1. #1
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    Default How young is TOO young?

    I've been a firefighter for just about 4 years now and have gone through a variety of classes, and had lots of fireground experience,When it comes time for training night, alot of us become bored and disinterested as it is the same old things different week, While I see a "refresher" every now and then it becomes a little tiring after awhile, My question is that I'm 18 years old almost 19 and would like to become Training Officer for my department but I'm a little afarid of what the "elders" will think? Any insight or opinions?
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    Default Too Young?

    My first question is, what state are you from that you have been a firefighter since you were 14?

    Yes, training does get old after awhile, but to become proficient at what you have been trained to do, you must keep re-training. Unless you run an abundance of alarms, encompassing everything from routine rubbish fires to level 1 hazmat calls to mass casualty incidents, you cannot get trained enough.

    I'm thinking that you are with a volunteer department, and if so, it depends on how active the other members are. If you have the knowledge and credentials to become the training officer, and can show the older members that you can handle the position, I don't see a problem. Being the training officer is not just having hands on training yourself. You have to have the "book" knowledge to know the proper procedures and calculations.

    We have a County training coordinator in our county who is 27 years old, but he has taken the time and put in the effort to take the training classes at the state fire academy. I, myself. am 52 years old and continue to take training classes to keep up to date on new methods and procedures
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    It is good to see that you have the energy and desire to be active. I will agree with AFD on most of his points but I think you are too young to be a T.O. Perhaps old enough to certify as an instructor and look, listen, learn and prosper from helping a more experienced T.O. That is my opinion on where you should start.


    Also....perhaps a way to make training more interesting is to "suggest" at a company meeting that each member pick a certain topic and then present the dril in some sort of rotation. This of course would be subject to the approval and oversight of the T.O. That way everyone gets involved and you get to teach and it is a way for you to impress the "elders." Coming from an "elder"..that is something for you to try.

    Now the questions???????
    >"Lots"of fireground experience....How much???? What do you consider fireground experience? How many actualy working fires have you been on?...and I do not mean just a "bread and butter fire" (room and contents)
    >You have to only have been actively fighting fires for 2 years (16-18) unless your department is in violation of the Child Labor Laws???
    >How many calls does your department run and how many do you make of them?
    >You said you have "lots" of training and certificates....what are they?
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    Never too young!

    If you've got the get up and go and the will power to give it a go- then go for it.

    As long as you know your limitations and know when to ask for help.

    Don't forget as the Training Officer, you don't have to actually do the training, only co ordinate it- use the resources available to you such as the crusties, etc.
    Luke

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    Definitely too young.

    You have NOT been a FF for four years. You have been a FF less than a year. Explorer or Junior time doesn't count when you are considering doing something like this. Someday, you will probably make a fine TO. But right now, there is too much to learn and too many rookie jobs for you to do for you to even consider a move like this as a red ***.

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    I think that you are too you as the others have stated. You may have been "on" the department for 4 years but you have only been an interior FF for a year.

    I work in our Training Bureau, I am the youngest member their but I have LOTS of training and I have been a FF for 4 1/2 yrs. But I am not the TO, I am an Instructor. I hold several certifications and will have finished my state instructor school in a month, but I am no where near ready to handle it all. You need some time and experience
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    Hoppy, I gotta agree with George on this one. I'm not sure where you live, but here the training officer has great responsibility. The TO isn't just the guy who sits in the front of the meeting room on training night and says, "Okay, gang, tonight we're gonna do this...." The TO is responsible for the firfighters, nearly as much as the chief. If a guy gets hurt falling off a ladder, OSHA (or your state DOL) will be there the next morning wanting to see his training records and who trained him.

    Are you a certified fire service instructor? You better be, for the reason above. Go read the Lairdsville threads. That A/C wan't much older than you. Those alone should drive the point home.

    Put in your time. If the trainings are getting dull, suggest some things. Nothing kills training more than to spend the first thirty or forty minutes standing around saying, "Whaddya wanna do tonight? I dunno, whaddya YOU wanna do? I dunno, what haven't we done lately?"

    Get out your Firefight I or II curicculum. Go over the practical evolutions. Practice SCBA drills; pull preconnects; set up water shuttles; do ladder evolutions; auto extrication. The list is endless. Only your department's motivation is the limit.
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    Default

    As a volunteer newbie who's starting out at the not-so-spring-chicken-y age of 30, I have a few unique perspectives on this.

