1. #26
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    I would agree with firenresq77 that it takes a combination of criteria for becoming a line officer or chief. Age shouldn't be the "above all" criteria.

    TF

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    Talking Huh??...................

    I was taking a nap, and I thought I heard someone mention age. By now, you all know my position on that, Age is not worth worrying about. A combination of Experience, Education, and Attitude, is what makes an officer. Next Question?
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    It should be a combination of age, life experience, fire experience, fire training, attitude, past history, and seniority.

    None of these should be considered by itself.
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    Default EricCSU

    You are absolutely right. A Sergeant is the most junior rank, so they usually will act as a Fireman unless there are no other Officers in the Station.

    Gonzo, I did not make the Sergeant a "Driver/Operator" position. It is merely like an "acting" Lt. spot, no real operational authority, but rides as OIC when the Lt. or the Captain isn't there.


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    TillerMan25 Wrote:
    Yep, because you cannot allow children to run a fire crew. If you are under 18, you have no business being on a line or putting an SCBA on.



    First of all you can't wear a SCBA or be an interior firefighter until you are at least 17, some places 18. So anyone in their right mind that elects or appoints a 17 or 18 yr old to be a line officer is.....well "STUPID"

    The only position that a youngster should have is Explorer officer.

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    Originally posted by Dickey
    It should be a combination of age, life experience, fire experience, fire training, attitude, past history, and seniority.

    None of these should be considered by itself.

    Ahh, seniority. One of my hot buttons.

    [RANT]

    All else being equal, yes, the senior candidate should always get the nod. All too often, though, the man with one year's experience twenty times (it sure looks like twenty years to the personnel review board) gets promoted over someone who has been busting their butt for ten or fifteen years.

    IMO promotions should never be given to personnel who have retired in place.

    [/RANT]
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  7. #32
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    Default age

    As I read on some more - I see all of you saying that age doesn't matter. Well in MOST cases you are all correct. But you can get some Joe Shmoe come in at 18-19 yrs old and has taken every class possible and might know alot - But are you gonna put him in an officers position. So in some cases I believe age does matter.

  8. #33
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    Dunno about minimum age, depends on your situation. Personally I dont like being an officer. I HAVE had to handle operations because I was the most " seinor" person to arrive first ata child missing call.....it was a one time thing and was only for 10 minutes.

    I answer all the questions on these mock officer exams and do well, but when it came time to put it in practice in the field,I was almost overdrawn at the expierience bank......................
    I dont suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.

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    Yeah, but he spent several years at VMI and West Point, as did Schwarzkopf and Eisenhower. All were graduates. Bradley was a graduate of the United States Military Academy. These guys were professionally trained soldiers before their acne cleared up. There is no comparison to today's fire service, especially volunteer.
    They also had experienced NCO's to keep them out of trouble when they were given their first platoon at age 22.

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    This is very interesting right now. We have a group trying to change the companies constitution to lower the age requirements for officers. Currently we require the Chiefs to be 25, Deputy and Assistant Chiefs to be 23, Captains must be 21 and below that must be 18. They want to lower the Chiefs age to 23, Deputies and Assistants to 21.

    I for one am against lowering the age. There is just a maturity level that comes with age. This is true both with managing a scene and dealing with the different personalities involved in a volunteer department.

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    Default Eng34FF

    You guys should work on lowering the number of officers you have .

    I have never seen so many people with a title until I saw the Officer Roster for your Department. Do you really have that many members? If so, why do you guys scratch all the time? When I lived and ran in Calvert, you guys still had 100 officers and didn't get the rubber on the road regularly.

    I think St. Leonard and Hollywood were thinking of putting "Solomons" on the side of their units too.....I know my comments might be harsh, but it's the truth, so take it for what it's worth.....
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    West Point, Annapolis or any other institution creates officers. The Graduates I referenced above were pretty good ones, I think. You both made my point for me and I thank you. Great training made great officers and it had NOTHING TO DO WITH AGE.
    And my point is that nothing in the fire service is on par with what all of these men underwent prior to their military service, as far as training goes. And I'm sure that even they (at that age) were nowhere near the distinguished leaders they would become later in their lives as they matured.

  13. #38
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    Default Re: Eng34FF

    Originally posted by TillerMan25
    You guys should work on lowering the number of officers you have .

    I have never seen so many people with a title until I saw the Officer Roster for your Department. Do you really have that many members? If so, why do you guys scratch all the time? When I lived and ran in Calvert, you guys still had 100 officers and didn't get the rubber on the road regularly.

    I think St. Leonard and Hollywood were thinking of putting "Solomons" on the side of their units too.....I know my comments might be harsh, but it's the truth, so take it for what it's worth.....
    .

    Reminds me of a neighboring department. More than half of their active members wear white helmets. Its kinda funny to see a whole bunch of white helmets trying to cut up a car I believe they allow their chief, assistants, and captain to run red lights and siren. Which is ridiculous in my opinion.

