I want to know what everyone thinks on the subject of Line Officers. Now in my department our safety officer isn't a line officer. He's just a member that doesn't have really anything to do except make a little safety speech in our once a month meeting. What do you think? Do you think that the safety officer should be considered a line officer? What does your department have, and what does your safety officer have as far as duties? Also we dont have a training captain. Our LT's do the training but the problem with that is we never know what kind of training we are going to have because they never tell us till the night of training. Most of the time we dont even have training because they are never prepared. Now I came up with a list of line officers but the problem I have is trying to get the department to go for it. My opinion doesn't matter is the way I feel. Now this is what I came up with:
Now we only have 1 building. We aren't like other departments where we have sub-stations, but I feel that the Safety Capt and the training Capt should be lines officers and should be in a captains position because of the important role they play in the fire service. Help me out and give me your opinions on this subject please.
A SAFETY OFFICER SHOULD BE JUST THAT! HE SHOULD BE ON THE FIREGROUNDS DOING A 360; LOOKING FOR POSSIBLE ROOF; WALL; BUILDING COLAPSE AND HAZARDS SUCH AS LIVE WIRES; GAS; UTILITYS;ETC AND ANY ONSAFE ACTS BY FF. HE SHOULD BE AN EXPERINCED FF WHO KNOWS THE DANGERS OF THE BUSINESS. THE TRAINING OFFICER CAN BE SOMEONE WHO WILL SET UP A PROGRAM THAT WILL BENIFIT THE SERVICES YOUR DEPT OFFERS. HE CAN HAVE OTHERS INSTRUCT CLASSES BUT HE SHOULD SET UP THE PROGRAM......I HOPE THIS IS A HELP TO YOU. BOB BARLETT FIRE/RESCUE CAPTAIN LEWISTOWN FIRE DEPT LEWISTOWN;PA
our safety officer also handles the training mainly because it all becomes part of one big issue... and that is getting the job done safely. They have done away with the Lt. positions here, for reasons i dont really understand but i guess thats not important
On my previous Department, I was a training officer. Because it was a volunteer department, it was a huge task to undertake. In my free time I would have to devise trainings and go through the proper procedures to insure that it was appropriate for all levels. In taking the position, you sign on for these duties. We used to page out the training the day of training because no one would show up if we didn't do it that way...it seemed to slip their mind otherwise. However, there was one man that didn't like the mystery of what training was going to be, so we started releasing a monthly training schedule. Though it didnt seem to matter as no one really looked at it. But it did make a few people happy. Being a training officer, or Lt. in charge of training, is a very time consuming position. A lot of free time is taken up with preparation for training and research. If you are a volunteer company, then you might consider volunteering to help the lt.s set up a schedule, or assist in setting up training. Often times too, I think training officers forget that they dont have to instruct at every training, they just have to set it up. Any senior member should be able to offer some knowledge and participation in the trainings.
As far as the safety officer, their job is to make sure that the firefighters are safe. If they are pulling hose, or making entry in a building, then they can not see what is going on. Their job is to be present as much as possible in all areas of the fireground. Making sure that people are making wise decisions and following the protocols. A safety officer needs to be well educated in all aspects of the fire ground in order to carry out these tasks. Therefore, he/she, should be involved in as many trainings as possible. The more they can understand what is going on the better they can help alleviate problems.
Well here is what I think a Safety Officer and a Training Officer should be responsible for:
SAFETY CAPTAIN - THE SAFETY CAPTAIN SHALL HAVE THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE REVIEW AND MONITORING OF THE DEPARTMENT TRAINING PROGRAM FOR POTENTIAL SAFETY CONCERNS, AS WELL AS ASSISTING THE CHIEF ON EMERGENCY SCENES BY ASSURING THAT ALL TASKS ARE CONDUCTED IN A SAFE MANNER. THE SAFETY OFFICER WILL ASSIST THE CHIEF WRITING AND UPDATING JOB SAFETY ANALYSIS FOR EACH OF THE DEFINED DEPARTMENT TASKS AS RESOURCES PERMIT. THE SAFETY CAPTAIN WILL SERVE AT
THE PLEASURE OF THE CHIEF.
THE TRAINING CAPTAIN SHALL HAVE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE PLANNING AND
MANAGEMENT OF THE COMPANY TRAINING. HE/SHE WILL PREPARE AND SUBMIT A YEARLY TRAINING SCHEDULE EACH JANUARY. HE/SHE WILL ASSIST THE MEMBERSHIP IN SCHEDULING INDIVIDUAL TRAINING AS NEEDED ON AN INDIVIDUAL BASIS. HE/SHE WILL BE CHARGED WITH THE RESPONSIBILITY OF ADMINISTERING AND CO-ORDINATION OF THE NORTH CAROLINA STATE FIREMAN CERTIFICATION PROGRAM. THE TRAINING CAPTAIN WILL
SERVE AT THE PLEASURE OF THE CHIEF. IN ADDITION THE TRAINING CAPTAIN IS
RESPONSIBLE FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF THE JUNIOR FIREMAN PROGRAM.
