1. #1
    Ohiofiremed57
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question Grandfathered... Is it safe?

    Our dept. has a few personal that are "grandfather'd" into the fireservice.
    For those who do not know what that is, "grandfathered" is a firefighter that has evolved through the fireservice, begining before 1965(or something like that) these people are not subject to taking ANY formal fire training.
    As a firefighter under the comand of these "OL TIMERS", I am here to tell you that the fireservice has evolved over the years and the old sane "put the wet stuff on the red stuff" just does'nt cut it anymore! I personally do not believe that being in the service for years substitutes hundreds of hours of fire training.
    I have debated this issue of years vs. training with several fire service profesionals. I have yet to recieve an answer that is satisfactory to myself or to my family, that I promise I will return home to after work. This is a concern that is eating away at me...
    I need some input from others....any input will help me get over this fear of inpending doom....ANYTHING!

    "The few, the proud, the insane!" ------------------


    [This message has been edited by Ohiofiremed57 (edited January 18, 2000).]

  2. #2
    Squad33
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Well I think it dedends on the individule. Do they keep up with new skills or say "back in the ol'days we ate smoke and liked it!" I do belive that actual experiance is very valuble and that these guys have seen things you just can't see, hear, or feel on the training ground. I know thats a very undifenitive answar but its what I got!

    Train how you play and
    PLAY HOW YOU TRAIN

    Steve

  3. #3
    Ohiofiremed57
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Exclamation

    I have had several years of expirence in the fire service. I agree that expirence is a training in it self. but... the way fireground tactics were operated 20 yrs. ago, and the way they are operated now, are completly different... For example pos. pressure ventilation. I have used it for years, and have taught in it's operation for just as long. When a so called "ol timer" arrives before my Engine Co. does, and orders ventilation efforts(such as breaking anything that is glass) and my crew implements an aggressive interior attack... Does this compliment our mission of protecting LIFE and PROPERTY??? I don't think... what began as a simple contents fire, has now (with the help of our "grandfathers") has evolved into a complete structure fire.... this is one of many examples I have...
    As a past training officer, I have made every attempt to bring these people up to date with modern day techniques. For this I recieve dirty looks and treated like an imposter....

    For Life and Property... I hope!

  4. #4
    R5
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    For many years, I have asked the same question you have posed. Here in South Carolina, we don't have a "grandfathering" system such as yours; however, we do have many command level officers with personnel management, fire command, and fireground tactics which are stuck in the late '60's or early '70's (if that late).
    What can be done about this? Unfortunately, not a bunch! What are some things you can do until the dinosaurs die off? Several. First,continue your training and education- it never hurt anyone, but has saved many. Second, show others, including those old timers, what the new techniques are during training sessions. Will it help? Maybe they'll see the light. If not, at least other members will get the new info and come to you or others with knowledge when the time is called for. Third, as long as you're in the fire service, never allow your knowldege and education drive to stop. Don't become what needs to be eradicated. Lastly, remind your students not to let their skills and training levels drop as they advance in rank. Pass on what you have seen so the same mistakes aren't perpetuated.
    Good luck.

  5. #5
    Bob Snyder
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Talking

    There is no room for "grandfathering" when it comes to training. All the experience in the world isn't a substitute for practicing skills with the people that you will need to work with RIGHT NOW. Even if that experienced person doesn't pick up one new technique in a given drill, that person may learn how to work well with someone else who is new to the crew, or that drill might be more valuable because of the participation of that experienced person.

    The broader issue here is leadership...everyone needs to have elected (or appointed) officers that are willing to lead by example. Back in 1992, my company began to implement what has become our certification S.O.G.: all active members shall take and pass the 88-hour state essentials course within their first two years; all firefighters shall make 25% or more of drills, work details and fund raising (50% for officers); etc. One of the major reasons that this formal policy got off the ground and stuck was the fact that nobody was grandfathered. At the time the informal policy that led to the S.O.G. began, the Chief (with more than 25 years active and 10 years as Chief at that time) put himself in the first Essentials class with everyone else. The only people excused were those who already held FF-I or FF-II certifications, and most of them participated anyway, just to make the course more valuable for everyone. Under those conditions, it wasn't hard to get the reluctant ones to participate, even without strong-arm tactics.