    1: Based on what I've read here and elsewhere on the Lairdsville incident, I agree with everything jaybird, ff714 and George have said.

    2: There are some members at my station that were in diapers when I was in high school. I take their feedback and suggestions seriously because I know they have more experience than me.

    3: My loo is at least 7 years younger than me. He's got training up the wazoo and the experience to back it up. I think this is an important consideration: he doesn't act like the typical horndog boozin' womanizin' 23 year old. He *might* be one outside of the department but when he's in station, he's all class and truly demands and deserves the respect given to a line officer.

    I guess my point is this: I like the suggestion that you get the necessary certifications THEN "apprentice" with someone who's been a Training Officer long enough to have several layers of crust. When you're ready to take on the responsibilities for training, behave as a training officer should.

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    Lightbulb

    I must say that experience and total understanding of evolutions is paramount in the training officer's background. Textbook knowledge is great. Backing that up with "firsthand" knowledge gained in actual scenarios would be ideal. The only way to accomplish that in short order...would be extensive and expensive academy courses. Still, even that falls short of actual fireground experience.

    If the majority of your firefighters believe that training has become a problem under the current system, why not suggest a training committee be established. Four or five members, including yourself, could establish training goals, objectives, standards and drills. Instead of putting the entire responsibility on one individual, divide it up among this training committee.

    Take the time to visit other departments in your area. Ask questions on how they accomplish training objectives. Reach out to your nearest fire academy and see what they can offer in the way of training materials, drill outlines, etc.

    Last but not least, visit the Firehouse.com Training section. It's there for you....use it.FH.com Training
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    Ok First let me say thank you to all who have offered their insight, now to answer some questions, I was an exproler then Jr.Firefighter until i was 18 and then I became interior, I have New York FF1, Auto Extrication, Commanding the Inital Response, Fire Behavior and Arson Awareness, Mask Confidence, and a Training Officer Workshop course, I was "apprenticing" under our former Training Officer until he passed away in the line the of duty, our department runs approx 1,500 calls a year of which 400 are fire calls, in any given month we will have 1-2 "Working" Structure Fires (more than room and contents) in our district and go mutual aid to other companies, I'm not sure if I am going to step up to Training Officer or just continue "Apprenticing" with someone whom the Chiefs choose but thank you for the input...Stay Safe
    Last edited by RescuHoppy7; 09-10-2003 at 04:45 PM.
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    Let the Elders know you'd like to continue apprenticing as with the new training officer.

    Focus on training yourself for now. That's not neccessarily aimed at what "classes" you've taken -- it's aimed at making sure you act in a calm, professional, consistent basis and are able to demonstrate your competency to the "elders" as well as your fellow firefighters.

    At 18, should you be a departmental training officer? Nope.

    Can you help prepare the classes? Yep.

    Can you teach skills? Sure can.

    Teaching other members, individually and in small groups is a great way to get your knowledge and motor skills down cold.

    A department running the volume of calls you describe is going to have other, very experienced members who can serve as department training officer and make sure the curriculm "fits" with how your department operates and what it traditionally encounters.

    Not everything you learn at a state class necessarily fits at home, and even when you learn good knowledge, intergrating into your current operations is one of the biggest challenges a training officer can face. One of the biggest problems I've seen is when you have people who are reading from different play-books, and they may adapt some tactic they learned in a class somewhere, while other members are still expecting to do things in a different way. Adopting new tactics and ways is tough, and it really takes working out a good plan to do that -- and that needs knowledge held by the experienced members who've seen the organization operate for years.

    Matt

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    My condolences go out to you, the members of the Owego Fire Department and the family of Stephen G. Gavin.

    Owego has some big boots to fill. I'm sure he will be missed dearly.

    Whatever you decide, I commend you for seeking advice among the members of these forums. Good Luck!
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    Arrow LT. and i have 2 years under my belt

    I have receive the rank of Lt. in my department just over a month ago. Sure some ppl think i havent proved myself to them, but i have followed every course made available to me by the department and worked hard during every training and proved myself. I'm currently certified as an in house instructor and working on my level 1 instrutors course. I am also Fire Prevention officer. I think from experience point i might not be ready for LT, But from what ive seen and all the work i put in, i deserve it!! Just in 2 years went from candidate to LT. and proud of it!!

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    Default Too young.

