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    Question Are recruits REALLY learning what they need to know?

    This is partially taken from another thread, do you think (especially in Fire Academies) that the Recruits are learning what they will need to know in the "real" world? I know that I have had to "re-learn" some of what I was taught in EMT, and Firefighter 1/2. Some of what is taught is so......WEIRD, no other words for it, that it really makes you think. When you have to do OJT, its not good, especially when that can cost someone their life. Now, Im not trying to come off as some kind of know it all smart @ss 1 yr/20yr FF, but someone who thinks that the current curriculum needs to teach what you will use in the field, NOT what some paper-pusher thinks you need to know
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    I think there is a serious issue with classes teaching things that will let you pass the test and they arent focusing as much on things that you need to know in the field. Of course you can't practice in the field if you don't pass the test, but on the other hand you could pass the test and not know how to do vertical ventilation. When I first went through FF1 my teacher skipped our hands on day for vertical ventilation and we learned stuff from the book that would help us pass the written test. In a perfect world there would be a couple more class sessions to each class that would focus on the real world opposed to the practical/written test world.

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    A lot of it depends on what academy you go to. You must also understand that the academy's job is just to teach the "basics". You learn the rest on OJT. This being said, I believe there are "firefighter mills" out there just to take your money and give you a course that looks good on paper. There needs to be some sort of accoutability to these academys. I believe if they give out Pro Board or IFSAC certifications they are held to some kind of standards. All I can say is do your homework before picking an academy. Take care and stay safe.
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    Quote Originally Posted by THEFIRENUT
    A lot of it depends on what academy you go to.
    Can't say it any better than that. I know of academies that teach (up until this year) their own version of FF1 and have had FF's go through it and have never done ventilation, never used a power saw, never searched without a handline. I know of other academies that teach very good courses.

    Speaking for NJ, my opinion of a problem is the fact that to get certified as an instructor is not hard, maintaining that certification is even easier. But ask a bunch of instructors when the last time they took a "tactics" class is and you will find too many that will answer "Why? I've been doing this for years and nothing has changed." Bad (weak) instructors will make a bad course and lack of learning. I know where I teach, instructors are not paid at all and it is getting harder and harder to get guys willing to offer their time for free.
    "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 rewrote our recruit class. I started with a "canned" program from Demar, then took out the stuff that doesn't apply to my department (for example, I did not worry about teaching them how to raise a pole ladder as we don't have any), then added material from the last 5 years worth of LODD's and specific operations from my department.

    From my first class of rookies, I had 2 of them go on and take a state academy, both thought it was a breeze after taking my class.

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    I can't answer the question directly as yet, but EMTB training starts for me at 1900 hrs tonight. I am a qualified First Responder level 3 with 5 yrs line experience and St John's Ambulance Standard level and CPR Instructor, I hope to have my socks blown off.

    Time to go into "Student" mode and act like a sponge again. The learning never stops. And I am looking forward to the adventure.
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    Technically, the Academy isn't there to teach you everything. You get what you put into any class. If the academy does't teach vertical ventilation, does that give a recruit the excuse to not know.

    What's wrong with that recruit that he can't ask his training officer or anyone else from the department to cover it with him?

    The academy isn't the end all/be all. It's just there to give you a general knowledge and some basic techniques. As a firefighter/emt you'll continue to pick up different/newer ideas.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BLSboy
    This is partially taken from another thread, do you think (especially in Fire Academies) that the Recruits are learning what they will need to know in the "real" world? I know that I have had to "re-learn" some of what I was taught in EMT, and Firefighter 1/2. Some of what is taught is so......WEIRD, no other words for it, that it really makes you think. When you have to do OJT, its not good, especially when that can cost someone their life. Now, Im not trying to come off as some kind of know it all smart @ss 1 yr/20yr FF, but someone who thinks that the current curriculum needs to teach what you will use in the field, NOT what some paper-pusher thinks you need to know
    The corriculum is set up to teach you more of the basics. Schools can not prepare each FF for every job as every department operates in their own quirky way. This is where street smarts and life experience play a huge role in who is going to be able to adapt quickly and those that require a leash! If you learn and remember the basics your 1/4 of the way - after a few years of experience you are about 1/2 way educated. When you retire you are about 3/4 educated and if you mangage to become fully educated.... then your probably a politician

    You should never cost someone their life because: A) the basics you learnt are supposed to prevent you doing something stupid, B) you should be working with a team!

