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  1. #1
    Forum Member JackTee09's Avatar
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    Default Certification-mania

    Prior to starting this thread let me note that training, and documenting training, is vital. This thread in no way belittles or tries to undermine the need for certification in areas of importance.

    It seems that in the past two years the rise of people stating what they are certified in, as opposed to what they know, has become a bit over the top.

    While the training is vital far too many courses are taught with certification, rather than knowledge, in mind. This leads to some firefighters feeling that if they pile on certifications - that alone makes them who they are as a firefighter. Big mistake.

    Having pride in what you have accomplished is certainly something understandable - if it meets the needs of your ego - then all is well. However, like many, hearing someone boast of having 365 certifications makes me think that perhaps, like the eternal graduate student, they have accomplished little.

    Certifications are important - but they are far less important than knowledge. Give me a firefighter with the minimum certifications who knows his or her job - and you take the guy who is so busy getting the next certification he can barely remember the material from the previous set of classes. 9 times out of 10 my guy will perform better.
    Jacktee

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    MembersZone Subscriber sconfire's Avatar
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    Default

    Very well said... the saying "Jack of all trades... master of none" Comes to mind.

    pardon the pundom towards your name!
    Always remember the CHARLESTON 9

    Captain Grant Mishoe, Curator of History
    North Charleston and American LaFrance Fire Museum
    "You'll never know where you're going until you remember where you came from"
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  3. #3
    Early Adopter cozmosis's Avatar
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    Default

    In nearly every 12-16 hour fire academy class I've taken, there has been at least one guy who said his goal for the class was "to get a certificate." I've even met folks who have all of those pieces of paper hanging on their walls at home.

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    MembersZone Subscriber sconfire's Avatar
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    I've even met folks who have all of those pieces of paper hanging on their walls at home.
    Ahhhhhh... the infamous "I Love Me Wall"!
    Always remember the CHARLESTON 9

    Captain Grant Mishoe, Curator of History
    North Charleston and American LaFrance Fire Museum
    "You'll never know where you're going until you remember where you came from"
    www.legacyofheroes.org
    www.firehistory.org
    www.sconfire.com

  5. #5
    MembersZone Subscriber jaybird210's Avatar
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    I try to explain to people that certification is important to prove thrid-party confirmation of training and skills.

    This is far diffent from getting a certificate, which seems to be the way of the world now. Seems like every little seminar or class or training program has to hand out a "Certificate of Completion." Lah-tee-dah. I slept through your whole damn class, does that mean I still get a cert? And I too have seen the wall with every single certificate framed and hanging like it was a diploma. Love me walls are one thing, but any jamoke can pump out certificates on a computer. Ask Jack Boczek!
    Omnis Cedo Domus

    www.hinckleyfd.org

  6. #6
    55 Years & Still Rolling hwoods's Avatar
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    Smile Uh Huh........................... .....

    I have Certificates. I have Certification. There IS a difference. Those who know and understand the difference do not seem to be a problem. Those who don't, however, do seem to be a bit..... well..... You know...... "wackerish?"
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
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    Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

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  7. #7
    Forum Member JackTee09's Avatar
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    Very well said... the saying "Jack of all trades... master of none" Comes to mind.
    Firefighters are, in many ways, jacks of all trades. For instance if someone knows Hazardous Materials like the back of his hand-yet fails to comprehend the basics of fire science he is a master at one and a failure at the other. Not too good.

    I once listened to a very respected fire service leader state that he loved jacks of all trades - and I tend to agree with him-as long as they know the basics of their jobs.




    Seems like every little seminar or class or training program has to hand out a "Certificate of Completion."
    That is so very true. Sometimes when I get through in the restroom I wonder where my certificate of completion is?
    Jacktee

    IACOJ

    "Insert quotation here."

  8. #8
    MembersZone Subscriber jaybird210's Avatar
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    Default

    Sometimes when I get through in the restroom I wonder where my certificate of completion is?
    And sometimes we really earn a Certificate of Completion for that!!!
    Omnis Cedo Domus

    www.hinckleyfd.org

  9. #9
    Forum Member JackTee09's Avatar
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    True JayBird!
    Jacktee

    IACOJ

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  10. #10
    Forum Member JJonesy's Avatar
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    Default

    I'm certifiable. Does that count?
    Jim

    Lieutenant
    East Glenville FD eastglenvillefd.com

  11. #11
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    Smile

    I only have one thing on the wall and that is a plaque for a rescue of a family. Since I am now retired, my wife thinks I should have a scrapbook of all by certificates, etc. Most are in a pile or folder on my desk or somewhere. I'm still looking.