    I have to agree with the majority of the guys here, you're entirely way to young. People a lot of times tend not to realize the responsiblity you have when you're placed into positions such as the training officer. I have been through a lot of training, I have national certs in FF I and II plus numerous other classes, no need to sit here and write them out. I've been an interior firefighter for 3 years now. I'm from a company that runs 600+ fire calls a year. There is absolutely no way I feel ready to take over a position such as training officer or any other officer for that matter. And for my age, I'm one of the more experianced and trained firefighters in my company. I'm happy I can say our youngest officers are 26 and have a lot of experiance and a minimum of 8 years of firefighting to back them up. Not to sound bad here, but it never made sense to me how you can be a firefighter for such a short time as only a couple years and then be given the responsibity of being an officer with such little experiance.
    I have every aspiration of moving up in my company one day or moving somewhere else and advancing my career. As for right now though, I think your better off sitting back and helping someone else who has the training, experiance, understanding, and know how to get the job done properly and safely.
    Good luck!
    Last edited by FORTff; 09-11-2003 at 07:10 PM.

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    Default

    But the situation with many volunteer fire departments is high turnover.

    What if you are the only guy or gal left with enough experience to run the place?



    Chris Jones
    Buffalo-Mt. Pisgah Fire Dept.
    Kershaw, SC

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    Default

    Maybe it's time to give in and make a combination department and get career guys who have the training and experiance.

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    Volunteer = No money

    Prime example:

    Vol FD no money
    Last edited by cmjones; 09-11-2003 at 10:10 PM.

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    Default Too young

    I come from a department that does about 350-400 fire calls a year as well. I am 21 years old right now and have been on my department since I was 16.I like you have many classes and "some" experience. I probably average 1 structural fire a month like you which obviously is 12 a year, thats not very much!! I am confident in all of my fireground tasks but my experience level is just not there. Maybe in the future I might persue being a training officer but I feel that I am lacking the most important thing----EXPERIENCE. Experience is everything, you can have thousands of hours of class but nothing beats on the job training. My advice to you would be to just wait, gain experience and learn as much as possible. Good luck

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    Default I AGREE

    YES, RIGHT NOW IS NOT YOUR TIME FOR THAT POSITION. T/O I A VERY IMPORTANT POSITION. ONE THAT REQUIRES NOT ONLY MUCH KNOWLEDGE OF FIRE, RESCUE, AND EMS, BUT ONE THAT REQUIRES TENURE, YEARS OF EXPERIENCE. SOMETIMES IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT YOU ARE CERTIFIED IN, OR WHAT CREDENTIALS YOU HAVE, ONLY WHAT YOU KNOW, AND KNOW HOW TO DO. GAIN MORE EXPERIENCE. OF COURSE, AS SAID BEFORE, YOU CAN SUGGEST ON TOPICS THAT MAYBE NEED MORE INSIGHT OR WORK, SUGGESTIONS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME, THAT'S WHAT GAINS CHARACTER AND MORE EXPERIENCE. I'VE BEEN A FIREMAN FOR TEN YEARS. A "JUNIOR" OR "EXPLORER" FOR FOUR YEARS PRIOR, I CAN RELATE. GAIN AS MUCH EXPERIENCE AND KNOWLEDGE YOU CAN. ONE DAY IT WILL PAY OFF FOR WHAT YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH. IT DID FOR ME.

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    Default my personal thoughts