    Back to the topic though: I am 21, and I was just voted in as 1st lieutenant this year. While another member, who is older than me, was voted in as 2nd lieutenant. I tend to think that the members of the company decided to do this because 1) I exhibited responsibility when I was president for 2 years. 2) Because I have more firefighting experience that the other guy. I set up a multi-department car fire/extrication drill, and I also put together a new member orientation program for new members to get familiarized with the department and the company. Before this year, we had an older gentlemen in the LT seat. He had all the training, but was a horrible officer. Some people are just not capable of doing it, bottom line.

    I worked really hard to get the respect that I have now, and I gave a whole lot of respect to get it!!

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    I have never seen so many people with a title until I saw the Officer Roster for your Department. Do you really have that many members? If so, why do you guys scratch all the time? When I lived and ran in Calvert, you guys still had 100 officers and didn't get the rubber on the road regularly.
    TillerMan

    Take that crap back to the watchdesk. I came on here to have an intelligent conversation about age requirements of officers, not to get bashed because of my departments scratch rate.

    For the record, I'm not proud of our scratch rate and neither is the department. We are working on it and it's getting better. If you can show me that the age or number of officers has an impact on the scratch rate, or offer constructive suggestions to improve it, we can talk.

    Back to topic, I will be the first to admit that there are some outstanding individuals that are competent to become an officer at younger ages. To me that argument can be applied to driving or drinking, just because some can handle it at a younger age is not a reason to lower age requirements.

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    Default Eng34FF

    I swear, I think some of you people are infatuated with the WatchDesk...... If you can't deal in honesty and un-sugared opinion, I guess TWD isn't the place for you.

    If you can show me that the age or number of officers has an impact on the scratch rate, or offer constructive suggestions to improve it, we can talk.
    If you had less officers you might have more people show up for calls. The average span of control for a Fire/EMS officer is 5-6 people. If you only have 30 people on your active list, that averages out to One Officer for every Five people. So in essence, you would only need Five Line Officers (Minus the Chiefs, because they are usually not directly supervising firefighters under ideal conditions.) People may feel they are being "OverSupervised" because every time they are on the Fire Truck, they might be the only Black Hat on there. Also, more officers = more egos, More Egos = Less Satisfaction with the General Membership. General Rule of Thumb...One Set of Officers for every service you have. Using Your Department as an Example:

    Chief 3
    Chief 3B
    Chief 3A

    Chief 3C for EMS

    Engine Captain 3
    Truck Captain 3
    Engine Lieutenant 3
    Truck Lieutenant 3
    EMS Captain 3
    EMS Lieutenant 3

    It's pretty cut and dry, and elections take alot less time...

    Do you honestly need to have Seven Chief officers for your Fire Company?

    Chief 3, Chief 3A, Chief 3B, Chief 3C, Rescue Chief 3, Rescue 3A and Rescue 3B.....Good God, with all those Chiefs, who needs Captains and Lieutenants?
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    I am ALL for experience over age. I would go into a burning house with a 20 year old with two years of experience over a 50 year old with no experience. However, with that said, I do believe their should be a minimum age for officers. The corpus callosum, the part of the brain responsible for self-control, judgment, emotional regulation, organization, intelligence, self awareness and planning, does not fully develop until mid 20's. These qualities that develop late are some of the most important qualities for an officer.
    Part of the problem, especially with volly departments, is that people get into the department young, and promotions are part of the process. So in the long of it all, I dont know how to set an age. We all know that all people are different and have different life experiences, those all are going to affect the ability for a person to be an officer.
    All in all I would say mid to late twenties is as soon as a person has the maturity, life experience, job experience, and development to attempt to be an officer. Of course for some, these items will not come together until late 40's,50's, or never.

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    Code:
    nepatsfan12 said:I am ALL for experience over age. I would go into a burning house with a 20 year old with two years of experience over a 50 year old with no experience
    Now that is just a ridiculous statement. I would rather go into a burning building with someone with more experience. We are not talking about age without experience. We are talking about kids tooo young to have the responsibility to run a fire scene. I don't think that a 19 yr old with 2 maybe 3 yrs experience is ready to be an officer. I don't think a 50 yr old with 2-3 yrs experience is ready yet either. I think at least 21 yrs of age and/or 4-5 yrs experience unless.......there is a 20-21 yr old that has come up through junior membership and has taken sufficent training.

    In our department we hold requirements for each position. For 1st and 2nd Lt. and above you have to be qualified driver/pump operator on all vehicles. There is more I am not gonna ramble on - hopefully I am getting my point across.

    BUT ... the sad thing in some depts. around here - it's all a popularity contest. Which isn't right.

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    Sorry about that last post not sure why it showed up like that

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    nepatsfansaid:
    So in the long of it all, I dont know how to set an age.

    That's why there are constitution and bylaws written for depts. there are rules and you have to follow them.

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    ResQFF- You just made my entire point. Age shouldnt matter. It should be about so much more than age, as age tells me NOTHING about the person. It is about who the person is, where they come from NOT the age of the person. It has to be a combination of so many things, not age. The question was "what is the appropriate age for someone to be a line officer?" That has no mention of experience, the question was about age, not experience.

  21. #46
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    I agree that age doesn't really matter...although an 18 YO who gets promoted after 2 years would not (IMO) be as mature as a 29 YO promoted after 2 years.

