1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber

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    Jun 2004
    Pierceton IN

    Default Officer qualifications

    My department is in the process of making changes to the qualifications that members wanting to be offivers must have.The current requirements are FF1&2 and minimum time on the department. I think that the qualifications should be more stringint than that. I also believe that there should be an expectation of annual continuing educational requirements. It is too easy for volunteer fire departments to elect or appoint officers and let it go at that. I believe that if you are in a position that may require you to IC a scene, Then you should have at least some type of command training under your belt. I would like to here from all departments both career and volunteer as to your requirements.

  2. #2
    55 Years & Still Rolling
    hwoods's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Glenn Dale Md, Heart of the P.G. County Fire Belt....

    Thumbs up Well...........................

    A noble cause, if there ever was one. I wish you luck. Here's where we are. County law sets our training requirements, that prevents every Tom, Dick, and Harry from coming along and attempting to change something. The list:
    Lieutenant. 3 years on, Firefighter II, EMT,Age 21
    Captain. 4 years on, one as a Lieutenant, Fire Officer I, EMT,age 23
    Deputy/Assistant Chief 5 Years on, 2 years as Captain, Fire Officer II, EMT, age 24
    Chief. 5 years on, 2 years as Lt/Capt, 1 year as Deputy/Assistant Chief, Fire Officer II, EMT, Age 25

    Additionally, a number of "small" things like CPR, HazMat Ops, Etc. along with maintaining Continuing Education each year.
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
    In memory of
    Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
    Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

    IACOJ Budget Analyst

    I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.


  3. #3
    Forum Member
    TCFire's Avatar
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    Jan 2001
    Lockport, New York

    Default Re: Well...........................

    Originally posted by hwoods
    A noble cause, if there ever was one. I wish you luck
    Amen...we were in the same boat when we updated our By-Laws several years ago. From that, we have specific minimum training requirements for our Line Officers, and to my surprise have found that we are one of the few in our area that have specific requirements. We had the initial hard feelings from those who accused us of making it too difficult and forming a 'club' of the few who could run. But, what mope in their right mind would want to be a Chief these days without some formal training behind them? It's not the 1960's anymore where the only requirement to being Chief was that you could win the popularity contest. Our requirements are very realistic, basic, and are something that every FF, not just Line Officers, would ideally have under their belt.

    Experience is the best teacher, but I personally don't want someone as a Chief who either hasn't or won't invest the time and effort in obtaining training and skills that will make them a more effective and smarter FF and/or Line Officer.

    Go for it....it's worth the fight!

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    Mar 2000


    Certifications is one starting place, but their main relevance is in skills -- people come out of IFSTA-style standardized training really good on stretching a line, but they may not be very good in putting it together tactically. Or they may do very well in a Strats & Tacs class and find they become a Chief Dean on the fireground (Then we're gonna do this, then we're gonna do that, then we're going to Washington, YEAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH)

    Look beyond just "certifications" to stuff that matters to your department and it's operations.

    We (my department) gives Probies a test of the equipment location & basic operations.

    Why not a list of requirements that a Lieutenant-candidate has to demonstrate profiency in?
    -- Direct a crew through raising a 35' ladder and then bringing up a roof ladder, bring up tools, and "talk" crew through basics of vertical ventilation
    -- Explain RECEO and it's use in several different chalk talk scenarios using the specific equipment/staffing/tools/tactics typical in your department
    -- Direct a crew in operating a 1.5" line against a car fire (real or simulated)
    -- Direct a crew in smokehouse S&R scenario
    -- Direct a crew in operating a 2.5" line flowing at least 250gpm, both stationary and advancing.
    -- Demonstrate proficiency in operating the Pumps & Aerials
    -- Explain your water supply procedures, run a tanker shuttle drop site if that's part of yours.

    That's checking both skills that certifications should give, plus making sure they're comfortable with giving orders, and they're knowledge is deep enough they can explain things to others.
    IACOJ Canine Officer

  5. #5
    the 4-1-4
    Jasper 45's Avatar
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    Dec 2002
    ...A great place, on a Great Lake


    I will probably open up a can of worms with this, but I think it a valid discussion. My honest opinion is that too much emphasis is placed on "paper" credentials. Classes and school are great, but when it comes down to it thay are just that, paper.I admit my opinions will be skewed, I come from a 1200 member all career job. All of our members attend our own training school regardless of your resume. We did not participate in FF1 and FF2 programs untill around 2000. In our recruit training we far exceded the requirements set forth. As far as our company officer requirements are concerned, we abided by none of the state mandates as well. We set up our own. A member was not eligible for the lieutenants exam until they have 7 years on the job. Captain required you to be a promoted lieutenant for 3 years before eligibility was met to compete for captain. 3 years as a captain was required for eligibility to compete for battalion chief.In order to move from the rank of firefighter to fire lieutenant all members are required to take a competetive written exam, along with an interview process; provided that the written exam is passed. The interview contained a written word excersize along with a "fire problem" interactive excersize graded by a number of examiners. Interviews were concluded with your typical sit down interview with members of our fire and police commision. The captains exam process is very similar. Members are then placed on an eligible list based on test scores and ranked numerically based on said scores.I am not discounting the value of FF1, fire officer or any of these types of classes. I just think too much value is placed on them rather than on real life experiance. I am willing to bet that we all have officers, chiefs or firefighters who have all of the credentials in the world, yet on the fire ground always have a "mask malfunction". I don't know if I helped at all piereton101, but good luck with the goals you have for your department.

  6. #6
    MembersZone Subscriber
    sbfdco1's Avatar
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    Oct 2002


    Good discussion - I come from a small volly deaprtment. We run anywhere from 600-750 runs/year. I'd say roughly 85% are EMS.

    As far as I can tell the only qualification to run in my department is 1- being an EMT or have held an EMT card, 2-being voted it (usually a popularity contest, IF you can get more than one person to run!) Unfortunitly most of the senior guys aren't EMTs nor are they interested in becoing one. (Can't say I blame them, even though I am an EMT)

    We have a lot of experience and aren't tapping the resources. The problem now is we have guys who do NOT have enough experience (excluding our present Chiefs). Also we have the "do as I say, not as I do!" guys there as well.

    Suggestions? / Try changing the bi-laws - been there done that.

    Things need to change BEFORE someone gets hurt. All it takes is one fire!

    September 11, 2001 - NEVER FORGET!


  7. #7
    Forum Member
    TCFire's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Lockport, New York


    Dal and Jasper brought up some very good points, my post only focused on part of the story. Absolutely true that all the cert's and classes in the world will not make silk out of a sow's ear. We all know people who are great when it comes to being book smart but get them out into the real world and they can't hit their ***** with both hands!

    Ideally there will be a balance. I believe that there needs to be some minimum guidelines established (ours have a combination of training and years of service), otherwise it's just a free-for-all popularity contest (my experience anyway). Then the intangibles come into play: Leadership, ability to work with people, etc. What separates the good one's from the just ok ones'.

    Good luck!

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