    As I observe young firefighters today, I see way too many that seem to substitute "paper" for "knowledge". I am a strong advocate for training but last time I checked it was hard to put out a fire with paper. HWoods is right that their is big difference between certificates and certification.

    Still no substitute for experience.

    Stay safe,

    Pete
    Pete Sinclair
    Hartford, MI
    IACOJ (Retired Division)

  12. #12
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    Angry This thread is bloody certified...

    Ok.. I have seen it all now (well, not really)..

    A thread complaining about people who go out of their way to get certified in as many aspects of the job that they can!! Let me get this straight, the original complaint was about FF's who try to get as many certifications (not attendance certificates) as they can to prove they are a better firefighter, or define who 'they are' as a firefighter??? This is based against those firefighters who state 'what they know', or as was previously stated, based on their knowledge.

    This really does have to be one of the dumbest complaints I have seen to date..

    Knowledge is essentially gained through education and experience, as firefighter's we like experience because it seems to also provide a healthy dose of additional information that the book doesn't always cover. (Plus experience adds to that layer of crust that we all seem to covet).

    Education is absolutely necessary and provides a good base so firefighters can understand what they learn through experience, and gives a good starting point.

    Certification (not certificates of attendance) provides as some one else stated basically a confirmation to a third party (new chief, employer etc) that the holder of the certificate has taken said training, has usually passed an exam (practical, theory or both) meaning that they were able to understand and reproduce the information presented to them at a level acceptable to the governing body who certifies the course. Where is the problem?????? You've got people in the department actively seeking training to a level that they can certify in, and your moaning????? Would you rather they asked about playing poker??? Is certification alone the be all and end all.. of course not, but I'd take it over the guy sitting in the armchair telling me they've been there and done that yet their 'love me' wall is filled only with cobwebs and photo's of fires from yesteryear.

    Dumb complaint!! If you don't want the FF's that actively seek education and certificates, send 'em my way.. I'll be happy to send you by return mail the guys who'll pull up a sandbag, swing the lampshade and tell you about all they know, though, haven't taken contininuing ed' this side of the millenium.

    As for Certificates of Attendance, well they're necessary for those of us that have to submit proof of continuing education to keep our BS certifications.. my what a shock, to maintain some certifications you have to stay on top of current trends, that truly is terrible and definitely worth a second complaint orientated thread.

    Just my tuppence!!
    Last edited by Fawlty; 07-27-2005 at 02:28 PM.

  13. #13
    Forum Member JackTee09's Avatar
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    Default

    A thread complaining about people who go out of their way to get certified in as many aspects of the job that they can!! Let me get this straight, the original complaint was about FF's who try to get as many certifications (not attendance certificates) as they can to prove they are a better firefighter, or define who 'they are' as a firefighter??? This is based against those firefighters who state 'what they know', or as was previously stated, based on their knowledge.
    Fawlty:

    First and foremost you make valuable points. The idea is not to discourage nor defile those who seek certifications to better serve the community. No-not it at all.

    Instead - there are those who seek every certification out there and point to that-and that only-as proof of their viability as a firefighter. Instead of using someone else I will use me - I have many certifications - in fact quite a few in the last two years. Yet, that "alone" does not make me educated.

    Educated in the fire service means a keen study of all of the basics. We all KNOW of courses where the sole goal is to hand out the certifications.

    Imagine if the airborne were like this - as soon as you became basic jump qualified you could then, via classroom only, become level II, III and on up to Master Parachutist - passing the exams but not really being educated because you have yet to experience the requiste jumps-you have no time in grade as it were.




    but I'd take it over the guy sitting in the armchair telling me they've been there and done that yet their 'love me' wall is filled only with cobwebs and photo's of fires from yesteryear.
    Why the hostility to those who have gone before you? Are they not brothers? And who is sitting in an armchair?