I think both of these positions are very important positions and should be considered line officers positions. Now I had some discussion with a few people in the live chat area and they never really answered the question. Should these 2 positions be considered line officer positions? I know they had some concerns as far as the safety officer being able to fight fire, pull hoses, etc at the same time he/she was doing their job. I think if the safety officer was doing his job correctly he could do both while still insuring the safety of the fire scene. If the safety officer wasn't helping in pulling hoses he might not see that they were doing something wrong. Maybe it had something to do with the way they pulled it or where they pulled it to. But I dont think that the safety officer should go into a structure to help, but I do think he needs to help others as well as his duties. Once he helps pull the hose safely, he can move to a different area. maybe to where firefighters are setting up a ladder. Help them set up the ladder to ensure they are positioning it in the right area. You dont want them to set up a ladder next to a power line that hasn't been turned off, or a power line that is going to break or fall. This could also be considered trainging. he is training these firefighter on what to look for and how to do things properly. Again do you think these positions should be considered line officer positions?
ARRRRRRRRRRRGH! Just a safety speach once a month...WTF? I have trouble considering a SO as a line officer because the responsibility is so broad. It's not just the incident you're looking at it's the health aspect too. Throw in some infection control and other OSHA stuff and the safety speach is way on the back burner. Make him/her a Captain for chain of command, it never hurts to say "because I told you to do it" and have the bars to back you up. Historically staff officers have never held much sway outside the office so line isn't bad.
Now I have to chuckle at the posts, because they all speak to me directly. Yes, we are all chicken Littles as SOs. But, Chicken Little only has to be right once, right? Get an experienced person that people have some respect for and let theem grow the position. You can still reel them in if they get out too far, but give the training to smeone else.
In my paying job, I am the Director of Risk Management/Loss Prevention. Safety is one of my areas of responsibility. Safety is NOT as simple as a monthly speech. It is integrating components to the jobs that allows the person to do their work safely, then developing, facilitating and implementing policies and procedures that strengthens an existing culture or creating a new one. In my company, there is no one higher on the chain than me. The president/CEO answers to ME where it comes to matters of safety. If he violated a safety rule and I didn't challenge him on it, he would FIRE me! So, if I instruct those farther down the chain of command to do something, would it appear that I have the backing of upper management? Because ultimately, who is responsible for safety? The correct answer is EVERYONE.
A safety officer is a facilitator. He is the eyes and ears. He is the cultural conscience. And he is the disciplinarian if safety rules are violated.
Yeah; there should be a safety officer that HELPS, but the responsibility should lay with everyone.
If safety has never been a key consideration on your department, then you will struggle until it becomes abundantly clear to everyone that it is to be taken seriously. And that can't happen without a support network.
There are safety officer associations in the fire service. Look there first.
There are professional safety organizations also. I get some great info from them that carries over from my chosen profession to the volunteer fire department that I serve on.
In any event, don't take it lightly.
Lives are at stake.
Especially in a situation of being a volunteer fire department, the safety officer shouldn't necessarily be 1 designated person for your department. Plain and simple, its volunteer which means they may not be guaranteed to be on scene as you would see at some paid departments. The saftey officer should be designated at EACH scene to ensure you have proper protective measures for every call that happens in your distrct. (aka no need to make them a captain) A training officer reguardless of rank is only as good as the time and effort they put into the training they are giving. I dont see how a training officer being called a captain on the fireground is deemed necessary. The rank and file of your officers in the department should be determined by the amount of calls, the amount of members, the amount of training, and NOT about who is popular, or willing to be a "yes man"
Safety Officer should fall under your 2nd Lieutenant, and the reason why I say that is that the safety officer isn't a line officer, Its a member that is appointed by the chief to the posiiton. In some areas the safety officer has to go to school before becoming the safety officer. His jop is to keep everyone our of harms way on the fire grounds etc., unless they know what they our looking for they our things to keep him or her busy at any call.
In my old Vollie house this is houw we did it granted we were only one station but we had 2 engines 1 squad and 1 truck and about 60 members.
Each Line officer was assigned a training nite for the company (we did company wide training once a month) they had to get there topic to the training officer (2nd asst. chief) a month in advance.
My take on officers is if you arent going to give them any athourity then why have them? If the safety officer has no rank and no power to correct operational problems on the safety level then get ride of that position and have on of your other line officer absorb that duty.
Your opinion does matter just make sure you voice it the right way. If you make them think that it is there idea that seems to work. Don't worry about who gets credit for the right thing just that the right thing gets done.