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  1. #1
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    Default Certs and qualifications?

    Little background: I recently became Training Lieutenant at a 50 member combination department (paid chief, everyone else volunteer). We have 4 levels of membership: Rookie, Support, Firefighter 1 and Firefighter 2. These are department only levels, and are NOT based upon state certifications. In Colorado firefighters are not required to be state certified. Firefighter 1s can become SCBA certified for exterior operations only. Firefighter 2s are SCBA qualified for interior operations. It was decided last year that anyone who wishes to become a firefighter 2 must become state certified as a firefighter 1. Recently our fire training center got more strict in terms of following NFPA 1401. As a result all members participating in live fire exercises must show proficiency in firefighting skills (hose, ladders, ropes, etc. as outlined in 1401). We did grandfather 2 firefighter 2s who were currently department ranked as firefighter 2s, but those firefighter 1s who had been in the burn building previously are now excluded from interior firefighting. There has been some pushback from members who had previously gone into the burn building and the chief is not a proponent of anything NFPA has to say. As training officer I have the liability if something should go wrong during training (as lairdsville and others have shown us) and I am unwilling to budge on the issue. The Chief is concerned that as a volunteer organization expecting our members to go through the time to take the Firefighter 1 class is unreasonable. I feel it's unreasonable to send people who haven't proven the skills in a firefighter 1 class into a burning structure (either in training or on an actual incident). I've been asked to consider other options for getting members trained on the required skills without having to go through the whole academy. That may include having them complete the job performance requirements that are given as the test to the firefighter 1 academy or possibly other options. My concern is that unqualified members are going to memorize all the JPRs without the actual skills to complete the tasks on an actual incident. Are any other departments going through this? How do you qualify firefighters for interior operations?

    Sorry about the length of this post, any input helps!


  2. #2
    Forum Member Bones42's Avatar
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    How do you qualify firefighters for interior operations?
    Within 1 year of joining, all firefighters must pass the NJ State Firefighter Level I. Only members that don't have to do that are Fire Police, and they have their own courses/certifications that they must do in their first year.

    At the end of that first year, if you have not passed the courses, you are dropped from the membership.

    IMO, I'd rather have a lower number of well trained members than a larger number of untrained members.
    "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?

  3. #3
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    While I agree with you, the chief is concerned that this is an unreasonable expectation of volunteer members. We only run about 130 calls a year, so staffing stations doesn't make sense and you never know who's going to show up... what if everyone who is FF1 certified is unavailable? That's the Chiefs argument, that we need more people capable to go interior. I don't disagree, I just want a higher standard for allowing them to do so.

  4. #4
    MembersZone Subscriber SWLAFireDawg's Avatar
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    My dept is only about 30 members strong, and some of those will never see the inside of a burning building by they're choice. We are pushing the NFPA 1403 standard now as well, but with one difference. The local emergency training center will allow uncertified individuals to participate in live burns as long as the dept chief and the individual sign a waiver. The chief is basicly stating that the individual has the skills and training necessary to operate safely in a live burn environment.

    Now I have been told this practice may be discontinued......and we are all being pushed hard to complete the 1403 at a minimum, which will then allow us to work fires doing exterior operations only. Exceptions have been made for those of us with training and experience with other municipal or industrial departments, but not many. But we do lots of things backwards as best I can tell from the short time I have been on......we usually train new members to drive and pump before they get to work fires. But everybody gets to rack hose!!!!!!!!
    Last edited by SWLAFireDawg; 01-25-2007 at 11:44 AM. Reason: Typo

  5. #5
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    We have a township-wide requirement that all new members complete the 166-hour PA essentials program (PA uses Delmar now, instead of IFSTA) within their first two years of membership. For those not familiar with the program, the 4 modules that make up the 166 hours cover all the material tested in FF-I & FF-II certifications, along with HazMat Awareness level, and culminates with a live burn day at the end of module 4.

    Exceptions are made for juniors (who can't, by law, take module 4 before they turn 18) and for those recruited specifically into support or driver/operator roles. They have a different set of requirements, including some of the Delmar modules and other training. However, they also forefeit SCBA and interior privledges by taking this route (unless they later complete the Delmar program and their burn).

    I would like to see a requirement that recruits also challenge and pass the FF-I and FF-II tests after completing the Delmar program, but we currently do not have that requirement. Personally, I'm pushing the five guys we currently have in the program to challenge at least the FF-I when they finish, and I think they will...what's another 8 or 10 hours after you've invested 166 hours, really?

    I also agree with Bones...

    I'd rather have a lower number of well trained members than a larger number of untrained members.
    ...but I'd make that "well-trained and active" members. They need to be around enough to know what's going on, too...not just occassionally come out of the woodwork for the "big ones." To cover that, we have a 20% of calls and drills requirement to maintain active status. Last year,that meant that every active member needed to make about 56 individual calls and/or drills during the year to keep their gear. Only 1 out of 21 failed to do that.

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    Thumbs up FF I in Florida

    Here in Florida, it is a state requirement for "interior" FF to have a state FF I cert. Our chief is hold our members feet to the fire. We just had 10 member graduate FF I along with 3 junior members. While the juniors cannot get their certificate until 18, they can and will support interior FF operations under strict supervision and strict limits.

    We are encouraging all our FF members to become FF II certified. This eliminates questioning by other departments whether our personnel are properly trained or not.

    Just my $.02

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    I know that Florida and several other states require every firefighter to be certified but Colorado doesn't... I wish they DID because it's a lot easier to hold everyone to the same standard when it's mandated!

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    Bob Snyder,

    I courious, the new Delmar module 4 with live burn, does that meet the requirements for the 16 hour "structural burn session" that is required to be submitted with the PA FF1 application?