  6. #6
    Scooter
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Exclamation

    I thought about this for awhile before I posted a reply. I have been on both sides of this issue. With 25 years in a variety of departments, I have seen the pro & con of both. If the individual that was grandfathered in to a specific rank keeps current and continues to practice his skills there should not be a problem. On the same hand, the rookie EMT-B or FFI that has two or three burns in the burn building and hours of training, does NOT have any real experience and can not be expected to perform like the individual with a ton of experience or as has happened required to take command. There is no easy answer, if there were this wouldn't be a challenge and we would not do it. Senior firefighters and officers must lead by example. I'm the chief of a small department, and i had 410 hrs of training last year.

    We stop learning, when we stop living!

  7. #7
    Ohiofiremed57
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    GREAT.... keep em comming...

    MAC

  8. #8
    Wolf2980
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Arrow

    Ohiofiremed57,
    I understand your concern with elder members, but we do not have the experience that these members have. They learned not in classrooms but out in the real world. That world also had fires that were a lot more frequent and worse than the fires we encounter today.
    Our department has found a solution that most members agree with; social membership. They have served as leaders on the fireground and now move to civic leadership with in the company. They leave the fire fighting to the new generation and run the buissness end of the firehouse.

  9. #9
    Ohiofiremed57
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    Sounds good Wolf, im all for it! Just keep em off of my fire scene. We have not near enough buckets to put the fires out now days. There are a few GF's that are very intelegent, and I would trust w/ my life. Then there are those that I would'nt be caught dead on a fire scene with. I agree that expirence pays off. But I don't agree that the way people fought fires 20 yrs. ago, and the way we do it now, are anywhere close too each other. "been doing it this way for 25 years, why change it now".... NOT!
    This is what I get as a reply for updating training. My reply is usually " they used buckets years ago, and they worked fine. So why do we have fire trucks and fire hose?"

    For life and property

    [This message has been edited by Ohiofiremed57 (edited January 31, 2000).]

  10. #10
    Lieutenant Gonzo
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool

    I share the same sentiments as Ohiofiremed57.
    Some of the older firefighters who got the bulk of their training "on the job", before the days of fire academy training are receptive to listening to new ideas and willing to train, while others are just counting the days until retirement. They are found in both career and volunteer departments. If they have to be on the fireground, they can work in support capacities, like changing SCBA bottles, picking up hose, etc. They might bitch, but the crew busting hump inside should not have to do the mundane things.

    ------------------
    Take care and be safe...Lt. Gonzo

  11. #11
    mfgentili
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    I think we must look at every firefighter individually. It makes absolutely no difference where or when knowledge is gained. If I feel a firefighter, regardless of age, knows more than me, then I will listen to him/her. If on the other hand, I don't have confidence in their knowledge then I won't. I am not saying to disrespect rank in any way. A rank structure is needed in every department. In the Incident Command System, the IC has the final say. As long as your life in not placed in any foolish, unnecessay risk you must abide by their decision. Through the years, I have personally taught over 100 recruit firefighters for my department. Some of them, I consider to be excellant firefighters and I will gladly listen to them today even though I taught them and outrank them. Others suck and I won't listen to a word they say. This also applies to the old timers who have learned through experience. Some are good, others are not.
    Ohiofiremed57, I don't know when the fire scene became your exclusive property but don't ever think the "grandfathers" have nothing to offer. One of them may someday save your life. Look at each individual and then decide if they have anything useful to offer you. If they do, learn from them. If they don't, dismiss them. Just don't lump them all into one category based upon their age or when and how they gained their knowledge.

    ------------------
    Mike Gentili

  12. #12
    Ohiofiremed57
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Red face

    Mike I think that you should read all of the replies before inserting your foot into you mouth. Some friendly advise. As far as the "lumping" thing, thats where you should gather some info before posting your reply. As I stated in one of my latests replies. There are very intelligent firefighters and there are those in which I would'nt wish on anyone... My concern is for the few that are dangerous to themselves and their peers. This topic is not one to take offense to, only a mear concern that has been eating away at me for years. And where did I say that "grandfathers have nothing to offer"? Im still looking for the location of that one...
    And where the scene became "my scene" is when I put my life, and the lives of my crew, on the line. That I call "my scene"...like it or not.

