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  1. #1
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
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    Post 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
    @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.
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    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
    Forum Member MIKEYLIKESIT's Avatar
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    In Illinois Firefighters are required to be Certified Firefighter II to operate in a burning building. Career OR Volunteer. Thats 240 hours of training. Stan I dont see where the IAFF was mentioned in the article. If anyone feels there should be two standards..Speak now.

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    Exclamation Behind the times.

    Boy is Florida behind the times. This has been true in Michigan for a long time now. You need to have FF-I just to start and FF-II to really fight fire. A long time ago, when it was first introduced they "grandfathered" some people. Most of them are now gone. They also allowed experienced firefighters to challege the test, both written and practical. The system has worked. I think there also might be an OSHA rule about this.

    Let's hope Florida makes into the current century.

    Stay safe,

    Pete
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    Sorry Stan,
    I think everyone should be at least FFI before they enter a burning building. Ten or ten thousand calls per year, 40 hours is not enough. Sounds to me this is long over due.

    I agree with Mikey, the minimums should all be the same. Busy or big department personnel are going to get the best training anyway. Itís called experience.

    Stay Safe

  5. #5
    District Chief distchief60b's Avatar
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    Post 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...
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  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber Duffman's Avatar
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    Default

    Mikey is right on point. Forty hours just doesn't cut it. While the time frame for compliance may need to be adjusted, the volunteers should be held to the same standard as paid firefighters.

    The volunteers whose departments run only 100-200 calls are the ones who need the most training.
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    You think 40 hours is low, try 36! Hopefully, Ohio will follow Florida's lead here.

    Obviously this needs to be phased in over time but it is a good thing in my opinion.
    FTM-PTB-DTRT

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    Exclamation

    I agree the less calls you have the more training you should have. We in Illinois know it's mandated to be FFII before entering a structure fire. Fortunately, the departments in Illnois can get FFII classes for little cost. After complaining for years, our dept is finally having a FFII class. Our dept, and I'm sure several others across the state, has been entering structure fires for years without FFII training. We've just been lucky no one has gotten hurt or worse.
    For the Florida vols you better start lobbying your state reps to at least partially fund this mandate.
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    Default

    This guy is on my "cool" list forever for this statement:
    "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."
    MIKEYLIKESIT said:
    Career OR Volunteer. Thatís 240 hours of training. If anyone feels there should be two standards..Speak now.
    Well, here goes.....
    Obviously MIKEYLIKESIT is a paid firefighter. There is nothing wrong with that and I respect the man for doing what he does. However, there has to be (weather we like it or not) two standards.

    Here in NJ we are required to attend a 120 hour training course to be "qualified". We do not have FF1 and FF2; it has been combined into one course that constitutes the 120 hours of training. I'll tell you what, I'm self employed so I've got a hand up on most other volunteers in my company because I set my own hours and 120 hours seemed excessive to me. If I had a 9-5 job, a family as well as a life (or some resemblance of social activity) it would have been VERY difficult for me to justify the time required to train. Let's be realistic here, is it really necessary to spend 6 hours learning to role hose? Give me a break, I'm all for training and I'm a firm believer of "knowledge is power" but really 75% of the 120 hours is either common sense (wet stuff/red stuff) or things that are non fire related (rolling hose) and should be taught in house during drills or other non-emergency related activities, not formal mandatory training. Sure, there were quite a few things that I did learn at FF1 that I still reflect upon but honestly the course could have been taught to a monkey in 20 hours, not 120 hours. To put it in perspective, 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? Just the thought of that is ridiculous. That's why there are very few volunteers and the numbers are slipping daily. Really it takes a retard to do what we are doing as pure volunteers, do the math on the meetings, drills, fires, fund raisers, extra duties and training and it adds up to a TON of time spent away from your family. To make it worse guess what, not only are you not getting paid but you have to pay for half of your uniform, pay for your own gas, vehicle wear and tear, wake up at o' dark thirty to respond to a false alarm and deal with the stress of fighting fires....FOR FREE.

    Let's briefly touch on the money situation....
    Check this out; our budget is 19 cents TOTAL. The schools raised their budget 29 cents in 2001 and 27 cents in 2002. We are asking for 2 cents this year for LOSAP (which is really a miniscule benefit) and I doubt that it will pass.........

    Do I think training is important? You bet your @ss I do!
    Do I think it's mandatory to attend 120 hours+ of "formal" training to do the job? Nope!

    I've got tons more to say but it's late and I'm tired so I'll leave it at that. Sure, I'm expecting to get beat up about this post but I'm a big boy and I can take it
    Last edited by LtTurk; 01-14-2003 at 02:13 AM.

