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  1. #1
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
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    Post Florida--New Rules on Training Required have some Volunteer Departments in Uproar

    Some feel this is an attempt by the IAFF to wipe out Volunteers. Appropriate Training is certainly necessary but one has to decide how much is necessary. Some of these communities that are affected may only run 100-200 calls/year and the tax base will not support a career department. Without the volunteers there will be no protection. Keep in mind that the State makes money from training firefighters. In some cases (depending on where you are in Florida) it costs as much as $1400.00/student (rough guess) to run them through minimum standards (FF 1 & 2). For Fire 1 only I think it is about $600-8000/student.

    Here is the story:
    __________________________
    Pensacola News Journal

    Training proposal alarms firefighters

    Chiefs in dark about timing, funding needed for compliance
    Sloane Stephens Cox
    @PensacolaNewsJournal.com

    Northwest Florida firefighters are trying to quell a burning state-proposed training rule, which could shut down some volunteer fire departments and imperil residents in those areas.

    The mandate would increase qualifications for volunteer firefighters: They would have to complete the same 160-hour training course and a final exam now required of paid firefighters. Most volunteer firefighters now are required to complete only a 40-hour course.

    "There are so many ramifications to this rule - which, on the surface, appears harmless," said Pensacola Fire Chief James Dixon. "It could create a lot of havoc."

    The critical issues are the amount of funding and time required for compliance - neither of which the state has clarified, according to area fire personnel.

    Seeking more information, Escambia and Santa Rosa are sending representatives to DeFuniak Springs for a meeting with representatives from the Florida Fire Standards and Training and the Office of the State Fire Marshal. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. today at the DeFuniak Springs Community Center.

    "I don't know who would be squawking about the concept," said John Reble, city of Milton fire chief. "But we were caught off guard. The state's dissemination of information was inadequate. We need time, and we need money to comply with very rigorous standards. Our big thing is that the window of compliance looks ridiculously small. Everyone I've talked to has indicated that this rule would become effective rather swiftly."

    If implemented immediately, firefighters not in compliance with the rule would be forced to abandon their posts, leaving large areas vulnerable to fire. Insurance rates based on fire protection could skyrocket or insurance could be canceled if a fire department shuts down, Reble said.

    "I've never seen such a bombshell in my life," said Richard Collins, chairman of the Chumuckla Fire Advisory Committee. "Bureaucracy is basically dumping on the volunteer firefighters. They take them for granted, give them minimum support and then they want to revamp the whole procedure without giving them any assistance. Who will suffer in the meantime? The general public."

    Although Reble said Santa Rosa County will feel the impact, it is "in better shape" than counties that are exclusively volunteer. Hardest hit would be Northwest and North-Central Florida. Central Florida, by contrast, largely consists of paid departments that have considerable amounts of training and funding.

    "If it hits us cold, I can't imagine what will happen," said Santa Rosa County Administrator Hunter Walker. "We depend on volunteers."

    In Santa Rosa County, compliance would take a minimum of two years. About 300 volunteers in 14 departments are in need of training. It would need 15 or more classes, and currently only one is offered in the county.

    "We'll have to gear up to get this operational, and there's substantial cost to that," said Rebel "It's an extreme commitment."

    Escambia County Fire Chief Ken Perkins could not be reached Sunday to determine how many volunteers in Escambia County would be affected by the proposed training requirement.

    Any departments out of compliance with the rule would be faced with substantial fines.

    "If volunteers have trouble paying for fuel, how are they going to pay a $5,000 fine?" Dixon asked.

    The changes also would preclude military fire departments from assisting local fire departments, Dixon said.

    Fire officials in both counties said increasing training requirements for volunteers has been discussed for years, but requirements have been largely left to individual departments, Reble said.

    Fire personnel hope that the state will decide to phase in the requirements.

    "It's not a done deal yet," Dixon said.
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.