    Hoppy, I have to agree with what most of the folks here are saying, you definitely lack the experience to become a Training Officer, but by all means continue to apprentice with whomever the new TO is, your time will come. Until then, I agree with Dalmatian90, concentrate on training yourself. A good TO should have at least some experience with ALL the aspects of your FD's responsibilities. If not the skills to mitigate the situation, whatever it may be, at the very least know when to step back and call someone who can. You stated you have your NY FF1. I'm guessing that means you have Basic, Intermediate and Advanced Firefighter Classes behind you. If not I would suggest you complete those. You've taken AVET, that's great. Take it again. And again. As many times as you can. You can never have enough practice in that field and the New Technology section ALWAYS changes. I take it whenever it comes around and I have the time. If the class is full I back out to let a first timer have my spot and I ask the instructor if I can sit in just for the New Technology part. It's never been a problem. Training Officer Workshop is great, if you have both TOW I & II. Get the second one if you haven't yet. FBAA, Commanding The Initial Response and Mask Confidence are great classes as well, but that's just the beginning. I'm listed as one of my FD's Live Fire Training instructors, and before I agreed to do it I took some time to think it over and here's one of the questions I asked myself: 1) What kind of education would I want the person charged with training me to have? You have to remember what a huge responsibility it is to be a TO. You are teaching people the things they need to know to keep them alive. In my years as a firefighter I've met a few people with the title "Instructor" that I wouldn't let teach me how to tie my shoes, let alone what I need to know in a life or death situation. When I decided to take on that responsibility I also committed myself to continue learning as much as I could. Being a good TO means realizing you'll never know it all, but you keep learning and passing it along. You are about as close as I am to Montour Falls, maybe closer. Take advantage of that. Here's the list of classes, at least the ones I think are still available from OFPC, I've taken or intend to take: Intro to Officer, Live Fire Safety, Conducting Live Fire Training, EVOC, Apparatus Operator-Pump, Apparatus Operator-Aerial, Firefighter Survival, FAST, Principles of Building Construction, Safety Officer (these two are in conjunction with the NFA so you get a certificate from them if you fill out the paperwork). I'm sure there are some I'm forgetting, any other New Yorkers out there think of anything else for the future OFD TO? or anyone else? Some others things I suggest are some sort of Haz Mat Awareness, the State Decontamination Class, the State Flammable Liquids Class, some level of EMS training (start with the CFR class, if EMS isn't for you, it's the least time invested, if it is for you, Move up to EMT and get into the PILOT program, makes refreshing SO much easier). I also would suggest some sort of class to teach you to recognize Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The State EMS classes touch on PTSD, but a little more in depth training would be better. Since you guys cover Route 17 (soon to be I-86) I would also suggest the FASNY Highway Safety for Emergency Responders. If it's not available near you, we are having it in Cortland next week, let me know and I'll get you the directions and times. In my opinion the education process in this business is never ending, therefore the people charged with teaching us need to keep on top of what's new out there. Good luck Hoppy.....
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    Default Agree and Disagree

    Now I too agree that you are bit young to be training officer, and I doubt your "fireground experience". I doubt it only because I have been running with my department for 3 and half years now and I have only been on about 3 structure fires of our own and about another 10 mutual aid. Too big of a responsibility for your age, personally I think.

    Now I must respond to other things said;

    George: "You have NOT been a FF for four years. You have been a FF less than a year. Explorer or Junior time doesn't count when you are considering doing something like this."

    I disagree. Junior time does count and should count. Juniors in the area here cannot take classes through the state or anything unless your 16. SO, in supplement of this juniors here do a lot of hands on training a few times a month all year. Our juniors do airpacks, extinguishers, ground ladders... we dont ever get them into anything really involved but the basics are known BEFORE we send them to the state class for FF1. Let it be known that recently our department went to the Jamestown Training Center where our firemen, including juniors, went through their maze, did the bottle timing and search and rescue in the tower and did just fine.

    So in my opinion someone that has been a junior for 2 years and a firemen for 1 is more qualified than someone that has been a firemen for 2 years. But, it does not make you the highest qualified and I do agree with you that he is to young to hold the position.
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    Hoppy:
    You have gotten some solid advice in this thread. Age IS a factor with developing firefighters. At 19, a person doesn't have the tools to deal with people twice their age on a whole host of issues. At 19, you think a little bit differently than someone who has been in the workforce for some years, have a mortgage, wife, children.
    I don't doubt for a minute that you have maturity beyond your years, but when the fire has flashed below you and you are responsible for getting your crew out, will you maintain your calm and make the right decisions? That's where experience comes in. I have read countless articles on leadership in the fire service and it is a proven fact that experience is at the top of everyone's wish list as a trait most would like to see in their leaders. Someone who has been there and done that, so to speak.
    Continue to prepare for the day you become a training officer. Learning that job while "on the job" isn't exactly a good move when the others depend on you. Be patient and study. It will come with time.
    Preparing and knowing when the time is right will say more for your character than jumping in, making poor decisions; then regretting it.
    Take care and stay safe. The future of the fire service depends on it.
    And because you raise this question and Jaybird has suggested reading about Lairdsville, I am going to post an article at www.iacoj.com that will definitely be of interest to you.
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    Thanks to all of you who have offered your opinions and or insight, I have chosen to stay as "Training Assistant" and work under whomever becomes Training Officer, I will however get to teach some skill session to the new members so Baby Steps toward the big goal...Stay Safe
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