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  1. #1
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    Default What qualifications are most important?

    This is directed mainly to the chiefs out there...

    What qualifications/traits are most important to you when selecting a firefighter for promotion to an officer position?

    My department is a small, rural department, all volunteer with the exception of a full-time paid chief. Over the years, I've been passed up for several captain positions, and I want to determine what skills are considered most important, so that I can focus on those areas that are weaknesses of mine.

    Apparently, I have been prioritizing qualifications and traits incorrectly. I know I have both strengths and weaknesses, but I guess I haven't been focusing on improving the right weaknesses.

    The firefighters that have been promoted ahead of me are good firefighters, and I believe they will make good officers. In my mind, it's not a question of "Why them?" but rather "Why not me?"

    Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated.


  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber MrYuk's Avatar
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    There are many qualifications that one must have before being selected as an officer. This will vary by department.

    Most departments will require a 2 year minimum firefighter, then 2 years as an Engineer. It will also depend on how the Chief feels you will be comfterable in different situations, leadership skills, training skills.

    In my opinion, a fire officer needs to be an experienced firefighter and experienced engineer. When I say experienced, I mean has made several aggressive attacks, has pumped sereral fires, has knowledge that he can pass down to others, able to lead a crew and understand that their safety is in his hands.
    "Training doesn't make you a good fireman, fighting fire makes you a good fireman"
    http://thedarksideof911.blogspot.com/
    FTM-PTB-EGH
    IACOJ

  3. #3
    Forum Member THEFIRENUT's Avatar
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    "What qualifications/traits are most important to you when selecting a firefighter for promotion to an officer position?"

    First of all, qualifications will be different from department to department. Take as many courses that you can (you can never learn too much).

    Now for traits....I look for someone that not only participates in our "in-house" training, but also goes out and takes other fire courses in our area. I also look for leadership skills, whether learned or inherent. I believe my officers should be good instructors because the firefighters will be going to them with their questions. Last, but not least, I look for proven fire ground experience. My officers lead thier crew into dangerous situations. I need to know that they will all be OK.
    Just someone trying to help! (And by the way....Thanks for YOUR help!)

    Aggressive does not have to equal stupid.

    ** "The comments made here are this person's views and possibly that of the organizations to which I am affiliated" **

  4. #4
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    "Why not me?"
    Cuz apparently the process is up to one person to just pick and choose who he wants and possibly not the best qualified.

    Good Luck.
    "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?

  5. #5
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    Qualifications will vary from department to department, but here is a few of the requirements my department requires...
    - FFII certification
    - EMT B
    - Driver/Operator-Pumper certification
    - Fire Officer I
    - Incident Safety Officer (NFA Course)
    - NIMS IS800 level (Just added, all officers must get to this level)
    - 4 year minimum as firefighter
    - No disclipinary issues on file

    We look for potential officers who have a strong command and control presence. We need our officers to be strong, level headed leaders in the house. In order for a qualified firefighter to advance, they must pass a written exam, an oral interview made up of officers from other departments, and a few table top exercises. Advancement is based on total top score and recommendation from the oral interview panel.

  6. #6
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    Some times it's tough in a vol. deptment to know what is needed. In my area its not who has the most fires or the most classes but who can make the most call backs. Normally it's the person who owns their own buisness or no job and has all the time in the world and can respond to almost all of the calls either day or night, as for a career dept. you need to check with a dept. that you might want to work at one day and plan your classes based on thier guidelines for promotion. Good luck!!!!

  7. #7
    MembersZone Subscriber dmleblanc's Avatar
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    I would love to be able to promote officers based on certifications and "hard" qualifications, like Frosty mentioned. However, if I did that, we wouldn't have ANY officers (hell, I don't meet all those requirements, myself....) In our area, formal, "certified" training is a little hard to come by. Most of our training is in-house. So I tend to use less tangible, more objective criteria when selecting officers. Is he agressive on the fireground without being dangerous or reckless? Is he mature? Does he remain focused when the crap hits the fan? Do his brother firefighters respect him and his skills? Does he display a penchant for learning, and for sharing his knowledge with others?

    Most times, all can do is go with my gut feeling...is this a guy I would trust to run the show in my absence?

    Sometimes the choice can be hard....I've passed over guys with way more experience and time on the department, simply because I didn't feel confident in their leadership ability. I have lots of guys who are great firefighters, skills-wise, who I feel just don't have what it takes to be leaders. Maybe they get too excited when the pressure is on. Maybe they're the "class clown" type and the rest of the guys just can't take them seriously. Maybe they just have some growing up to do.

    I guess when you don't have the option of choosing the most "certified" candidate, you go for the most qualified.....
    Chief Dwayne LeBlanc
    Paincourtville Volunteer Fire Department
    Paincourtville, LA

    "I have a dream. It's not a big dream, it's just a little dream. My dream — and I hope you don't find this too crazy — is that I would like the people of this community to feel that if, God forbid, there were a fire, calling the fire department would actually be a wise thing to do. You can't have people, if their houses are burning down, saying, 'Whatever you do, don't call the fire department!' That would be bad."
    — C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

  8. #8
    Forum Member THEFIRENUT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dmleblanc
    I would love to be able to promote officers based on certifications and "hard" qualifications, like Frosty mentioned. However, if I did that, we wouldn't have ANY officers (hell, I don't meet all those requirements, myself....) In our area, formal, "certified" training is a little hard to come by. Most of our training is in-house. So I tend to use less tangible, more objective criteria when selecting officers. Is he agressive on the fireground without being dangerous or reckless? Is he mature? Does he remain focused when the crap hits the fan? Do his brother firefighters respect him and his skills? Does he display a penchant for learning, and for sharing his knowledge with others?

    Most times, all can do is go with my gut feeling...is this a guy I would trust to run the show in my absence?

    Sometimes the choice can be hard....I've passed over guys with way more experience and time on the department, simply because I didn't feel confident in their leadership ability. I have lots of guys who are great firefighters, skills-wise, who I feel just don't have what it takes to be leaders. Maybe they get too excited when the pressure is on. Maybe they're the "class clown" type and the rest of the guys just can't take them seriously. Maybe they just have some growing up to do.

    I guess when you don't have the option of choosing the most "certified" candidate, you go for the most qualified.....
    Sounds like you have everything under control down on the bayou, Chief. Our Chief pretty much gives the next person in line the opportunity to take the open position. Then if this person really screws up, he gets rid of them.

    When I was an AC (Chief relied on me for decision), I passed up officer candidates because of the same gut feelings. And later realized that those gut feelings were wrong (must have been just heartburn). Demoting someone was one of the hardest things that I have ever done. I must admit that I am a little bit of a "class clown", but when on the job, people "seem" to take me serious enough.
    Just someone trying to help! (And by the way....Thanks for YOUR help!)

    Aggressive does not have to equal stupid.

    ** "The comments made here are this person's views and possibly that of the organizations to which I am affiliated" **

  9. #9
    GFDSlappyRob
    Firehouse.com Guest

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    What we require...

    FFII
    Haz-Mat Awareness
    TRA
    EMT-B
    Competant
    Good standing with the FD other FF's
    At least 4 years and be voted by the chiefs and head capt.

    Preferably

    FFIII
    Officer I
    Haz-Mat Ops.
    FAE

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