    As a provincial examiner for EMR's,EMT's I get to see a lot of these fresh faces - very easy to tell who is going to survive and who is going to the wolves - and education isnt the cause!
    my 2 cents
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    The Fire Academy should give the recruit the working knowledge of firefighting and fire behavior in order to keep him/her safe. That is the foundation on which to build on.

    There has been some controversy on these forums as to what should be taught to meet Firefighter 1 and 2, for example, a recruit from a predominantly rural FD having to know about hydrants or a probie from a large city neeeding to learn about drafting theory, etc.

    One of the things I am concerned about is training in propane fueled burn buildings. Sure, they use the smoke machines to simulate the lack of visibility, but the firefighter does not get the full effect of dealing with the down and dirty conditions that are found in the real world.

    Propane fire training does have a place.. when teaching about flammable gasses.

    Maybe I am spoiled by working at the Massachusetts Fire Academy, where we burn straw and pallets in the burn building ( we do have a propane fueled fire training trailer, I have not yet expereienced it yet), a flashover simulation unit and have an excellent gas fire program....
    ‎"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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    Quote Originally Posted by The1andOnly
    Technically, the Academy isn't there to teach you everything. You get what you put into any class. If the academy does't teach vertical ventilation, does that give a recruit the excuse to not know.

    What's wrong with that recruit that he can't ask his training officer or anyone else from the department to cover it with him?
    If the recruit is new to the fire service how is he/she supposed to know what is not being taught? How is he/she supposed to know that they need to know about ventilation? All this talk about personal responsibility is starting to be taken too far. Institutions DO have responsibilities to provide what they are tasked, and often paid, to do. This means that an Academy, and the instructors and administrators involved in it, are responsible to teach the students what they need to know.

    Ventailation is a basic fire ground task, how is it not going to be the Academy's responsibility to provide such basic knowledge and understanding?


    Quote Originally Posted by The1andOnly
    The academy isn't the end all/be all. It's just there to give you a general knowledge and some basic techniques. As a firefighter/emt you'll continue to pick up different/newer ideas.
    Of course it is not the end all be all, it is impossible to teach everything about the job in a controled environment, when everything is veriable in the fire rescue business. But the academy had better teach the basic building blocks of the job so that the company officers in the field can teach the rookies how to assemble those blocks to do the job.
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    Quote Originally Posted by grizzlytooth
    I think this all comes down to being a career fireman or a volunteer(paid on call or whatever else you call yourselves) If you're a volunteer I think good training is important because that will be on what you take with you to fire calls. As a career fireman, I found that what I learned in fire school didn't do anything for the real world. They taught me how to carry ladders and how to roll hose, but other than that it was all garbage. My favorite is the burn buildings where there is one localized fire down a clear concrete hallway. Get real, I wish fire was in one spot and just once I'd like to not be tripping over chairs, beds, tables, lamps to find the damn fire.Then having parts of the ceiling fall on top of me, and hoping to hell that I'm not crawling around somewhere I don't want to be. Not to mention getting electrocuted frequently. I always find it interesting after a fire is out to look at what the heck I was tripping over. Fire schools aren't practical at all, but your crew will teach you how it's really done. Unfortunately if you aren't a career firefighter you have only other volunteers to show you. I honestly don't care how many fires a volunteer has been to either, you don't have the skills we do. You just haven't had the guys with 20 to 30 years experience showing you how it is.
    Can you imagine going to your first fire with out that basic knowledge though? Or even crazier, can you imagine going to some of the lesser coordinated and intellegent rookie firefighter's first blazes, with out them have had even the basics of the job before getting on scene?

    I am a firm believer that you need the basics first so that you can learn from the experiances.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptainGonzo
    One of the things I am concerned about is training in propane fueled burn buildings. Sure, they use the smoke machines to simulate the lack of visibility, but the firefighter does not get the full effect of dealing with the down and dirty conditions that are found in the real world.
    This is all our local school has and can have due to free buning laws on the lakeshore of Wisconsin. So, it makes it hard to do anything else without the school buying expensive smoke scrubbers and the like.

