Are There Standards For Training For Fire Personnel Who Are Re-Entering The Fire Suppression Service

Can fire service personnel who have been out of fire suppression for over 28 years be put back in the fire suppression service fighting fires with only 2 weeks of training, which was watching videos???? Can anyone tell me if there are standards for training for fire service personnel re-entering the fire service????

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My initial response would be that an individual re-entering the fire service after such a lengthy period should be classified as a rookie by any department and brought into operations carefully. Two weeks is a start, but not enough to make an individual knowledgeable enough to even set foot on the fire ground.

Wishing him or her the best of luck.

I agree with Norm, and that someone with that time disparity in fire suppression should be considered and treated as a rookie. This would also mean that they would go through the same training and meet the same standards as required by the AHJ. For some this may mean obtaining FF certs, for others can be just as basic as you may have encountered. 

In Wisconsin, one would have to meet the entry-level FF certification in order to volunteer. This is something that is considered the bare minimum from the state and is more involved than watching videos. However, there are places that have really no standards and use the "take what you can get" approach when it comes to standards (IE there may be no standards).


So in the end, it really depends upon the state and the dept that one is looking to serve with. My personal opinion is I am leery of any dept that doesn't have established standards in place and doesn't involve a training program. I am also leery in regards to past training of 28 years ago, but would be willing to see what the applicant knows and what they can do before accepting past knowledge. The thing is that one may still have certs obtained when they were active that may still be applicable, so to me, it does depend on if those certs could even be honored. Either way, if I were in charge, they would be treated as a new person and expected to complete a training program as any other new recruit.

The person has worked in the Fire Prevention Bureau as an Inspector for last 28 years of their 30 years of service with their department. They only worked in the fire suspression division a little over a year before sustaining a serious leg injury on the firegrounds at a restaurant/lounge fire and upon being cleared to return to work they were re-assigned to the fire prevention division. They have now been re-assigned to the fire suspression division at the rank of firefighter; with little to no re-training.

Your initial post made it sound as though someone was in the fire service 28 years ago and now wants to come back in. It now seems the person in question was a member of the dept, but is now being transferred from division.


To me, that is a whole different ballgame since the person should not have to be treated as a recruit, nor go through a recruit type of training, I would bet their initial training still suffices, despite having been out of the suppression division for some time.


In all that time in the Prevention division, did the individual advance in rank at all? If so, does that rank reflect among divisions? IE, keep say a Lt rank? How are promotions done in the dept? What is the reason for this transition? Was this budgetary...IE eliminating the prevention position the member held? Was this for other reasons? Trying to get some perspective, no need to air dirty laundry if there is some.


Our dept did have a similar type of situation not too long ago. A member of the Prevention Division chose to go back to the Suppression Division. All our Prevention (Fire Marshall) positions are officer rank. (3 Lts and a Capt). It is the choice of a member in such staff positions to go back to the suppression division at their seniority position. Since we use a straight seniority based system for promotion, the spot the person vacated to take a promotion may have moved during their tenure.


In this case the individual also had a medical issue and took a promotion into the Prevention division. He went in as a firefighter into a Lt position. During his tenure he advanced to the captain rank within the prevention division and was in the division for over 10 years. He chose to come back to the suppression division (his choice), but his seniority would put him at a Lt position in the suppression division (he passed over the Engineer rank while in prevention). As such in order for him to serve as a Lt he had to do a 90 day "internship" where he learned the job before being allowed to serve in the capacity. This is per our contract.


There was a similar time when the dept did its own dispatching and those in the Dispatch division were all rank positions as well. The division was dissolved due to budget cuts and those personnel were sent back to the suppression division in the seniority rank they would have held if they stayed in the suppression division. There was no "intern" period or special training period, despite many of these guys being out of the suppression division for years. Their training did consist of more on the job training etc.



So to answer the question, it does vary again by how a dept sets things up. If a person has been a member of the same dept (different divisions) and has been a sworn member of the same dept during their tenure, then I don't see why such a person would have to go through any special training.


I don't believe there are any standards that defines such cases, it really is a dept decision. This isn't a stranger to the dept, this is still someone who worked on the dept, just in a different division, they shouldn't have to meet any special standards. Would they have to meet any special standards if they maintained their position in the suppression division throughout their tenure? I would think a dept would have the member work as an extra member of a crew for a time period, just to become familiar with policy and procedure again, but shouldn't have to meet any special standards or go through any special training.

Like John said I was picturing an individual who had been out of the service for 28 years. Still, that's a long time to be out of operations. I would agree that his initial training should be good for something, but I would suggest a probationary period of at least 90 days or some similar observation period. Otherwise it's just too risky.

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