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    JTL
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    Default Is 25 too young for a Chief?

    I read with horror about the Chief in Kansas that was killed after a fire truck hit him after the trucks brakes apparantly failed. I want to qoute one part of this story from the front page of Firehouse.com:

    Paradise Fire Chief Justin A. Frye, 25, was on his way to that first accident scene when the brakes failed on the company's fire truck. It's custom for one of the rural fire trucks to respond to injury accidents, and this accident occurred inside the boundaries of the Russell County Fire District No. 3.
    I am not commenting on this particular chief and I dislike using age as a barometer but it strikes me that someone that young is a chief. I guess that as departments look for more members the young are natural candidates. I have no problem with that. Maybe I am feeling old. If a young guy is qualified, and I am uncertain as to how that might be quantified, then I suppose he or she is given the chance. Just sounds wrong I suppose.

    God Bless the family and friends of the brother who was killed and keep this young chief in your hearts as well as he is certainly going through a range of emotions.

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    No one can really make a decision on whether 25 is too young to be a Chief. It would all depend on training, education, and experience. If someone has been learning the profession for years, then I say it is possible. If someone spends early years being an explorer/junior, then joins a department and continues his/her education then it could be possible. Also the size and type of the department would be the other major concern. I don't see a LAFD or FDNY having a younger Chief, but a smaller department could. Just my thoughts.
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    JTL
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    fire69dawg
    It would all depend on training, education, and experience.
    Yes I suppose that is the most logical way to look at it. My former chief is in his forties and he acts like he is 12 so...

    I guess it just seems so young to me. When I am 65 I will probably be saying those damn 50 year old chiefs...they are way to young.

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    We have two volunteer chiefs in the area that at age 21 head fire districts of 45,000 and 50,000 population. Both replaced old dogs. Both inherited ISO Class 9/10 districts both replaced all of thier fire trucks, stations and updated all aspects of their 3 and 6 station fire departments. One has a Class 4 district wide (2nd best in the U.S. and better than all the paid departments in the area) without fire hydrants on a 300 square mile district. The other now has a Class 2/3. Both have imagers on all rigs, CAFS, extrication gear on everything, great staffing, good AA agreements, plans for the future, first class training, and solutions for most of the typical problems that haunt volunteer departments.

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    The last few guys hired at our dept ...age range 22 thru 27 are way too immature to lead anyone... but in time with experaince they will make excellent officers and one day an excellent chief
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    In a town as small as Paradise, finding someone to volunteer to be chief is pretty tough. Sometimes you have to take those eager to do the job no matter what their age because they are the only canidate available. I don't personally know much about Justin or what his training/experience is. I do know he was pretty shook up at the funeral for Russell City Fire Chief Earl Hemphill.
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    Vancouver city as well as most of the other paid depts around here, wont even look at applicants that are under 22 to be hired as FF. They wont come out and say that, but with the hiring requirements that the city and municipalities require it is virtually impossible for it to happen. There are a good number of people who even though they have always wanted to be a FF, can't even apply until they are 25. The vol depts don't have the same requirements. Up here most guys work with a crew for 5 -10 years before they are allowed to drive. Never mind being promoted to Lt. Cap. or BC. We also have non union chief positions, and if someone were to take the right courses, they could apply and get hired in to that position without ever actually setting foot on fire ground. (scary thing but true)

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    JTL....

    Yes...25 is a bit young..and in some cases I would say yes...to young to be a chief.

    But...I am with Firedawg on this. It depends on Training, Education and experience of the individual. However, I have to add in another important factor. MATURITY...This is an important trait. Additionally, you may throw in his ability to deal with his peers and with people in general.
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    I read the posts with interest and thought to myself (now 27 and in the fire and EMS buisnes for about 10 years) am I old enough to be a fire chief. I feel I may have the training and firegound experience to perform well on the fireground, but there is no way I have the life experience to be a successful fire chief, In a few years maybe, but until then I think Ill just enjoy my job as a Captain, and gain a little more life experience, then try to become a fire chief. Being a Captain in a big city is enough for me right now.

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    We have two LTs in there twenties (23 and 24) and thats sometimes difficult for some people. I cant imagine how some older members in my dept and around my area would react to a 25 y/o CHIEF!

