1. #1
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    Post New Training Laws Have Fla Volunteer Departments Ready to Do Battle with State

    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.

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    Default Meeting

    I attended that meeting last night in Defuniak, and I must say that I am interested to see what happens next as this unfolds.


    I have to agree that volunteers need training. But 160 hours? Currently, there is a single class being offered in our area, and it is Mon, Tue, Thur 6-9pm. Given the fact that most of the full volunteer dept.s in our county are 30 minutes away, that puts each firefighter at 4 hours to attend classes each day. On top of that, there is required studying, which only adds to the time of the course. There are those of us that cannot adhere to the class schedule that is being offered at this time. Also, you are only allowed to miss a maximum of three class nights. After that, you are eliminated from that round of classes.

    WE need to look at how we can effectively train our volunteers in house, and send them off to be tested. This testing should grant them different levels of Firefighter I, instead of a single classification. These classification levels would enable volunteers to take on different roles on the fire ground, thus still providing the much needed assistance a full team needs. Just as a running back on a football team doesnt practice his Passing skills, neither would a pump operator need to be trained on interior attack. Consider a Microsoft Certified System Engineer. They pass six different exams to become a MCSE, but if you pass a single exam, you are a Microsoft Certified Professional. Why can't the fire college adopt the same guide lines. Instead of a single FFI certificate, you break it down. Make it more managable. This way, if you need to be re-trained in a specific area, then it does not require as much time to remain trianed in this area. Also, in breaking down the certification, it becomes easier to bypass some of the course material because the firefighter may be able to pass a pre-course exam. The medical aspect of our training is already broken down into managable parts. We can train to be First Responders, or EMTs or Paramedics. Why can't we train to be Rescue, Attack, Fire Ground, Engineer, etc. ?? Why must we be trained in all related aspects of the Fire Ground?

    This rule would eliminate older aged volunteers who can help on the fire scene, and who can take more passive roles, but do not need training in fire tactics.



    Let's face it, only the hard core, die hard volunteer who is truly dedicated to their department will be left, and for most departments that will eliminate alot of other part time volunteers who simply choose to sacrifice a part of their lives in order to possibly save someone else's life.



    Andrew

  3. #3
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    I didnít read anything in the article referencing the IAFF, what do they have to do with it?

    Peace and stay safe!
    "When I was a child I spoke as a child, understood as a child, thought as a child, but when I became a man I put away childish things."

  4. #4
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    Why can't we train to be Rescue, Attack, Fire Ground, Engineer, etc. ?? Why must we be trained in all related aspects of the Fire Ground?
    Because not all volunteer departments have the luxury of assigning people one task to do at all fires. I may be doing Attack at a fire this afternoon, tomorrow I may be running a Rescue, and tomorrow night I may be the driver and operating the pump. Sure, I can (and am) be trained in all those positions, but how would a fireground commander know who can do what and be able to assign their duties as needed? Flags, decals, tags, helmet colors, etc? It would be a nightmare trying to figure who is qualified to to what.

    Are you a fire fighter? or are you a truck engineer, a rescue engineer, etc? You are probably a fire fighter. Fire fighting encompasses all aspects of fighting a fire. You should be trained on all aspects. You may never do them all, but you should at least have the knowledge.

    While I think this may be getting thrust on the Volunteer FD's (apparantly without their knowledge or input) I believe a standard is the right way to go. I just don't think it's being done the best way it can in Florida. It's not right to force people to a standard and not provide the training that is necessary. NJ went through something kind of similar with Instructor Certifications. Certification as instructor became only for 3 years and during that 3 years, retraining needed to be done, problem was, limited number of classes available. I know for a fact that half of my department's instructors are no longer as they were unable to find classes.

    Best of luck.
    "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?

  5. #5
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    Here is the 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.

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