Thread: Career Transition
07-31-2000, 10:48 AM #1CTrutyFirehouse.com Guest
I have been involved in structural firefighting in a suburban fire department for over 20 years and am considering transitioning to ICS for wildland firefighting at the state/federal level. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to go about doing this? How about training? Resources? Contacts?
08-01-2000, 12:40 AM #2Captain HickmanFirehouse.com Guest
A good place to start would be to download at copy of:
310-1 Wildland Fire & Prescribed Fire Qualification System Guide - 2000
which can be found on National Wildfire Coordinating Group page:
In the manual, if you print all 107 pages, you will find everything you need as far as training to meet NWCG standards. Information on the Command and Staff, Operations, Air Operations, Planning, Logistics, Finance, and Dispatch.
All the requirement needed to meet the qualifications for each position located within each of the above catagories. They, NWCG also provides information on Multi-Agency Training Schedules thoughout the USA and those can be found at: http://fire.nifc.nps.gov/mats/matsframe.asp
08-01-2000, 07:50 AM #3CTrutyFirehouse.com Guest
Thanks for the info...I'll get started
08-01-2000, 10:43 AM #4monteFirehouse.com Guest
There are also non-traditionalpositions that are not included in the 310-1; as an example and something structure folks are well adapted for would be: WHSP or water handling specialist; another in demand position, particularly this summer is the structure protection specialist. There usually is a bunch of awareneess type training you would need to fit in with us odd ducks, but non-the-less a good use of skills you already have.
08-02-2000, 07:02 PM #5Aerial 131Firehouse.com Guest
Don't forget that you are now getting involved in "All Risk" command, the thought process is greater because you must consider everything. You will enjoy the training. A place to look for training is The US Fish & Wildlife home page look under the training section, there should be a part that has a list of training classes all over the country.
08-02-2000, 07:58 PM #6CTrutyFirehouse.com Guest
I looked at the NWCG document and at the risk of sounding ignorant, does EVERYONE coming into the field start at ground level and work their way up? Does an officer with 25+ years experience in structural firefighting need to spend time as a "dozer boss" or "fireboss" before he can move into command levels?
And please UNDERSTAND, I am NOT underestimating anyone's value to the job nor am I trying to say that structural firefighting experience overshadows wildfire experience. As a matter of fact, I believe that the wildland firefighter has a MUCH tougher job than any structural firefighter.
08-04-2000, 09:30 AM #7Captain HickmanFirehouse.com Guest
Thanks for asking my question too? I too have been wondering the same thing. I was hoping to retire in a year or so and have already started to planning on attending some classes. Was hoping to contact NWCG, but with all the fires going on, I thought I'd just wait till winter time.
08-06-2000, 05:17 PM #8keestrokesFirehouse.com Guest
Reference ICS, yes you must start at the bottom. The idea is you must know everyone elses job, in order to lead them. So to be a Logistics Section Chief you must know how to be ground support unit leader, a base camp manager, a communications unit leader, a medical unit leader, a food unit leader. The same goes for a Operations Sections chief, a Planning Section Chief and a Finance Section Chief. Now if all you want to be is a Stucture Group Supervisor, then all you looking at is division group supervisor, strike team leader, crew boss. Now don't forget ICS 110, 210, and 310. I may have left something out, but that kind of gives you idea. AND taking just taking the class does not quailify you, QUALITY assignments (a least 2) are needed before you move up to the next step. Hope that helps..
08-06-2000, 06:31 PM #9SWIDFCWINSFirehouse.com Guest
I've got 31 years of both structural and wildland experience as well as a number of NWCG classes on my resume'. I am listed with my regional dispatch center (NEACC) as a structural protection specialist (STPS) and carry a Red Card. This year was the first time that I was dispatched to a federal fire assignment near Helena, Montana. I learned a tremendous amount during that assignment. It was a great learning experience and there is much more to learn. Wildland and W/UI firefighting is extremely risky and a thorough knowledge of these things is essential to survival and to carrying out a successful assignment. This type of firefighting is VERY VERY different than structural or local wildland firefighting.
Take my word for that. It is no camping trip. However, the experience makes it a very worthwhile effort to get trained properly and to obtain the Red Card.
08-07-2000, 10:54 PM #10CTrutyFirehouse.com Guest
What is a red card and where does one obtain one? I take it's a requirement for basic wildland firefighting? (I feel so ignorant).
08-10-2000, 01:19 PM #11RxFireFirehouse.com Guest
CT - A Red Card is the certification of being trained in at least the basic skills of FFT2 (FireFighter Type 2). The Red Card is officially titled "Qualification Card, Incident Command System" and is 3.5" X 4.5" in size. The size is to accomodate the fact that you are supposed to have the card on your possesion during an incident. The Red Card is also not necessarily red in color.
The Red card lists all the jobs you are qualified to do, as well your On the Job Training Needs. As far as obtaining one, for the newbies to fire, they must take the NWCG courses Firefighter Training (S-130) and Intro to Wildland Fire Behavior (S-190). These two courses are often refered to as "Basic 32" as the courses are the basics to Wildland fire and combined they equal 32 hours of training. Capt. Hickman posted the MATS site, that is a good starting point. However, in your case of being in fire, you may have an equivalent dept. certification. If you have a training officer in your dept., check with them on this issue.
Hope this helps.
[This message has been edited by RxFire (edited August 10, 2000).]
08-10-2000, 05:18 PM #12mtnfireguyFirehouse.com Guest
The battle in the West is far from over, but thanks for coming!!!!
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