per year. High call volume. also.
    Last edited by HBofCJ; 04-25-2014 at 01:21 AM. Reason: added third paragraph

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    To throw another wrench in there for you, some departments do not have a formal Engineer position, either making all non officers a Firefighter / Engineer (all firefighters being qualified and required to drive / operate) and / or making Engineer an extra pay duty available to firefighters rather than being a promotional rank.

    I know of many smaller departments that do the first. San Francisco, CA is an example of a department that does the extra duty available to all qualified firefighters rather than having a set position / rank.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Here and there View Post
    To throw another wrench in there for you, some departments do not have a formal Engineer position, either making all non officers a Firefighter / Engineer (all firefighters being qualified and required to drive / operate) and / or making Engineer an extra pay duty available to firefighters rather than being a promotional rank.
    This how virtually all of the departments in my area do it, large and small.

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    FF to Lt around here, though there may be the odd dept that has engineer as a FF position, but not a rank. Every FF learns how to pass water, or throw the stick, and the driving is done in a rotation.

    Currently our dept has had a lot of young guys with very little experience pass the promotional exam, and get promotted. Their lack of experience is starting to show, and there is beginning to be a little bit of a buzz about increasing the number of years one must be a FF before they are eligable for promotion. Personally, I hope it happens; generally the best Lt's and Capt's are the ones who spent a considerable time (15-20 yrs) having fun on the back step, and then going for a promotion.
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    Quote Originally Posted by The52nd View Post
    ...there is beginning to be a little bit of a buzz about increasing the number of years one must be a FF before they are eligable for promotion. Personally, I hope it happens; generally the best Lt's and Capt's are the ones who spent a considerable time (15-20 yrs) having fun on the back step, and then going for a promotion.
    How many years must they have as a FF to qualify for promotion? There would be mutiny if we had to wait 15 years...
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    I grew up on a department that is the 5th largest City in California. 23 stations, 3 on duty BC's (you get the idea). I promoted to Captain with 10 years as a FF/PM. I never took an Engineer's test. It just wasn't my thing. Additionally, the pay for FF/PM is the same as Engineer. I couldn't see studying for a really tough exam when the pay was exactly the same.

    I now work as on a smaller neighboring department as a DC. We do not require that our candidates promote to Engineer before taking the Captain's test (no LT positions). We do, however, require that they take the California State FM course Driver Operator 1A and 1B. These are each a one week course.

    We do have internal discussions at the Chief level regarding the minimum requirements. One of my counterparts believes that you must be an Engineer to be a successful Officer. He was an Engineer, but never a Paramedic. I argue that since 90% of the calls we respond to are medical aids and you will be supervising these calls, you should be a Paramedic before you take the Captains test. I am not entirely sold on either position, but as you can imagine, it does foster some spirited debate.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    How many years must they have as a FF to qualify for promotion? There would be mutiny if we had to wait 15 years...
    Must have 3 years as a FF to be eligable to take the Lt's test. Not long enough to really get experience. I'd like to see the initial time in grade increased to somewhere between 5-10 years.
    CaptOldTimer and HBofCJ like this.

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