    Maybe I am spoiled by working at the Massachusetts Fire Academy, where we burn straw and pallets in the burn building ( we do have a propane fueled fire training trailer, I have not yet expereienced it yet), a flashover simulation unit and have an excellent gas fire program....
    Then perhaps you are, I know that if you go inland further here in WI, those lovely free burning laws don't apply. Problem being, to get to the next closest school it's an 1:30hr drive, vs. a 20min drive to the one all of our Cadets currently go to.
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    The University of Illinois Fire Service Institute, FFII academy Kicked @ss they taught us the book way and real world way. We drilled and drilled and drilled until you could search, vent, advance lines, force entry, throw ladders, and anything else in your sleep. We had drills during the day and drills during the night. We also went off campus and burned down housed and used them for vent practice and forcible entry and overhaul. The bottom line is, when you leave IFSI Fire Academy you are a firefighter, a new firefighter but they teach you everything you need to know. I guess that is why they are one of the best fire schools in the country.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grizzlytooth
    for volunteers: sometimes you can get a burn permit for a vacant property scheduled for demo. don't burn the sucker down just yet. you want to practice fires in single rooms. a few secrets though. nobody goes in the house except the lighting tech. you can't see where rooms are, what's on fire, or what's in the way. put some furniture in there, close some doors, leave some chairs in the way. don't simulate the electrical part i told you about, it's not fun. that said, make sure there is no power to the house. not even whatever you guys call the guy in charge should see the inside. no looking for hydrants or talking about ANYTHING. you need to be as unprepared as possible and no pretending anything. once you put out that room, move the furniture and light up something else. when your done, get it fully involved and see how ineffective water can be when things get big. practice protecting exposures. another thing to practice before you light it up, or perhaps this is how you should light it up. Improper ventilation timing, try positive ventilation before you have control, see how timing is everything. too soon on the fan can make a really big fire.

    for your own health, please don't get cancer. i broke my own rule two days ago at a restaurant fire. always wear scba, always. i had an empty bottle, got it changed, fire was out, overhaul pretty much done, took the scba and put it back on the engine, just finished putting the supply line on the bed, a captain asked for me to come bring a pike pole and rip down some drywall. i never even thought of getting my scba. i went in there and was weezing with a cough for the next day. that stuff adds up when your busy. i knew better, don't do what i did. that is no campfire, you have drywall, paint, polyethylene in carpet, counter tops, cabinets, plastics, etc. i go to at least one fire per tour, do the math on that mistake in a year.

    call your local government, or council, tell them that you need real experience to protect the community. why wouldn't they want to give their firefighters that chance.


    as for ifsta and all the crap it teaches, you guys are right, you need to learn that stuff. remember that saying " you need to learn the rules, so you know when to break them" and god help you, i don't ever remember doing anything in my career by the book.
    Grizz.. I disagree about using "furniture" as part of live training...

    Do a search on "Lairdsville".... it's a real eye opener.
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    Unfortunately if you aren't a career firefighter you have only other volunteers to show you. I honestly don't care how many fires a volunteer has been to either, you don't have the skills we do. You just haven't had the guys with 20 to 30 years experience showing you how it is.
    Ok, I know its only February, but this gets my vote as the jackass comment of the year award.
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    Quote Originally Posted by grizzlytooth
    I think this all comes down to being a career fireman or a volunteer(paid on call or whatever else you call yourselves) If you're a volunteer I think good training is important because that will be on what you take with you to fire calls. As a career fireman, I found that what I learned in fire school didn't do anything for the real world. They taught me how to carry ladders and how to roll hose, but other than that it was all garbage. My favorite is the burn buildings where there is one localized fire down a clear concrete hallway. Get real, I wish fire was in one spot and just once I'd like to not be tripping over chairs, beds, tables, lamps to find the damn fire.Then having parts of the ceiling fall on top of me, and hoping to hell that I'm not crawling around somewhere I don't want to be. Not to mention getting electrocuted frequently. I always find it interesting after a fire is out to look at what the heck I was tripping over. Fire schools aren't practical at all, but your crew will teach you how it's really done. Unfortunately if you aren't a career firefighter you have only other volunteers to show you. I honestly don't care how many fires a volunteer has been to either, you don't have the skills we do. You just haven't had the guys with 20 to 30 years experience showing you how it is.
    It sounds like from your comments that "Career Firefighters" don't need to go to a fire academy because they don't teach you anything. "Volunteer Firefighters" don't need to go to a fire academy because they don't learn anything. What kind of crap is this?????????

    And by-the-way, don't you think that there are volunteers that have been around for 20 to 30 years?????? For your information, "Volunteer" doesn't mean unprofessional, it just means "Un-paid".

    On second thought, never mind......this sounds like TH.

    Please rethink your comments. Take care and stay safe!!
    Last edited by THEFIRENUT; 03-01-2006 at 06:13 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl
    Ok, I know its only February, but this gets my vote as the jackass comment of the year award.
    I might agree, but I think that this "guy" is just uninformed. I really hope this is the case. If he would just let us know why he thinks this way, maybe we could give "him" a little slack. If not, "he" will get my vote.
    Just someone trying to help! (And by the way....Thanks for YOUR help!)