  10. #10
    Forum Member MIKEYLIKESIT's Avatar
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    Default 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.

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    Default

    Well MIKEYLIKESIT, what is your point?

    You said:
    In Illinois Firefighters are required to be Certified Firefighter II to operate in a burning building
    You then said:
    In Illinois there is no such thing as a Firefighter I anymore.
    So WTF? Because the school says FF2 vice FF1 you're smarter than the average bear? Because you do 240 hours (or whatever) vice 120 hours you're better qualified?

    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. It's easy for paid firefighters to say that is should be mandatory, you're getting paid to go!

    You say:
    I think if you asked most volunteers on here, they would agree that being a Firefighter II is not asking too much.
    I'd say that you're right, but what does FF2 mean? Does that mean you need to attend 27 hours of hose rolling training, 43 hours or PR training, and 67 hours of overhaul training?

    Let's not go to the paid vs. volunteer crap. I know many paid firefighters and just like volunteers some are $hit hot and others are morons. The level of training (i.e. FF1, FF2, Etc.) has nothing to do with it.

    You failed to see the point of my post......

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    COOL IT GUYS! - calm down a bit and behave like adults or otherwise the Webteam will probably need to intervene, closing a thread that has a lot of relevance to a lot of people.

    From my side of the World (Australia) this has a lot of relevance and is very topical given that our training is going through a massive revamp at the moment, and that includes meaning eventually that newcomers will need to do a heap more training than what they currently have to do before they are allowed to jump on a truck. Part of that revamp includes defining the risk profile of each brigade (a small department within our mega-statewide department) and determining minimum training standards for each brigade on that risk profile. In other words a brigade that is in a small country town doesn't have any buildings more than one story high, so do they need to know about things like highrise firefighting, using aerial appliances (they'll probably never see one in their life), and all sorts of other things that aren't applicable in their area - Probably Not, so they won't need to learn these under the new training system. Maybe this is something that might need to be looked into in the U.S., rather than just saying that everyone must do FFII before responding.
    Last edited by stillPSFB; 01-14-2003 at 04:23 AM.
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  13. #13
    Forum Member DaSharkie's Avatar
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    Default

    As I see it, which doesn't mean a whole hell of a lot by the way, the law has good intentions but the implementation of it is horrendous, as is typical of most "non-funded mandates" passed on by one government to another.

    I am sure the IAFF has had a hand in this, I do have many problems with some of the things the international does - and I am laid off member - BUT, it seems that they are protecting their own membership - by using the state affiliation of the Florida Professional Firefighter's association. That being said, many of the departments in Northwest Florida rely upon the neighboring volunteer departments for additional resources so why would you, as a career firefighter, not want an equally trained person coming to back you up?

    I have played both sides of the coin here and I have always felt this way. Fire does not discriminate and you should be trained to same level. It does appear that much of the uproar over this, as I and others have said, is the time window for compliance. This is going to be HUGE initiative and will take a few years to get everyone spun up to comply.

    Having just visited the Pensacola area this past Fall I realised how rural much of this area is, if this standard is implemented(as is) it truly will decimate the volunteer departments because they will not get trained in time. On top of this, how can someone in Tallahasse tell a U.S. Government fire service that they cannot provide mutual aid? We are talking about peoples homes, property, and more importanlty their lives here. We are firefighters and we try to protect life and property so it just does not make sense.

    The final thing that ticks me off here, and this has been discussed in a few other threads is that I, as a certified FF I/II with a national certification cannot go to Florida with my 4 years of experience (I know this is not much) and 600 - 800 hours of fire service training courses, and Associate's and Bachelor's degree in Fire Science, and get a job with a fire department without taking a FF I course again because my credentials are not good enough.

    I hope they can get this situation rectified for the sake of the harm that will come out of the good intentions.
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    captstan; one question I have is; Was this plan developed in secret w/o telling the vol. fire service about it? O r was it apathy and neglect on the part of the voil fire service which allowed it to be developed around them?

    It seems difficult to believe (but not impossible, of course) that the vols. are just hearing about this now. There obviously has been a ton of work put into it. What about the legislature? ANy "friendlies" there?

    To put it in perspective, 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? Just the thought of that is ridiculous. That's why there are very few volunteers and the numbers are slipping daily. Really it takes a retard to do what we are doing as pure volunteers, do the math on the meetings, drills, fires, fund raisers, extra duties and training and it adds up to a TON of time spent away from your family. To make it worse guess what, not only are you not getting paid but you have to pay for half of your uniform, pay for your own gas, vehicle wear and tear, wake up at o' dark thirty to respond to a false alarm and deal with the stress of fighting fires....FOR FREE.
    Being the father of a developmentally handicapped son, I take offense at your use of the word "retard". He will never be a fire fighter, despite how much he loves it. So choose your words more carefully.