    For Life and Property.
    MAC

  13. #13
    mfgentili
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    MAC,
    I did read your post an am doing what you asked in the last sentance of your original post<..."I need some input from others....any input will help me get over this fear of inpending doom....ANYTHING!"> I'm merely offering that input. If you don't want to hear opinions that differ from your own then you shouldn't ask for them in the first place. In all of your replies you only seem to have a problem with the "OL TIMERS" as you call them. That's where the "lumping" thing comes in. My remarks are meant just to remind you that there are boneheads in every age group, rank, gender, etc. As for the fire scene being yours, no, it will always by "OURS"...like it or not. This always was and always will be a team effort. As you stated, this topic is not one to take offense to, and I certainly don't. I'm still in my forties so I don't consider myself one of your "grandfathers" yet http://www.firehouse.com/interactive/boards/smile.gif. If I offended you in any way, I apologize. Maybe we are really on the same page here but it is often difficult to express true feelings and emotions in print. The reader often misses the point that the writer is trying to convey. Nothing personal here, just opinion. And we all know what opinions are like. Everyone has one and most of them stink. Peace brother.

    ------------------
    Mike Gentili

  14. #14
    Ohiofiremed57
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Lightbulb

    Thanks for the input. It is much needed. This topic sometimes makes me a little hypertensive... But the fire scene is mine....LOL keep up the good work.
    'the few, the proud, the insane"

    For Life and Property.
    MAC

  15. #15
    Wolf2980
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Angry

    Ohio,
    Is the fire scene truly yours? Are you the incident commander? Are you the chief, Captain or LT? If you are the Chief then the fire scene may in fact be yours, if not then you are just being egotistical. "get them off my fire scene" like you own it or something. Just because you department lets you play with your hose dosn't make you god's gift to the fire service. Also, you can come up with the newest inovation, but all it comes down to is put the wet stuff on the red stuff, and "grandpa" could probably still knock the hell out of a fire


  16. #16
    Ohiofiremed57
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Im a captain, but that is secondary to this topic. The issue here is not age, lets get this straight right off the bat. The issue is training, or the lack of..... Im getting the feeling that you are making it sound like im against my elders...your wrong there. What i am against is the folks that critisize new fire inovations mearly for the fact that it's new. Wet stuff on the red stuff, yes but lets think about the black stuff, and the wet stuff as it protains to salvage... Anyone can do this job, but not everyone can do it well. And you can't perform top notch if you don't believe (or utilize) top notch technology. Can we agee on that much?

    MAC

  17. #17
    Jim M.
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question

    For those who do not know what that is, "grandfathered" is a firefighter that has evolved through the fireservice, begining before 1965(or something like that) these people are not subject to taking ANY formal fire training.

    There are a variety of training sessions that are mandated. Some by OSHA, some by State Law (your rules are no doubt different than mine), some by other alphabet agencies (hazardous materials, etc). In my mind no one is grandfathered as far as attending training. Not willing to train, go home.

    What you seem to be implying is that some of these sessions are falling on deaf ears and the FF is doing the job or task as it was done long ago and not in a safe, professional manner as we define it today. Is that correct?

    If that's the situation you have a command problem, not a training problem. If you are in the chain of command and can't get any support from above, leave now before the lawyers get there.


  18. #18
    Ohiofiremed57
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    Jim, you are absolutly correct. What is unfortunate is the Ohio is not an "OSHA state". And,believe it or not,there are no state laws governing this topic. We've disgused making a dept. policy on this topic, but the rest of the "White Hats" are affraid to loose the good (GF) firefighters that we have. I believe the sain "can't teach an old dog new tricks" applies here. I have been looking for another dept. preferably one out of state, to work at. Just the thought of loosing 11 years of seniority kinda throws a wrench into the wheel. But the end is near I agree.
    Thanks for the much needed input..Be safe!

    For Life And Properity
    MAC

  19. #19
    IA Lt/P
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Iowa has no requirement for any fire fighter to be trained - many of the volunteers never get around to becoming certified even at FF1. Everyone on a fire scene needs to be trained to a certain level. Training from 30 or 20 or 10 years ago is old and inaccurate, even if someone COULD remember a class from that long ago. Fire fighting is evolving - either get the training or do everyone a fvaor and go home. Training becomes a question of safety which can become a question of life. No excuses.