    This really does have to be one of the dumbest complaints I have seen to date..
    Wow - you don't get out often, huh?
    Last edited by JackTee09; 07-27-2005 at 02:50 PM.
    Jacktee

    IACOJ

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  14. #14
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    Fawlty,

    You must be new. The original post wasn't to say certificates are not important. Rather it was that many people believe a certficate is equivalent to knowledge. What good is taking a class and receiving a certificate for it if you can't remember anything or perform on the par required.

    For example, let's say you take a class on low angle rescue and receive a certificate. What good is that certificate if you can't set up z-rig or tie the basic knots required or can't remember what various pieces of equipment are called.

    Next time slow down and read a little more carefully.

  15. #15
    Forum Member JackTee09's Avatar
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    MEBRVCDF

    You hit the nail on the head brother!
    Jacktee

    IACOJ

    "Insert quotation here."

  16. #16
    Forum Member Co11FireGal's Avatar
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    Originally posted by cozmosis
    In nearly every 12-16 hour fire academy class I've taken, there has been at least one guy who said his goal for the class was "to get a certificate." I've even met folks who have all of those pieces of paper hanging on their walls at home.
    Very true...or how about when an instructor asks, "Why are you here?"

    And the reply is, "Because the state/county requires it," or "Because I have to have it to be an officer in my dept."

    Certificates are necessary for documentation. I keep mine all in one place so I can copy them to take to classes to prove completion of prerequisites, but they definitely (IMO) don't belong all on an "I love me" wall, as someone stated. I do have a couple of certificates on my wall. Two to be exact...one for being my department's first junior firefighter, which was presented to me by my grandfather (that means a lot to me) on my 18th birthday when I was accepted as a full member of my dept., and the other is not fire-related but was earned after nearly 10 years of martial arts training.

    Different certificates are going to mean different things to different people. I don't see anything wrong with displaying a certificate that was well-earned for something like years of outstanding service. On the other hand, displaying every single certificate of participation from every little weekend class though? Well, that seems a little weird to me.

    People need to ask themselves when it comes to classes and certificates/certifications, "I am here to learn and get better at my job or to make my dept. better, or because....?" If the answer isn't the prior, you are wasting your time and everyone else's. Not to mention your or your department's money.
    IACOJ

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  17. #17
    Forum Member stm4710's Avatar
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    Some people are into getting cert's just for the $$$$$. Alot of carrer departments and LE departments give stipends for EMT and college degrees. Alot of cops in my EMT class didnt give a dam about EMS.........they were there just for the extra $2,500 a year.

    I teach part of the course for the C.E.R.T program. So when I print up the certificates for the students, I make them for the dept. EMT's as well.If you submit the certificate to OEMS with a sylibus you get 16 hours credit toward your 28 hours.
    I dont suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.

  18. #18
    Forum Member JackTee09's Avatar
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    Co11FireGal

    You are right! My personal favorite is:

    him/her: "I'm certified in everything!"
    Me: "That's nice."
    Jacktee

    IACOJ

    "Insert quotation here."

  19. #19
    Forum Member SpartanGuy's Avatar
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    There's a flip side to the certificate wall thing. It inspires confidence in the general public, and at least demonstrates a level of competency and knowledge to have it issued.

    For example, our building inspector has his 'Fire Inspector II', "BOCA Code Administrator" etc etc etc. etc. certificates on his office wall to show that he knows what he's talking about when he yells at a store in the mall for wanting to lock their exit doors, for example.

    I mean, do you criticize your dentist for hanging his dental license on the wall
    "Captain 1 to control, retone this as a structure and notify the fire chief...."

    Safety is no accident.

  20. #20
    Forum Member JackTee09's Avatar
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    I mean, do you criticize your dentist for hanging his dental license on the wall
    No. In fact I want to see it first thing!

    Yet, with this job, a firefighter rarely has the chance to show anyone his certificates. And, as with most things, most people don't care. Besides I am not talking about hanging a certification - I am talking about the fascination with obtaining certifications as if that is the sole barometer of your success.

    To use the physician analogy:

    You may have a doc who went to Harvard, did his residency at Johns Hopkins, and is on the faculty of a prestigious school. Great! Yet when it comes time for him or her to do the job what you really want is them to perform-not tell you all of their credentials - because none of those things means a damn thing if they screw up.

    In many fields they call it the "Glare of Gold" - the people look great, have all of the requisite credentials and then some - but are totally hopeless when it comes to performing.
    Jacktee

    IACOJ

    "Insert quotation here."

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