Florida--New Training Requirements Prompt Some Volunteers to Arm for Battle w/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
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.
Time out for Clarification
>>>>>Stan is all for training. Train Train and Train and it will not hurt you one bit. The more you train the better you are and the better you are the better the service you provide. Also...the better you are trained....the less likely you are to become a statistic. My problem with this whole thing is the perception that this is a money making thing for the State. In Virginia...we trained volunteers for nothing...Just what it cost there fire department to send them (in terms of gear the PPE required and the books)...
Ok....with that being said....Continue...
Fire dosent care if youre paid or not
Well Lt. Turk I AM obviously a paid Firefighter. However, I became a certified Firefighter II when I WAS A VOLUNTEER.... I think if you asked most volunteers on here, they would agree that being a Firefighter II is not asking too much. In Illinois there is no such thing as a Firefighter I anymore. I would bet that most of my volunteer Brother and Sister Firefighters would like to think they are smart enough to pass Firefighter II....Just like a paid Firefighter.
Just when I thought cdevoe was gone forever....
We get turk. Welcome to the fray, my friend.
Let's get started with the IL FFI and FFII issue. IL does not have a FFI because for years we were behind the times. Our FFII is the same as most state's FFI. That's why IL has a FFIII. Our FFIII is the equivalent to most everybody else's FFII. So now that we got that squared away....
First happy quote:
Answer: Lot's, at least in my neck of the woods. But we give it to 'em at night, so they can attend. When someone comes down to my dept (now, granted we are POC, but most people consider $400-$500 per year pretty much nothing), we explain everything to them. You will be expected to complete this class. You will be FFII before that "recruit" tag comes off your helmet. Don't like it? Too busy? Thanks for your interest, see you on Pancake Breakfast day (at the other side of the serving table). Only had one person turn away.
how many of you would be willing to work 8 hours a day 5 days a week (full time) for 3 weeks with no pay just to be qualified to work at a job that paid nothing?
Second happy quote:
There's two families in Ashton, IL that would really like to beat the hell out of you for that crack. Fire doesn't care about your level of training. It'll kill you the same whether you've had 36 hours or 240. But those hours could mean more knowledge, which could mean the difference between getting out and getting killed. Furthermore, I take great exception to that crack. Does it take a lot of brian power to roll hose? No. (maybe to spell "roll," but that's a fight for another day.) But I want to know the reasons why I'm rolling it this way. And there's more than one way to roll it, based on what the roll will be used for. Did I enjoy spending 6 hours rolling hose? Not particularly, but I know how to roll the $hit out of it now. Same goes for ladders, extinguishers, ropes and knots, SCBA and on and on and on.
Really it takes a retard to do what we are doing as pure volunteers
Third happy quote:
Bull$#it. Got it here, and all around me. And these depts are all either completely volly or minimimal POC. The rub is, make it so they CAN attend. Yeah, they'll have to go two nights a week for damn near a semister. So what? Now you'll be able to do your job WITH KNOWLEDGE.
If your state requires the volunteer people to attend 240 hours of training to be a firefighter then they are depriving your public of necessary protection.....period. There are VERY few volunteer people who would commit to 240 hours (or 6 weeks of FULL TIME) training to be a volunteer.
Fourth happy quote:
Bull$#it. Tell that to Brad Golden's family. 'Nough said there.
However, there has to be (weather we like it or not) two standards.
Fifth happy quote (and the last, 'cause I'm growing weary of this):
Bull$#it. I'm not going to spend my training night teaching a recruit how to roll hose, or use a ladder, or tie a bowline. And I don't want the thirty other firefighters who've already had this standing around while I show him/her. I want to spend that night doing pump drills, tactics, advancing hoselines, advanced SCBA drills and on and on and on.
[Basic training] should be taught in house during drills or other non-emergency related activities, not formal mandatory training.
Are you from Mayfield?
Amen to that, brother, amen to that.
Dont say you want to be treated as an equal to a paid firefighter and then say you want to do so without the same level of training.
Oh, and one more thing....
LET'S KEEP THIS DISCUSSION CIVIL!
Trainin! we don't need no stinkin' trainin!
Well if some of the folks in Florida don't want to meet the new standards, they can always move north one state. Here in Alabama, there is no minimum level of training required to be a volunteer. Our certified volunteer firefighter course, which is the equivalent of NFPA FFI is a 160-hour course but it isn't required. I would LOVE to have a state mandated training requirement, even if it were only a 40-hour introductory course.
Captstan, is the training level required for all members or only those engaged in suppression activities? For example, if you provide EMS transport, do your EMTs have to be certified firefighters as well? How about some of you that live in states with mandatory training requirements? Are there graduated levels of training based on a member's duties or does everyone train to the same level?