  20. #20
    monte
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Grandfathering has the flavor of maintaining the "good ol' boy" club. At least in today's fire service that is not a good reference. The concept of granfathering is ok, as long as we define what we want to accomplish and how we are going to do it. For instance, a 25 year veteran with a lot of experience can be "grandfathered" with demonstarted performance as evaluated by a qualified person. Since ICS is a performance based qualification system, we consider performance and knowledge as having to blend. If they don't, training provides the best method to assure it does. Overriding qualifications is ok, but only when performance has been demonstrated and evaluated. It's a good way to avoid excessive costs and time for individuals that have a working knowledge and demonstrated performance of a job/s at a specified level. Otherwise, we fall into a trap that grows larger and uglier over time. Like "fast tracking". Here certain individuals are moved up the food chain rapidly using training as the career ladder and minimal experience as the platform. No matter how you cut it, demonstrated and evaluated performance has got occur regardless who the firefighter is.

  21. #21
    ConSpaceTL
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Cool


    Ohio:

    I agree with you to a certain extent. I believe that any firefighter or fire officer that does not stay current should retire or find another job. I respect and look up to those with 20 years of experience. I treat those with 1 year of experience 20 times over like the rookies/amatures that they are. A professional firefighter is one who has both experience and training and strives to continually update their knowledge, skills, and abilities.

    C. Austin

  22. #22
    cherryvale1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post

    Just to start off, I have been in the fire service for over 30 years. Have NOT accepted Grandfathering during that time. I keep up on all of the latest inovations and will always expect others to do the same.

    THAT SAID

    I have a big problem with "MY SCENE" as I will refer to. The last thing the fire service needs is this kind of thinking. If you are that possive of the fire, maybe you should start you own fire department. If you do that, then you can try to find someone that wants ONLY YOU to put out their house fire.

    If you will think about this a little, you might realize that to some of the NEW firefighters coming out of the academies, YOU are old and they might think you have been passed by. Try to remember that we all have something to offer -- as the incident commander -- you need to find the way to use every asset you have.

    I hope this has not hurt any feelings but the fire service does not need this kind of problem. I as a strong believer in training, over 700 hours in the last 2 1/2 years alone, and I hope I will have the brains to leave the fire service before it passes me by.

    Keep up the good work ---

    YOUNG - MIDDLE-AGED -- OLDER

  23. #23
    Ohiofiremed57
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Angry

    Let strike that from the minutes here.... The topic is training not the confusing of words. What I meen to say in regards to being MY SCENE is: I consider ANY scene that I respond to as MY SCENE. And I would hope in one way or another you would also, as well as anyone.
    I am not saying that the scene is exclusivly mine... But I preach safety. And If you, or me, as the firefighter gets in the frame of mind that it is your scene you will be more effective in your own safety, as well as the safety of others.
    That being said let it be...please!

    MAC

  24. #24
    ammorey
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question

    I only have one comment. When i started the fire training was'nt required but i tookmit anyway cause my dept didnt have a formal training program. My concern is with the small volunteer dept. They may not have the money to send their people to training and if they dont grandfather their existing members they may lose a majority of their crews what is safer a dept of 20 with 13 people grandfathered or a dept of 7? Dont think that there arent dept out there in this position.

  25. #25
    Ohiofiremed57
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Lightbulb

    Ammorey,
    I understand the point you have made. For small departments it's hard to do much of anything, as far as advancing goes. BUT I believe that even "BFE FD" can have the best in training. As a matter of a fact I know that they can. In this example I believe that you are reffering to the lack of management....not the lack of training. In saying this, all States have some sort of Grants and/or Funding specificly for the "BFE FD's" out there. Even the paid full time departments are eligible for this funding.
    I hope I can get people to agree with me when I say that:If I were a home and/or property owner im a small rural setting, I would want the assurance that when and if I ever have an emergency. That I would recieve the highest level of fire protection and/or EMS that is available to me. Recieving a person with no training in fireground operations,when my house is on fire is unexceptable. If that were the case I would advance a charged garden hose, and fight the fire myself.
    People don't call the fire department to look at the pretty fire engines, they NEED HELP!
    Don't take this the wrong way, I meen not to dicourage in any way, shape, or form. Contact your local representitive and see what State funding has to offer, you'll be supprised.

    MAC
    "The few, the proud, the insane"

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