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    Quote Originally Posted by grizzlytooth
    as for ifsta and all the crap it teaches, you guys are right, you need to learn that stuff. remember that saying " you need to learn the rules, so you know when to break them" and god help you, i don't ever remember doing anything in my career by the book.
    The more you spew, the more convinced I am that you are part of the problem. They talk about culture change, here it is folks.

    Is the Academy realistic? No. Does it give a new Firefighter a chance to manuver hose is a smokey enviroment with some heat? Sure does.

    Does it allow Instructors the chance to "safely" train Recruits? You bet.

    I agree that aquired structures are more realistic, but they are not always available. At least in a burn building, or smoke house, Firefighters are getting "time in the bottle" to practice their skills.

    I won't disagree that you learn from your crew. And learning to work with the same group of guys is important. Especially since you are putting your life in their hands.

    But to completely disregard the Academy training as unimportant. Bu11***** !!!

    And furthermore.....their are volunteers that will go to more fire in the years of service than some City Firefighters. So to say the the vollies are screwed because they don't have the experience......'fraid not.

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    Even though I am a "pure" volunteer, which means thats the only way I get to do this job, in defence of some of the folks I work with in my new station, and to my old chief back home:

    Grizzlytooth, I suggest that you may want to do a little research on some of your local volunteer depts and do a timeline check of some of the older guys. In my current station, a former chief was just recognized for 50 years of fire service, 45 of them with my station. 20 of those years were as Chief. Even though this person is no longer operational with us, he also drives the tanker for another vol station. When he is around I try to stick like glue to him because I recognize experience and knowlege when I see it.

    Yes, I am attending an EMTB course at the Academy, and YES at next opportunity I will be attending Fire School at that same academy. Even though I already have 5 years line experience as a volly and an additional 5 years with the Navy, I am eager to carry on the learning.

    I will agree to your point about crew cohesiveness. That is necessary in any high risk job. And that only comes with BOTH training and experience.
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    Quote Originally Posted by grizzlytooth
    for volunteers: sometimes you can get a burn permit for a vacant property scheduled for demo. don't burn the sucker down just yet. you want to practice fires in single rooms. a few secrets though. nobody goes in the house except the lighting tech. you can't see where rooms are, what's on fire, or what's in the way. put some furniture in there, close some doors, leave some chairs in the way. don't simulate the electrical part i told you about, it's not fun. that said, make sure there is no power to the house. not even whatever you guys call the guy in charge should see the inside. no looking for hydrants or talking about ANYTHING. you need to be as unprepared as possible and no pretending anything. once you put out that room, move the furniture and light up something else. when your done, get it fully involved and see how ineffective water can be when things get big. practice protecting exposures. another thing to practice before you light it up, or perhaps this is how you should light it up. Improper ventilation timing, try positive ventilation before you have control, see how timing is everything. too soon on the fan can make a really big fire.

    for your own health, please don't get cancer. i broke my own rule two days ago at a restaurant fire. always wear scba, always. i had an empty bottle, got it changed, fire was out, overhaul pretty much done, took the scba and put it back on the engine, just finished putting the supply line on the bed, a captain asked for me to come bring a pike pole and rip down some drywall. i never even thought of getting my scba. i went in there and was weezing with a cough for the next day. that stuff adds up when your busy. i knew better, don't do what i did. that is no campfire, you have drywall, paint, polyethylene in carpet, counter tops, cabinets, plastics, etc. i go to at least one fire per tour, do the math on that mistake in a year.

    call your local government, or council, tell them that you need real experience to protect the community. why wouldn't they want to give their firefighters that chance.


    as for ifsta and all the crap it teaches, you guys are right, you need to learn that stuff. remember that saying " you need to learn the rules, so you know when to break them" and god help you, i don't ever remember doing anything in my career by the book.

    We just brought a guy onto our dept. as a "probie"....he is a retired dep. chief from a LARGE dept. that has seen more than its share of sh*t!!!
    A few things he said about our little old vollie (paid on call) dept....

    the dedication we have, no matter what the call. From simple alarm calls to working incidents. He couldn't believe the number if people that show up, and sit around the station despite the fact they weren't going to be used.

