Here is a questions for all of you volunteer cheifs and offciers out there. What, if anything, do you do for officer development? I am working on an Officer Development program for my volunteer department and I have lots of examples from my paid department but it is not the same. Do you require additional madatory training? College classes? Or anything special that I haven't though of yet (trust me I haven't come up with much).
Alan Romania, CEP
IAFF Local 3449
My Opinions do not reflect the opnions of the IAFF or Local 3449.
In Wisconsin the VocTech system offers Officer Training based on the IFSTA company officer course. The catch 22 of this is that the requirement by the state is that it has to be offered....but doesn't have to be taken. Kind of screwy, I think anyway.
Now if you don't mind it is time for my opinion. The volly department I am a member of does not require any additional training to be an officer. The officers usually come from the most experienced guys on the department (Kind of like promoting at my career FD by seniority only, and you know that doesn't happen). I don't believe that is adequate in all cases. Many times a great firefighter just plain sucks at being an officer. I would like to see in my department the requirement of the IFSTA Company Officer course, and the latest version of Safety and Survival on the Fire Ground: A Company Officer's Responsibility (This was an NFA course), as well as some kind of tactics and strategy courses. Perhaps experience could eliminate the need for the tactics and strategy, but I doubt it. Because now you are the one deciding it, not just doing it.
I have been a volly for 22 years and an officer for about half of that. Most of the officer training I have I have done on my own outside of the department. If you would like to know what I felt I needed I would be glad to tell you. Just e-mail me.
We have some minimal requirements for officer certifications.
The main part of the officer development is their two Officer Meetings each month. Although there is cross-over, the first is an Administrative/Organizational meeting (whose doing what during the month), and the second is for officer training & development (preplans, strategy & tactics, plan new training meetings) Each meeting usually ends up pushing 3+ hours
Romania, I am a Captain on my dept, however, we do not require any additional training for our officers. I strongly oppose this! I take my position as a officer very seriously and have taken many classes outside our department's training opportunities. I feel that any officer should be required to have some type of officer training, whether it be a state class that is offered or a NFA class, etc. (Something is better than nothing) Feel free to email me to discuss further as I am also working on getting officer requirements/development standards for my dept also.
I Agree with RVFDCapt. I also am the Capt. of our Dept. and we are putting officer and chief requirements into effect next month. The 30 second version is this. Must be in the dept. for 3 years before you are eligible to run for an officer position or equilavlent experience in another dept. The list of mandatory classes has not been finalized yet, but will most likely be: Basic and Intermediate Firefighter, Accident Victim Extrication, Ladder Ops, Pump Ops, Haz-Mat Technician, Commanding the Intial Response, Preparing for Command, Fire investigation and Arson Awareness, Firefighter Safety and Survival and one or two more that escape me at the moment. Certain classes will be required for each postion. For instance as the 3rd Lieut. you will need the first 3 classes. For 2nd Lieut. maybe 4 or 5. The requirements increase for each level you move up the chain.
As I said this goes into effect next month, so I am not sure how this is going to play out. We are now trying to figure out who we want to groom for the next open slot and we are having a hard time.
I will keep you posted.
Hello Again, After the First of the Year we will require all new Officers to
Show Working Knowledge of ALL Equipment by a pre Determined Test
Be a ACTIVE Member for at least 2 Year
Must Attend at Least F/F I & II and Complete a F/F Safety Course.
I agree, We must take our Jobs Serious and there should be some sort of Standard for Officer Selection for Depts Large or Small.This in its self is not much however its a start and I will keep watching this Post for Ideas.
Here today for a Safer Tomorrow
What a very good topic. This has been an issue in my fire dept for many years. Just recently have we started to do something about it. I've gotten together with our paid dept in the neighboring city and set up ride along programs for our officers. This lets them see first hand what officers do and how they function in a career dept. We also have officers training once a month. We try to bring in speakers from other dept's to assist in these classes. We also have a state fire academy that offers classes for officer training. Our dept currently has 3 capt.s an Asst. chief and a town chief. Our requirements are similar to other depts, 2 yrs of service, must be ff1 and 2, and haz-mat 1 and 2. if you have any questions feel free to e-mail me. GOOD LUCK and BE SAFE!
This is a good topic, and there have been some very good responses.
My current volunteer fire department has a five year wait before anyone can run for the Lieutenant's position. He or she must serve at least one year as a Lieutenant before they can run for Captain, and serve at least one year as Captain before they can run for Second Battalion Chief, and so on. The theory, I'm guessing here, is "on the job training" or as some members say, "monkey see, monkey do."
My prior volunteer fire department had a PLP which stood for "Preperation for Leadership Plan." It was started in the mid-seventies by a Chief who was dissatisfied with his junior officers. He took 5 or 6 guys aside, told them he thought they would make good officers and then he started having weekly meetings with them.