    But if he can do the job and do it right all the power to him.
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    Well, I reckon that if the guy in question had leadership potential, he was qualified enough, and he had enough experience (which I would have to raise a few questions on), then I see no problem with him being chief.
    These are my opinions, not those of my career department, my volunteer company, or my affiliates. And by the way, I'm not a Junior.

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    Atleast a young chief can't say, "That's the way we've always done it."

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    Atleast a young chief can't say, "That's the way we've always done it."
    Yeah but he could say: "Back in my day....well, yesterday".

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    Our Chief is 25 and he does a great job! He's well-respected, well trained and well-spoken. A lot has to do with God-given ability... he's a natural.
    May we never forget our fallen, worldwide.

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    JTL:
    At 25, is he too young to be a chief?
    I think the better question would be "is he too young to be a leader?"
    Age should not be the only consideration or the deciding factor when weighing the abilities of a firefighter.
    Theoretically, he could have 6 active years in the fire service.
    If he really crammed......

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    I'm just 26 years old myself so I suppose I could be a little bias on this but: I know a guy who joined our fire department when he was sixteen. He is a mechanics and math wizard, a super pump operator, super firefighter, and great at command. He was a Captain for our dept. when he was between the ages of about 20-27, now he is a D/C in another town nearby. He was the guy in command in the daytime, and many times at night too until he was relieved. He was in command for about seven structure fires that I was at and I always felt really comfortable with him in command and actually glad it was him in that position because I knew we'd do a great job.

    So, based on my experience, **** as far as fire ground operations go, I don't see a problem with a young Chief because the guy I talked about definately could have been our chief.

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    I like the idea that Chief Reason fowards: "is he too young to be a leader?" I had some excellent Officers in the Navy that where that age or younger. They also knew what my job was, and had a working ability to perform it. Just so happens, some people have an ability to lead, and develope a talent to learn the job at hand as a leader, regardless of age.
    My posts reflect my views and opinions, not the organization I work for or my IAFF local. Some of which they may not agree. I.A.C.O.J. member
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    Several years ago, there was a guy elected as fire chief in a nearby town department. He was 20 when elected and continued aschief of that department for 25 years I believe. They became the first department to have EMS, extrication and a ladder truck. They are arguably the most professional acting department in the county. Now, he wasn't everyones favorit person, but when it came to fire tactics, or information, he knew his stuff.

    I think making blanket statments such as "25 is too young", that just isn't right.

    It all depends on the individual.

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    I think someone has already pointed it out, but you have to take into consideration who you have to choose from for a Chief. Our department went through this two years ago. Old chief was out, and we only had three options for a new chief. A 24 year old, a 25 year old, and a 50 year old. The 24 and 25 year olds were the only ones with any type of formal fire and EMS training. The way it ended up, I was appointed chief (the 25 y.o.) and the 24 y.o. is the assistant. Although it's not the most ideal situation, it's what we had to deal with. At the same time, we're considered one of the best trained EMS/First Response departments in the area and have incorporated a number of tactics and equipment that we wouldn't have had without the change. Sometimes a young, fresh outlook can make a nice change.

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    JTL
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    ... he's a natural.
    Hmmm...Okay

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    JTL--Allow me to rephrase....He's a well-trained natural.
    May we never forget our fallen, worldwide.

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    Default Age???

    I think age is something hard to guage. Yeah, you can state how long you have been living, but something in this area is hard to guage.

    We have guys that are in their late forty's that couldn't command Rover to sit, much less be IC on a large incident. Really couldn't handle a bean pot fire. We have guys that are around thirty that could do a fine job.....

    I am pushing thirty and have about 8 years experience. Personnally, I tend to think that it is a maturity/experience/education thing before an age thing. There are people that are leaders and followers. Although in rare cases the followers develop into leaders, most people are "naturals", to quote stayback, at taking charge and not being afraid to make a decision. If you have no confidence, you will not be a good leader.

    A good chief requires you to be a knowledgable fireman/politician/customer service rep/confident individual. Although there are a few out there who could be all this and more at twentyfive, I tend to feel a little more seasoning is required.

    My Opinion.
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    Be safe out there!!

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