I’ve been a Volunteer 1.5 yrs I just got my FF1. Some on my department think FF1 is a waste of time, But done the class I think the rest of the department should make time to do FF1 class It is worth the time, in VT it is 147hr long with a practical and written exam. They think if your ears get hot back up, Old school, back woods, do what works. My K4 Asst. Chief 2 yrs on the department (He was voted as K4) he has seen 1 "type 5 structure fire" and it was out before he got out of the truck.
If at a fire sene if it is just K4, me, and 2 others (Do I listen to him? I would not feel safe knowing he dose not have the experience to command a fire sene.)
Do I listen to his command?

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"Ive been a Volunteer 1.5 yrs I just got my FF1 some think it is a wast of time"

Im going to play the devils advocate now. Yes you took the class, but I assure you there isn't any material in FF1 that is a waste of time. As far as taking orders, the only time you refuse to take an order is when it is Immediately dangerous to your life and health. (go read that placard on that truck with the greenish yellow cloud coming from it) Instead of worrying about the chiefs lack of training, (trust me on this I have been here before) get some more time under your belt and take EVERY class thats out there, no matter how much of a "waste" you seem to think it is. Theres a hell of a lot more into firefighting than just putting water on fire, and a lot more than 1.5 years experience will provide you. Perhaps your just upset that you have ff1 and he doesn't so you should be the next asst chief?
I am also a volunteer fire fighter for 5 yrs. And I am assistant chief. That is because there are only 2 of us who are senior to all the other volunteers. At one time we were down to only 4 in the dept. Now we are up to 16. Most of us are going to a FF1 class in October for a weekend anhd then again in November for a full weekend. There will be 9 of us who will be FF! Plus two others who belong to a regular fire dept who have alot more certifications. Most of our fires are grass fires. Have only seen 1 structure fire since I have been out here. I think everyone should do the FF1 class. We are also going to do a Wildfire class after the firest of the year. Be safe and if you do not feel safe doing something dont do it.
I have FF1 that makes me safer, Think and react safely hopefully without putting the team in danger, to be a thinking fire fighter. To move apparatus correctly by rope or other means. I do not have the experience to be Asst. Chief I just want to trust the decision of my Asst. Chief. I'm looking forward to FF2, EMT-B, and wildland fire 1.

Thanks for your input.
Sorry I fixed it
K1 is Chief after that, K2. 2nd in command Asst. Chief and K3 and K4 are 3rd and 4th Asst. chiefs. In NH, and VT thats how Chiefs respond on the radio.