In those meetings they would go over every fire we responded to in great detail. Sometimes he got the tape recordings from the police desk and played all the radio communications back so everyone in PLP could hear how their mouths were moving before their brain was in gear. He took the PLP to fire scenes, walked through, showed where the fire started, where the first line should have gone, where the ventilation would have been more effective, and so on. He ordered books galore and every fire service magazine in print and distributed them to the PLP. He took them to new building construction sites, demolitions, and went over building plans and building terminologies.
Firefighter safety was always, ALWAYS job 1.
He put in a lot of hours and I think it paid off. He became ill after his term as chief and PLP died when he did, but he changed the department for the better and profoundly affected everyone he taught.
Looking at the USFA-FEMA manual "Risk Management Practices in the Fire Services" I see they are preaching the SAME things Chief Eddie taught his PLP.
So, this post is made in memory of Fire Chief Ed Czarnecki of the South Hackensack (NJ) Fire Department. "The best there was, and the best there will ever be."
Elmwood Park (NJ) Engine 3
I feel the most important part of a good officer development program is to have a candidate take some type of command officer leadership course. Most reply's here all state all this extra technical training they must have such as advanced firefighting classes, extrication, haz-mat,...ect.
I do feel this is all very important training to have, but I feel officer candidates need training in leadership and training in good people skills. I knew alot of officers who had a ton of certificates in all this technical training, but failed miserably due to they just could not deal with handling people. If I were to put together a officer development program I would make sure there would be training for all officer candidates in Leadership, Human behavior type training, fire service management.
Washington Twp. FD
Thanks all for the great response. I printed out all the responses and will be using them to help put together my program. I'll let you-all know when it is done.
Thanks, stay ssfe
Alan Romania, CEP
IAFF Local 3449
My Opinions do not reflect the opnions of the IAFF or Local 3449.
In our department we are mandated by law that Officer's meet certain requirements.
LT's is the first officer position-must have F/F I and II.
Captain must have F/F I and II and Officer I
Deputy Chief: Be a captain for one year, Must be 26 years old. Have F/F I and II and Officer I and II, Safety Officer Training, Instructor I and II. 12 hours a year continuos training.
Assistant Chief must have hold the deputy chief position for one year. Deputy Chief's requiremnets
Chief must have one year as a Assistant Chief. The above requiremnts for Assistant Chief. Must live in the first due area.
All Officer's are required to go on more calls than the regular firefighter. Think of the person that you are electing. Even if you don't like them. Are they the best person for the job and to you feel safe with their decisions. Good luck
In Alabama their is no mandatory officer training program. Our state fire college does offer a 40 hour Fire Officer I program and a 40 hour Fire Officer II program. It is the same class for career or volunteer. I teach both programs and feel it should be required for career or volunteer.
If you would like to take a look at the program, the training outlines are available at most fire service bookstores. I know you can get it off the web at the Firefighters Bookstore site.
Both outlines are available and Published by Davis Publishing and go with the IFSTA Company Officer book.
This subject has been on my mind as well. I feel that it is part of the current officers job when evaluating their crews to watch for someone who has some promise. When they have someone they should use training exercises to allow that person to lead a company. While they are doing this the officers should advise and guide that person to better understand what it is like being in those shoes. If nothing else they might develop a new respect for the daily duties of the company officer. The only other thought I have is that officers should have training of their own. I think you will aggree that we have training to stay up on our skills as firefighters because too many times we become complacent with our jobs. I think that officers should train with their companys to keep their working knowledge fresh. So should they have officer training on a regular schedule to keep their leadership skills fresh and to learn about new ideas in providing quality leadership.
Our Standard Operating Guidelines (technically, we have no "Procedures", only "Guidelines") set it up this way:
For Lieutenants & Captain:
Service: Two years as a Senior Firefighter
Training: Must have fulfilled the "guideline" recommending completion of the 88-hour IFSTA-based essentials course
Activity: Must make 50% or more of drills, maintenance, fund-raising, etc. No call requirement.
Other: Must have Driver/Operator certifications on all apparatus
For Assistant Chief, Deputy Chief & Chief:
Service: Two years as Lt. or Capt.
Training: recommends the IFSTA-based Officer's course
Activity: Same as Junior Officers
Other: Same as Junior Officers
In addition, all officers stand for election annually and must be 21 or older (they need this to drive, so it's a de facto requirement).
Because of the way things are set up (the driver certifications take upwards of 2 years to complete, for example), eligible candidates will typically have significantly more experience than the minimums imply. We've left the door to eligibility open a bit so that we could install a particularly well-qualified person relatively quickly if we so choose (for instance, someone we knew to have substantial firefighing and/or officer experience at another company).
[This message has been edited by Bob Snyder (edited January 10, 2000).]
I hear some reply's state elect officers?
Does the body of firefighters vote on there officers? How in the world can you disipline someone if you had to, with out fear of being voted out next election? What if I work real hard at the officers position , but I'm not in the click. But most important is the fact that the Dept. Chief is ultimatly responsible for the department including the actions of his/her officers,what if one made a bad mistake, the chief would be responsible for that voted elected officer. I just dont get it?
Be Safe !!!