    Here in the UK it used to be that 2 years Operational was the minimum for Leading Fireman, 4 years for Sub Officer and 5 years for Station Officer..only the real High flyers ever acheived those figures though.

    Experience is the big thing I'd say. When I joined, London was very Busy in the run down areas...before the Property boom, now Fashionable 'Ghettos' were where Firemen learnt their trade very quickly. I had done 2 years and was just approaching 21 when I started acting Leading Fireman but I waited until I had 7 in before I got promoted. I made Sub Officer after 11, Station Officer after 14 and Asst Divisional Officer after 17 (although I had acted for a couple of years before getting made in each Rank).

    With the new Promotion systems based on 'Assessment' Centres and 'Development Programmes' the good old Written and Practical exam system went by the way. Many young, educated but chronically inexperienced Officers are now filling the holes left by the many 1970's Veterans leaving the job. At 36yo with 18 years on I am now considered a bit of a Dinosaur and a very Experienced Officer...this would have been quite average back when I joined in the 80's. I have Chiefs around be who have done 9-10 years are just hitting 30yo and have spent a lot of time hidden away in project departments or spend time on sponsorship leave getting a handful of degrees.

    No doubting these people's education and the fact that I will be calling them Sir before I get my pension...but they appear to have no uderstanding of the 'Rhythm' of the Fire Service so are appaling managers...more suited to Managing a Supermarket instead of Crusty Firefighters and their Operational Command ability is all book based.

    They will bust a Guy's Balls for not following a simple procedure to the letter, but will then be amazed as they fail to read a fire and wonder why they have ended up with another Car park where a Building once stood.

    Clearly Management in the Fire Service is now a Big Issue, the job is far more political with a Modern Chief requiring a host of skills to deal with the Commumity, other agencies and being able to read the Political wind. But before that we are still Firefighers and to lead Firefighters at Incidents I feel you need to be a good Firefighter yourself... with a clear understanding of the 'Art' of Firefighting that isn't learnt from a book at Collecge but comes from years of pushing down Burning hallways, freeing people from Wrecks and so on.
    Last edited by SteveDude; 03-04-2005 at 02:38 PM.
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    nepatsfan12 - ok then - it all depends on the person. But overall I think the person should be at least 21 yrs old NO YOUNGER.

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    On my career job the minimum requirement to test for Lieutenant is 6 years on the job, MPO is 4 years on the job.

    On my volly FD Chief and A/C are elected by the membership and approved by the village board. It may not be the best system in some places but it has worked well here for the most part since I have been a member.

    Age as a factor...I was 20 years old and a member of my volly FD for 2 years when I was elected A/C. The membership gave as the reason that I was getting my AD in Fire Science and they wanted to move the FD forward and they thought my influence would be beneficial. Honestly I was surprised and tried to turn it down but they were adamant. I was A/C for 10 years. I can admit my strongest points were a very good chief who guided me along, a willingness to count on more experienced people when I needed them, and the ability to admit I didn't know at times. Should I have been A/C? No. LT or Captain? Maybe. Since then I have served as Chief, Captain and Training Officer.

    By the way when they wanted me to be Chief I said okay but only if so and so is my A/C. They all wanted to know why. I said we share the same philosophy and vision of where we want this FD to go and he has the stones to stand up to me and tell me to shut up I you are doing something stupid. I knew an entire crew of yes men is not good for quality leadership.

    FyredUp

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    2 yrs in and you were an Asst Chief ?

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    ResQFF

    2 yrs in and you were an Asst Chief ?
    Yes I was...did you read all of what I posted?

    Should I have been A/C? No. LT or Captain? Maybe.
    It was a very transitional time in the volly FD I was on. It had been a good old boys social club more than anything before that time and some of the old timers knew the "times they were a changin'." When I was 20 the closest guy in age to me was 37 and the average age was arond 50.

    I can admit my strongest points were a very good chief who guided me along, a willingness to count on more experienced people when I needed them, and the ability to admit I didn't know at times.
    I developed no ego over that promotion and knew that I was being watched by the members. I must have done okay because I was relected 10 times as A/C and 6 times as Chief before I decided I needed a break. To say I grew in those positions is the understatement of the century. I also knew that in order for people to fill those positions in the future I needed to be a good mentor. If you ask the Captains and Lieutenants that worked under me I hope they would say that when I tasked them with something I stayed out of their way and let them do it unless they needed help. I also fostered an attitude that training was important. For the first time we had minimum standards for training. We also strongly supported people going outside the FD for training and seminars as long as the budget could support it.

    By the way, now that I am a Captain and Training Officer people are still coming to me and when it is my job I give them the answers they need. When it isn't I direct them to the new Chief or A/C. Now I feel it is my job to support the new officer's and continue to help make us the best FD we can be.

    I will say this about age and maturity. They are not automatically tied together. I have several people I went to high school with that never semed to have gotten out of that mind set of party, party, party. While I have met several fine young people in the volly fire service who are in their 20's who seem to have it all together, good jobs, nice families, and a sense of what truly is important for them to suceed.

    FyredUp

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