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    Default What's a good age for an line officer?

    Here is a question that has always bugged me. what is the appropriate age for someone to be a line officer? what about a chief officer? is it different for volunteer fire department than it is for career fire departments?

    second question, how many years in the fire service should a line officer have? what about a chief officer? is it different for volunteer fire department than it is for career fire departments?
    If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

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    Lightbulb hmmmmm

    Alot depends on whether he is in a busy company or a slow company. Not that good officers don't come out of slow companies or all guys from slashing companies are the best either but from what I've experienced all else being equal much depends on how much work he has really seen during his years on the job and how much he learned from his experiences.

    I've worked in places where you needed 3 years to test, 1 year, or wait until someone dies or retires....None of them was perfect as that doesn't exist.

    Personally I would think 5 years is a minimum you should spend on the backstep before one is eligible to take a test and any test should be weighted so that those with more expeirence(years) get preference on promotions.

    JMO

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    should age be a factor at all?
    If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

    FF/EMT/DBP

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    I don't think legally it can be.

    Some guys get hired at 21 some at 25 and some at 29...can't really make any age requirements based on that.

    A guy who was hired at 21 could have 8 years on a guy hired at 27 who has 2 years..etc.

    FTM-PTB

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    should age be a factor at all?
    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. If you are between the ages of 18-21 you need to focus on honing your Back Step Skills (Pulling lines, laying lines etc.) In my opinion, 21 is a good age for someone to begin to get into officer ranks. But as desparate as some the departments seem, It would not surprise me to see a younger officer....

    Tillerman 25's Line Officer Age/Qualification Guideline:

    Sergeant- Minimum age of 21 or 5 years of experience. Minimum Qualifications of Firefighter II, EVOC and EMT-B or First Responder (Or the minimum your area requires for EMS training)

    Lieutenant- Minimum Age of 23 or 7 Years experience. Minimum Qualifications of Firefighter II, EVOC, Pump Operator, Aerial Operator (If you have one) and Rescue Tech (If you have one) and Hazardous Materials Operations. Plus the minimum EMS training for your area. Additionally, the person should be an Apparatus Driver

    Captain- Same as Lieutenant, except add Fire Officer I and Incident Management Course.

    Deputy Chief- Minimum Age of 25 with 9 years of experience. Minimum Qualifications of Fire Officer I, Instructor I, Incident Management, Haz-Mat Operations and Incident Safety Officer. EVOC and Apparatus Driver

    Assistant Chief- Same as Deputy except add Fire Officer II

    Chief- Minimum Age of 26 or 10 years experience. Qualifications same as Assistant Chief.

    I know alot of you are scraping the bottom of the barrel as it is for personnel, but if your leaders can't be properly experienced and qualified, your department will take a down-turn.
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    Age shouldnt be a matter, but experience should be.
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    No one under 21 can hold a line office in my company. Its not written that way, but its how it works out. No one gets FF1 before they are 18 and to be officer must have at least 3 years of service as FF1. Can only be 2nd Lt. After at least 1 year of that, can go for 1st lt. After at least 1 year of that, can go for Capt, then 1 year, etc. Youngest possible age for Chief would be 27 and would be hitting 10th year as FF1. Each position also has added requirements.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    I agree, the qualifying factor should be experience not age. From the volunteer perspective, there are some 20 and 21 year olds that are ready, especially if they have been dealing with responsibility through thier teens, such as kids that have been working on a family farm or in a family business, or have been given some level of responsibility as junior firefighters on thier departments. That being said, departments do need to develop minimum standards that reflect a lebel of training and experience that is realistic for thier department.

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    Originally posted by DrParasite
    should age be a factor at all?
    I have seen posts on these threads touting 17 and 18 year old "lieutenants and captains" and 21 year old "fire chiefs". How much "experience" do you think they have?

    Tiller...
    A few questions about being a "sarge"...

    What are the responsibilities of the rank of sergeant in the FD?

    Is that a rank required for being an engineer/pump operator/chauffeur/driver?