  2. #2
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
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    Here is a link to a thread with more discussion..


    http://cms.firehouse.com/forums2/sho...threadid=44889
    09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
    ------------------------------
    IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
    "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
    BMI Investigator
    ------------------------------
    The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.

  3. #3
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    HAVE THEY CONSIDERED GRANDFATHERING THE CURRENT FIREFIGHTERS AND MAKING IT A REQUIREMENT FOR THE INCOMING FIREFIGHTERS?

  4. #4
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    I'm not sure if the IAFF is behind this as suggested by Captstanm1. I really want to know why anyone would think that a volunteer FF should be any less trained than a career person. Number of runs?? What difference does that make? All it takes is one to get yourself hurt or killed. Volunteers should be demanding the same level of training as the career personnel. We are all doing the same job, right? We all want to call ourselves professional, right? We all want to go home to our families after each call or tour of duty. The IAFF has lobbied for years to have their members trained to operate efeectively and more importantly SAFELY!! While I do agree that the level of training that is being proposed will be costly and will take a while to implement, how can anyone be opposed to more it. As a State Fire Instructor and Adjunct Instructor at our State Academy, believe me when I tell you that 40hrs. of training is no where near enough to qualify somebody to waltz into a burning building. Whomever is behind this proposal should be commended for wanting ALL FF's to be safe and knowedgeable about their job. As far as money for training goes, maybe the Department will have to go without that new $300,000+ truck for another year or something like that. What good is it if you don't have anybody to operate it because of lack of training. I have seen fundraisers for less importatnt things than training, maybe we all should be looking at our priorities. Remember Lifesafety(ours) before anything else. All the gear and fancy equipment isn't any good without properly trained FF's using it and 40 hrs doesn't cut it!

  5. #5
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    bc3, I don't believe the complaints are about the amount of training, but in the way it's being implemented. As the article says, if you have until a specific date with no "grandfathering", the state needs to find a way to 1) offer more courses 2) assist with the funding of the courses. There may very well be FF's in Fla. that have some 20-30 years of service, would they need to go through 160 hours of FF1? Maybe, maybe not. These unknown answers are what the Fla FF's are questioning. Should all new recruits have that 160 hour training? Yup. But I would bet there are quite a few FF that should be grandfathered. NJ did this not too long ago, so we know a little about the Fla FF concerns...they concerned us too.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

  6. #6
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    Bones42,

    I see what you are saying. I guess sometimes I get a little to passionate about training. While I am not willing to change my mind about the need for training, I will agree that there has to be some way of instituting the proposed training fairly. As with any plan there has to be a realistic timetable for implementation. Up here in NY FF's were allowed to use past training courses to meet some of the requirements for FFI & FFII. I guess I look at incidents like Lairdsville and wonder why we allowed FF's with less than adequate training to try and do things that could kill them. I firmly believe that the concept of mandating more training will help keep FF's from becoming injured or killed. Will training stop all injuries/deaths? Absolutely not. How will the additional training be paid for? I really don't know. Perhaps the people we are trying to protect need to be educated to the fact that we need training as much, if not more than that shiny new truck or big fancy station (maybe we should even start realizing this ourselves). Perhaps they wouldn't be opposed to a slight increase in property tax if they really believe that we will be better able to serve them. I don't know maybe it's just wishful thinking. Maybe I'm just hoping that I will not have to attend any more LODD services/funerals. Sorry for coming on so strong earlier!!

  7. #7
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    I guess sometimes I get a little to passionate about training. While I am not willing to change my mind about the need for training,
    We are seeing eye to eye on this one.

    I guess I look at incidents like Lairdsville and wonder why we allowed FF's with less than adequate training to try and do things that could kill them
    Right there with you on this also.


    Training is great and everyone should have it, but it needs to be accessible. We went through many years where we had no real training officers and no certified instructors. Drills/training were far from effective. Thankfully, along with myself, we have a few other instructors now and push the training to have a purpose. Things have gotten better.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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