Type 1 (Fire resistive) construction.
Type 2 (Noncombustible or limited combustible) construction.
Type 3 (Ordinary) Brick construction.
Type 4 (Heavy timber) construction.
Type 5 (Wood frame) construction.
NO CLASS is a waste of time! and just because you have a class does not mean it makes you a safer firefighter it is how you perform on the fire ground that judges wether you are safe. If you take the classes and don't follow what you are taught after you get that certificate then it does not make anyone safe. I knew an officer that was firefighter I certified but when he got to a call all you heard him say was "wait an see" or "let me ask some one" when he got under pressure he could not give an order. long story short if you do not apply what you learn at the classes not only are you not safe but niether are the people around you.
Welcome to the world or rural firefighting. Unfortunately, many volunteer departments operate just as you described your's. Think back to your basic entry level classes or academy, what was the first thing they stressed right off the bat? Safety first. And that would start with your own personal safety. If receive an order from your commander that you don't have faith in, think about his directive and weigh it against what you know from your training. If it isn't safe for you, the crew or bystanders, then of course, don't do it. If you think of a better plan, suggest it in a nonthreatening way. Like say "Hey, I agree our goal is to do to such and such, (extrication in the quickest manner, ventilate that house, get a handle on a certain flank of the vegetation fire, whatever) but what do you think about doing (fill in the blank) because it'll help in this way and may save time/resources... As an Incident Commander, there are tons of things going through your head and sometimes you just don't think of the best plan on your own. Now if he's one of those know it all types that is unapproachable, then maybe you can go with his leadership/game plan but you can tweek it a bit when you get back to your crew or during the process while working with the crew. Just as long as you don't single him out as an idiot, that you're thinking he is at the time. lol
If the officers in your department seem to get promotions or respect like it was a popularity contest then don't feel alone. Does your dept have any Standard Operating Procedures or SOGs? Without having them in writing and without the backing of a fire board, or whoever is above your officers, you don't have much ground to stand on because it opens up everything to personal interpretation.
Without going on and on about my own personal war stories, I'd like to share a bit of a success story with you. Last June I was promoted to Fire Chief of my local volunteer department. I live in rural eastern oregon where it is VERY conservative, women don't belong to men's groups. They're homemakers or if they do work they can work for the school district or be secretaries. Really, no kidding. I'm from Southern California and it's about 20 ahead of this place and the mentality is very liberal. So I wasn't accepted by many when I offered to volunteer. I instantly made Training Officer since I was the ONLY one on the department with any formal training, I was a FF1 in CA. But I still met lots of resentment including from my Chief who felt threatened even though he's the one who asked me to be TO. Sometimes I felt like throwing in the towel and giving up on the nay sayers but there was always that small pocket of private citizens who wanted better fire service and who had lost faith in the current staff.
I'd suggest just setting the example and be consistant as possible. If you're fighting fire, put the proper PPE on, even when it's seems like overkill. Continue your training even when you don't get reimbursed for it. Others will watch you and will either raz you for being so anal about safety or will tuck your modeling in the back of their minds and think "Hey, maybe I ought to wear my gear just in case."
I have almost 20 years in the fire service and 9 with Helix Fire. That meant 9 years of banging my head against the wall, having a Chief tear me down behind my back and having a board that didn't want change because we've done it this way for 20+ years, why change? You and I both know our fires aren't the same as they were even 10 years ago. Slowly, as positions came open on my board, others filled them. I talked to people I'd like to see on the board when I knew openings were available. Call it a bit of behind the scenes recruiting but it plants the seed and gives good people something to chew on. Change is slow but change can happen. I still have one member of my fire board that I'd like to kick to the curb. He's old school, been on for 27 years and is a know it all, but the others see right through him and aren't afraid to question his motives. (Life is good.) lol
In the past nine years, I've envolved myself in trainings from other departments. They understood about how Helix ran and offered a helping hand to me when I couldn't get it at home. Keep training, get involved in becoming a trainer possibly for other depts or training associations. Keep in the loop. Doors will open. If you're involved in training with your department or you're an officer that over sees volunteers the National Fire Academy offers free training of many different classes all expenses paid except for meals which will run about $125 for the week. You can go to http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/nfa/resident/vip/index.shtm and look up courses through the Volunteer Incentive Program.
So you see, change can happen beginning with you but you have to persevere and be a role model, even when it's not the most popular. Good luck and keep me posted with things.
~Michele
I can not tell you not to listen to your command but as a person with 10+ years experience both military and civilian firefighting, you should respect the rank but if it is an unsafe situation do not do it. You have to think of you and your team and their saftey, then the objective at hand. Every state is diffrent and standards change all the time. IFSAC set courses up for a reason and I have evrything up to fire officer 1 and alot of technical classes and all the NIMS and I have learned something in every class I have taken. So if the know all there is about firefighting and life saftey and anything that can save time property and life then no they do not need FF1 and up. I have only know one perfect person and he does not even live on this earth.
Right ON. We need to talk more.

Thanks.
Thanks for your input. How was it in the military Firefighting was it D.O.D Fire fighting?
You know where to find me. I'm around on a regular basis usually. Ask away and I"ll help however I can. Best of luck! Michele
That use to be the old way " when your ears get hot you need to back out ". Times are changing in the fire service. You need to do whats safe on the fire ground. Use that ole GUT FEELING. I am not saying dont listen to your commander but if you dont feel safe then dont do it. Just because he is the Incident commander doesnt mean that he knows everything. I was once in your shoes so I know how you feel. Hey! They didnt use to use airpacks or SCBA'S in the old days either. They use to to hankerchifs dipped in water to cover there mouth. I think everyone should have to go through FF1 & 2 even a rookie school if possible. Just use your head and get all the training that you can when available and one day partner you will be his Commander! Stay safe and I hope that what I have told you helps! Firefighter/ EMT Brian " Hoss " Richardson Dickson Tennessee

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