    Does the "sarge" move up to acting LT when the LT is out for any reason?
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
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    Good, bad or indifferent, I am a Captain at 23. This is my first year as captain. Up until now I have been an Lt. In all I have three and a half years as an officer. In the five years since I have turned 18 I have earned Firefighter I and II, Fire officer I and Fire Instructor I. I am the third highest certified person in my department. And the first two are not chiefs. One is a LT. and the other is a FF. I personally think that it all depends on the person. I fight fire with guys in their late 20's and early 30's that you can not trust to cut a hole in the roof or pull the initial attack line.

    Not that I am the greatest officer in the world. I have made mistakes and I will make more. I am still learning new things everyday.

    Dennis

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    Not that I am the greatest officer in the world. I have made mistakes and I will make more. I am still learning new things everyday.
    First off, don't ever forget that statement. Especially the last sentence. It is my promise that I will stick to that last sentence until I retire from active membership in my fire company.

    And this isn't a direct shot at you and as a matter of fact I commend you for having the determination to get those certifications, but your post got my thoughts together.

    The comment on "I am the third highest certified person in my department. And the first two are not chiefs. One is a LT. and the other is a FF." doesn't always hold water.

    I have a guy who takes every single course in the county academy's book, but I wouldn't trust him to do more than roll hose yet I have a guy who is retired big city career guy who hasn't gone to school in 8 - 10 years that I would take anywhere based on his past experience. Envisioning based on lecture and doing based on experience are sometime very different things and the bottom line is paper does not put out fire, a combination of paper/knowledge, ability and experience does. Don't get me wrong, I am a paper happy guy and to some extent I have to be do to CEU requirements my state has in affect to maintain certain certifications, but I know that a class is only a foundation for who I am as a fire officer.

    For those of you wondering, I am 31 currently serving the rank of Captain with terms as LT prior to that(1st term at 29). If I look back at myself at 21 or 22 and knowing what I know now, I was a PITA. All eager but not really able to think things through and the thought of me being a fire officer at that point in my life would scare the crap out of me, but again that's just me and my opinion.

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    Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz: as a 22-year-old, was given command of the destroyer, USS DECATUR.

    General George S Patton: began his army career as a cavalry lieutenant at age 23.

    General Omar Bradley: at age 22 became a second Lt in the Infantry.

    Dwight D Eisenhower: 23 when he made second Lt.

    General "Stormin" Norman Schwarzkopf, 2nd Looie, age 22.

    Maybe it's just me, but I'd follow these young lads into battle.

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    Originally posted by CaptainGonzo


    Tiller...
    A few questions about being a "sarge"...

    What are the responsibilities of the rank of sergeant in the FD?

    Is that a rank required for being an engineer/pump operator/chauffeur/driver?

    Does the "sarge" move up to acting LT when the LT is out for any reason?
    Tillerman, please correct me if I'm wrong.

    Sargeant is the first line officer position utilized. I've only heard of it used in East Coast departments. DC Fire utilizes Sargeants as "acting lieutenants". There are a certain amount of sargeants assigned to a batallion on a given group. They have no permanent house. Sometimes they know where they will be going on their next shift, some times they do not. They act as the company officer for whatever house they are assigned to for that day. Attaining the rank of Sargeant has nothing to do with driving ("technician" as it's called around here).

    As far as volunteer departments, being a driver certainly helps to attain the rank of Sargeant. Generally, Sargeants will not act as officer, as there are generally LTs or Captains around. However, when staffing is low, they will "ride the seat". In this sense, they are in training to become company officers, the same as experienced firefighters are asked to be acting officers on a periodic basis.

    Once again, Tillerman, please correct me if this is incorrect.

    Eric

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    General George S Patton: began his army career as a cavalry lieutenant at age 23.
    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.

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    Lightbulb Hell has just frozen over... 1st the Red sox winning the Series, now this..

    Robert, aka Nozz and I have our differences, but I agree with him on this point. All of the references posted by Artie aka E229LT were educated by West Point or at the US Naval Academy at Annapolis. There's a vast difference in the education they recieved vs. a few teenagers taking a course or two and calling themselves "fire officers".
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
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    What if the person is professionally trained? IE associates or higher degree in fire science. I know that I'm the only person on my entire department that can claim to have such a degree, including the payed chief. I am NOT an officer but am an equipment manager (in charge of structure gear and SCBA's). I am still eyeing an officer position though.