    ANd, oh yeah. If you really feel the way you do...QUIT!

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    Forum Member MIKEYLIKESIT's Avatar
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    Yo Turk no need to get nasty. If you feel that 40 hours of training is all you need to be a good firefighter then fine. Don't get upset that people like me disagree. Our local Mutual Aid group runs an academy for recruits. 2 nights a week and Saturdays. They get classroom and practical lessons. Maybe I am missing something here,but I always thought the more education you got the better rounded person/firefighter you become. I went through Firefighter III, FAE and Instructor I while I was a volunteer. There is an all volunteer department nearby that requires there members become FF3 within a certain amount of time. Sorry that the days of "Heres your boots, hop on the tailborad" are gone. I happen to live and work in a State that is at the forefront of firefighter training. If Chief R. is lurking about, maybe he could speak from a Volunteer Chief Officers perspective. 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. I still want to see where the IAFF is mentioned anywhere in that article....

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    Default 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:
    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?
    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.

    Second happy quote:
    Really it takes a retard to do what we are doing as pure volunteers
    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.

    Third happy quote:
    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.
    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.

    Fourth happy quote:
    However, there has to be (weather we like it or not) two standards.
    Bull$#it. Tell that to Brad Golden's family. 'Nough said there.

    Fifth happy quote (and the last, 'cause I'm growing weary of this):
    [Basic training] should be taught in house during drills or other non-emergency related activities, not formal mandatory training.
    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.

    Are you from Mayfield?

    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.
    Amen to that, brother, amen to that.
    Last edited by jaybird210; 01-14-2003 at 09:15 AM.
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  17. #17
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    Default Yea, I'm lurking!

    First of all, FFII is not a requirement in Illinois for all departments. It is an automatic prerequisite though if you are joining a career department. On many career departments, a probie has his first year to complete FFII, if he hasn't do so already. It is highly recommended by anyone working fires in this state. Myself and half of our small department has been certified FFII since 1990. Illinois offers several courses including Essentials I, II, III and IV that are 15 hour modules and are FREE. Several classes in Illinois qualify under the state's re-imbursement program even if there is a fee. There have been 8-10 regional training sites placed throughout the state for everyone's training needs. Several classes are taught through the fire college in Champaign. There are evening and week end classes offered year round. In my mind, there is absolutely no excuse for not reaching a level of training that is appropriate for our chosen avocation. Many courses are now offered on line via Internet.
    I do agree with Turk that time constraints are becoming more and more problematic. But I will also pull out and dust off the old adage that "fire doesn't know the difference between career and volunteer"! And it would be nice if all firefighters respected each other in their own way, but unfortunately, you have bad attitudes on both sides of the fence. I can interact with career or volunteer without any problems. Many can't. But I will not let my department use the idea that they only give what they can give. There has to be a minimum that everyone must hit. Otherwise, we'd still be riding the tailboard and going inside without SCBAs.
    I don't know that I would do it like Florida, but requiring a level of training is certainly within reason.
    AND SPEAKING ON TURK'S BEHALF; HE MEANT TO SAY "MORON" AND NOT "RETARD"! Right, Turk?
    Now, if we can just get some of the same perks and benefits in the volunteer sector.....
    Last edited by ChiefReason; 01-14-2003 at 09:38 AM.
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    Default Oh, and one more thing....

    LET'S KEEP THIS DISCUSSION CIVIL!
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    Default 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?

  20. #20
    Forum Member PAVolunteer's Avatar
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    Default

    Hey y'all ... come on up to Pennsylvania!!! Up here, you don't need to know your *** from a hole in the ground to be able to fight fire. As far as I know, there is no rule, anywhere, that mandates what, if any, training that an adult must have to fight fire. Dandy, ain't it? It is also extremely ignorant. It is up to each individual department to require training for its members. When we go to mutual aid calls, I don't know if the guy on the back up line, or the guy on the roof with me has FF XIVMC or if his mom just dropped him off at the station to pick up his first set of gear. It would be nice if you knew that everyone had at least a certain level of training.

    FF's must be trained. FFI & II is certainly a reasonable level. If you have experience, challenge the tests. If you pass, great. If you don't, get ready to go to class.

    How are the paid guys going to take the volunteers seriously if they don't know that they have a certain standard of training?

    Bravo, Florida - let's not just dump this on them though. Hopefully, it will be implemented in a safe and effective manner.

    Oh, and where was the IAFF mentioned?

    Stay Safe

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