    Also, are you enthuastic about the 32 hour class titled FF1 review? I personally found it to be very helpful but I took the old 88 hour essentials class and I do not think that it alone (the old essentials class) is enough to get a person thru the FF1 challange test.

    Just looking for your opinion.

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    MembersZone Subscriber Halligan84's Avatar
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    I think you'd be amazed at what your members will accept and embrace if the leadership presents it correctly. For years I have heard that training requirements are killing the volunteers. We hold high standards and keep pushing in a positive manner and don't lose people. There is a certain amount of pride involved with knowing you are well trained and perform well on the fireground.

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    MembersZone Subscriber dday05's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Firetacoma1;762169, The Chief is concerned that as a volunteer organization expecting our members to go through the time to take the Firefighter 1 class is unreasonable. I feel it's unreasonable to send people who haven't proven the skills in a firefighter 1 class into a burning structure (either in training or on an actual incident).

    I've been asked to consider other options for getting members trained on the required skills without having to go through the whole academy. That may include having them complete the job performance requirements that are given as the test to the firefighter 1 academy or possibly other options. My concern is that unqualified members are going to memorize all the JPRs without the actual skills to complete the tasks on an actual incident. Are any other departments going through this? How do you qualify firefighters for interior operations?

    Sorry about the length of this post, any input helps![/QUOTE]

    Is it hard for the chief and the officers to keep track of your firefighters and make sure they don't do stuff their not allowed to do?
    Last edited by dday05; 01-26-2007 at 08:30 PM.

  11. #11
    MembersZone Subscriber dday05's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=Firetacoma1;762169, The Chief is concerned that as a volunteer organization expecting our members to go through the time to take the Firefighter 1 class is unreasonable. I feel it's unreasonable to send people who haven't proven the skills in a firefighter 1 class into a burning structure (either in training or on an actual incident).

    I've been asked to consider other options for getting members trained on the required skills without having to go through the whole academy. That may include having them complete the job performance requirements that are given as the test to the firefighter 1 academy or possibly other options. My concern is that unqualified members are going to memorize all the JPRs without the actual skills to complete the tasks on an actual incident. Are any other departments going through this? How do you qualify firefighters for interior operations?

    Sorry about the length of this post, any input helps![/QUOTE]

    I think a way to consider other options for members to get trained should consist of them taking the class and if they don't want to then see you later.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by dday05 View Post
    I think a way to consider other options for members to get trained should consist of them taking the class and if they don't want to then see you later.
    We are able to keep track of what people are allowed to do, but then they bitch and whine that they USED to be allowed to do things that they no longer can.

    If I had my way, it would be EMT and FF-1 within or year or thanks but no thanks... but the chief feels we'd lose everyone. I can see his point though... we are an all paged department (130 calls a year, doesn't make sense to staff) and we don't allow members who live outside of the district (with a few exceptions, myself included).

  13. #13
    MembersZone Subscriber SWLAFireDawg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Firetacoma1 View Post
    We are able to keep track of what people are allowed to do, but then they bitch and whine that they USED to be allowed to do things that they no longer can.

    If I had my way, it would be EMT and FF-1 within or year or thanks but no thanks... but the chief feels we'd lose everyone. I can see his point though... we are an all paged department (130 calls a year, doesn't make sense to staff) and we don't allow members who live outside of the district (with a few exceptions, myself included).
    We are expected to be FF1 certified, but no real time frame is given since the chief can't seem to get a class together.

    We get EMT:First Responder as minimum medical training, mainly since we get mostly MVA and Medical calls......working house fires are rare.

    We let peole learn on auto fires if they are already fully involved and most of the hazards have already exploded or flew off. Otherwise, there are only aout 5 of us who are crazy enough to actually try to extinguish them.

  14. #14
    Forum Member ndvfdff33's Avatar
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    As ashamed as I am too admit it my old dept still runs on you join you go fight fire. The training you get is while your inside a house puttin out a fire with a crusty old timer. I'd say it will take somebody seriously getting injured or worse yet die too make them realize they have too train them. We do have quite a few FF1 Trained members but not nearly as many as there should be
    If someone with multiple personalities threatens to kill himself, is it considered a hostage situation?

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    Quote Originally Posted by thomas15
    I courious, the new Delmar module 4 with live burn, does that meet the requirements for the 16 hour "structural burn session" that is required to be submitted with the PA FF1 application?
    I believe this falls under the same special case as they had for the old program...you could use a structural burn which was run as the "integrated exercise" at the end of an old Essentials program as long as you were taking the FF-I test at the same site as you took the Essentials. I tried to look this up on the OSFC site, but some of the documentation is currently down for revision. I'll post a correction if I find out something else to the contrary.

    Quote Originally Posted by thomas15
    Also, are you enthuastic about the 32 hour class titled FF1 review? I personally found it to be very helpful but I took the old 88 hour essentials class and I do not think that it alone (the old essentials class) is enough to get a person thru the FF1 challange test.
    My FF-I cert predates the "review" class, so I never took it myself. I've seen candidates come through the tests (I'm a FF-I test Evaluator) since they've been offering the review program, and it seems to help them, particularly with the practicals. As for the old Essentials as a review, I actually took that program twice - once to meet a departmental requirement, and once a couple years later to review for the FF-I test. I don't think it was a bad review, but it certainly wasn't as focused on the testing as I'm led to believe the review classes are today. That said, I think these two programs serve two different purposes...the (old) Essentials and the (new) Delmar take the place of "the academy" for new volunteers, while the skills review is a test prep class to sharpen things up for FF-I. I'd like to see all my guys do all three: Delmar, then the skills review, then challenge the FF-I test. Whether or not I can make that happen is still an open question, but I think I can get most of them to do it without too much prodding.

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