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    What if the person is professionally trained? IE associates or higher degree in fire science. I know that I'm the only person on my entire department that can claim to have such a degree
    Not to lessen your accomplishments, but a degree means zip to me as far as being a fire officer. My experiance has been the more degrees you have, the less competant officer you are. I have know idea why, as you would think the opposite. Again, just my experiance with it.

    I dont think age is an issue. The only time it may be is if a young officer is put with an older crew. Im 40, and have 22 years on the job. Give me an officer whos 23 or 24 with 4 or 5 years on the job and he will have a lot to prove, and would have to EARN my respect.

    For a paid department, I would like to see 5 years on the job, with a certain amount of time as an acting (fill in) officer and whatever officer certs your state has before you can sit for an exam.
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    well put DAVE, my opinion is for actual fire experience and acting officer experience. my 2 cents

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    Dave - I'm not sure why that's been your experience. At least in my department officers are appointed based on years/experience and education has no bearing on it. I personally think an officer should have at least taken strategies and tactics, fire officer development, firefighter safety, etc. and maintain their state firefighter 1. Firefighters shouldn't be in charge of educating officers on scene.

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    My dear extinguished brothers Gonz and Nozz,

    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.

    The AGE factor was the question in this thread, correct? The question was simple and direct, "What's a good age for a line officer?". My response mearly says, any age is fine and should not be a determining factor. It's what the member is capable of at his present age that must be looked at.

    Training, experience, attitude and the application of all three in a way that will get the job done and get the brothers home again. That's all that matters. If you can do it at 18, god bless, do it.

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    Originally posted by Firetacoma1
    Dave - I'm not sure why that's been your experience. At least in my department officers are appointed based on years/experience and education has no bearing on it. I personally think an officer should have at least taken strategies and tactics, fire officer development, firefighter safety, etc. and maintain their state firefighter 1. Firefighters shouldn't be in charge of educating officers on scene.
    I dont know either. Perhaps its the people. And to clarify, Im talking degrees, not certifications.
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    You can't put a minimum age on it. Experience is a big factor, along with education and attitude, but another thing is the ability to lead and to have the trust of the FFs.

    We have some people that have 5 years on the job, and have FF-I, Hazmat Tech, Associates in Fire Science, working on Paramedic, will take any class available, but has the "know-it-all" attitude. You ask a question , and you may very well get the answer you are looking for, but when it comes down to actually doing it, it's a totally different story.

    There are other people who have been on the job for 10, 15, 20+ years and have all kinds of training, but wither don't retain it or the people don't trust them in a life or death situation.

    Likewise, you have to have someone that has a good attitude.

    It's a tough thing, but you have to gauge the people on their education, experience, attitude, leadership skills and trust worthiness. Some people may excel 1 or 2 of those things, but without some of the others, they probably wouldn't make very good officers.

    FWIW, I had been on the job for 9 years prior to being promoted to LT at the age of 27........
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    I may be impartial to what I'm about to say, because I'm a 21 year old Lt., but the biggest thing that an officer needs is maturity on the fireground and when leading a crew. I know that there are some 40 year olds that have the maturity of an 18 year old. I also think that experience is plus too.

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    Originally posted by FFDCAR15
    I may be impartial to what I'm about to say, because I'm a 21 year old Lt., but the biggest thing that an officer needs is maturity on the fireground and when leading a crew. I know that there are some 40 year olds that have the maturity of an 18 year old. I also think that experience is plus too.
    I agree, you need maturity, but that maturity won't do you or your crew any good without experience, training, etc........ That's why I said it's a combination of things......
    The comments made by me are my opinions only. They DO NOT reflect the opinions of my employer(s). If you have an issue with something I may say, take it up with me, either by posting in the forums, emailing me through my profile, or PMing me through my profile.
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    Dave - I can't of course speak for all degree programs, but the one I went through we obtained a whole slew of certs along the way.

    Firenresq - I agree that attitude is a major key. We had a very active member who was also a volly with another local department. He was one of those who was never wrong. He came off as a know-it-all who thinks he knows everything about the job. Well he did have a wealth of knowledge, his approach to sharing his knowledge came across as cocky, and therefore most people didn't take his advice, even if it may have been good information.

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