    The speed in which we can get a truck on the road and responding...

    this is just two, so for all of you "Professional" guys, go and hit your local vollie dept. and see how long you can handle going out at midnight to an incident spend the next 5,6,7 hours there, then go to work at your real job. Or watch and see how much training we go through to keep up our (natinonally recognized) level 1 firefighter certs. (3 hours of ICS last night!!)

    Or the pride we have in showing off our stations and trucks...

    So until you have walked in our shoes don't criticize..

    And to sum it up for me....I wish I had the opportunity to be a full time firefighter. Because when I read about one them f*cking up and getting fired
    I can't believe they ruined something that many vollies wished they had the chance to do. (I know vollies f*ck up to)
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    Grizzly does bring up a good point. There is a difference betweeen volunteers and career guys.

    I'm sorry but Vollies/POC's just don't get the same amount of practice that career guys get. I'm not taking anything away from a 25yr veteran of a Volly/POC department. He should have a vast amount of knowledge, he's been there for 25 years.

    At the same time, I know 20 yr veteran's of a Volly department and while he knows a good amount, most people still consider him to be an idiot. Honestly, I agree with him. Sure he gets the job done, but there's alot of little mistakes that THANKFULLY have never caused any major problems.

    The thing is that you have idiots as career guys and as vollys. Statistically speaking though, a career guy should outshine most POCs.

    And for the record, I'm a POC. When I'm lucky enough to be around career guys, I try to pick up as many good pointers. The stuff that I think is garbage, I evaluate it and then decied if I want it to go in one ear and out the other.

    Anyways...back to the academy talk...

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    Quote Originally Posted by The1andOnly
    Anyways...back to the academy talk...
    Most worth while part of the post....
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    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

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    I know 3 guys that are paid FF's in other areas of the state and volunteer down near me. They have all seen more fire as vols then they have as paid. That being said, they get experience on both sides and pass that experience on to both sides.

    Still not sure why paid/vol even got into a discussion of recruits getting necessary training...
    "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?

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by DennisTheMenace
    Most worth while part of the post....
    Agreed!

    One of the more positives that I learned in the academy, was an entire day of "Saving our Own - hands on".

    No where in Essentials 4 will you find this chapter. We practiced the Denver Drill, not sure of the name but the drill where a firefighter is down one floor below. You toss that firefighter a rope, have him secure himself with a handcuff knot and you pull him up through the floor.

    We also practiced getting a downed/unconscience firefighter up a flight of stairs (that was a workout)!
    Last edited by The1andOnly; 03-01-2006 at 12:38 PM.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by grizzlytooth
    I think this all comes down to being a career fireman or a volunteer(paid on call or whatever else you call yourselves) If you're a volunteer I think good training is important because that will be on what you take with you to fire calls. As a career fireman, I found that what I learned in fire school didn't do anything for the real world. They taught me how to carry ladders and how to roll hose, but other than that it was all garbage. My favorite is the burn buildings where there is one localized fire down a clear concrete hallway. Get real, I wish fire was in one spot and just once I'd like to not be tripping over chairs, beds, tables, lamps to find the damn fire.Then having parts of the ceiling fall on top of me, and hoping to hell that I'm not crawling around somewhere I don't want to be. Not to mention getting electrocuted frequently. I always find it interesting after a fire is out to look at what the heck I was tripping over. Fire schools aren't practical at all, but your crew will teach you how it's really done. Unfortunately if you aren't a career firefighter you have only other volunteers to show you. I honestly don't care how many fires a volunteer has been to either, you don't have the skills we do. You just haven't had the guys with 20 to 30 years experience showing you how it is.
    The fire academy's job is to teach you the basics you need to do the job. Of course you won't get all of the real world nonsense you will see like the Collier's mansion's or other such amazing ways people live. But the basics of how to attack a fire are important tools to have. rolling hose and carrying ladders while not glamorous are part of the job. I amazed at veterans that can't do the simple standpipe pack that we do on my career FD.

    If you are getting electrocuted frequently stay the hell away from me if we ever end up on the same FD. I have 28 years in and I have NEVER been even shocked at a structure fire. Are you a walking ground wire or what?

    Of course OJT fills in the gaps from the academy to much of the real world. What would you have FD's do? Eliminate the academy and put guys right on the rigs? I suppose how to use SCBA and how to hook to a hydrant and how to operate the jaws would just come by osmosis...

    I will guarantee you that some of the vollies that I know would just shake their headsa at the nonsense you have spewed here. I know fo volly FD's that run tons more actual working fires that my career FD.

    As a fire instructor I find your whole thought process scary to say the least.

    FyredUp

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