A volunteer with the Strathmerton CFA (http://www.cfa.vic.gov.au/) has become a Captain at 24 years of age.

 

Full article at: http://www.cfaconnect.net.au/news/captain-at-24.html

 

I'm not sure how the rank structure compares to the US, but here, he is the Captain of the local volunteer brigade, and would be supported by a number of Lieutenants.

 

 

At 24 is it too young?

 

Does he have enough experiene in both life and the emergency services?

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Ringold,

I think you both missed the point, and proved it.

You missed the point by failing to get that, while there may indeed be a (rare) individual who, despite his young age, possesses maturity beyond his age, generally speaking a person in their early 20's typically lacks life and fire experience. But even IF that person had considerable fire experience it still does not mean that such a person has the ability to be a leader. Recognizing THAT is a sign of maturity.

You proved the point by taking to task people whom you believe to have been bashing "...young captains like my self(sic)..." Rather than acknowledge that they may indeed have a point, you see it as "...bashing them or being so upset because it took you longer to get there than them or that they have achieved something that would make you there subordinate on a fire ground." What you see is people generalizing that you (and other young ff's) lack maturity and experience to be a captain, and then you generalize that the reason is because THEY are upset because they lack the ability to promote or they have to be subordinate to a younger person. (I'm sure that Ben Waller has a phrase for this kind of arguing, Ben?)

"Also I don't care if some just got past the rookie stage if they are more qualified training wise than the rest and they have showed that they will bust their a. S. S. I say promote. Them."

If "...some just got past the rookie stage..." exactly how much experience (and ability) do you really think that person has attained? Your reasoning here is exactly the reason many think being a captain in your late teens or early twenties is (or could be) a bad thing. And how exactly WOULD someone just out of their 'rookie stage' be "...more qualified training wise...? So you think ONLY training is important and experience is NOT? And really, who cares how much a person busts ass? It may show that person to be motivated and dedicated but it doesn't speak to that person's training, experience OR maturity.

Taking apart the argument (based on the replies given) there would appear to be 4 parts to leadership:
Maturity
Experience
Training
Motivation
Somehow, you seem to think only the latter 2 are relevant. This is why I said you prove the point. At best, a person meeting the latter 2 qualifications is at best, only 50% prepared to lead (assuming all 4 are weighted equally.)

Finally, you fall back on the old saw that this is a 'brotherhood.' I always see this kind of logic as one where, regardless of the issue, everyone should keep their mouth shut, nod their heads in agreement and move on. That's not a brotherhood, that's a mutual admiration society.
Mark i agree completely
Deputy Chief and Fire Chief

approximately 18 members

Out of six captains


Please tell me that these 3 ranks plus firefighter are the only ones you have.

8 officers for 10 firefighters?

I better stop now.
The way our department works is Fire Chief, Deputy Cheif, Captain, Firefighter Operator. We run and Engine and rescue. According to Civil Service any unit we run must have a Captain on board. Thats the reason for 3 more captains. Engine has a Captain, and two Firefighter/Operators, The Rescue has one Firefighter/Operator and a Captain
I do believe that my post requires some clarification. I am not intending to say that to be a captain you only need training and motivation and I do realise that there is more to it than that. And am I not correct in saying that in a low volume call environment training is experience and from experience I have never seen some one mature faster than when they had no choice "some choose greatness others have greatness thrust appon them" Tedy Roosevelt. Also I don't believe that simply because this is a brotherhood that we shouldn't raise any questions but instead of questioning whether some that young has the ability to lead look at the facts, who has the the training on his department to promote insted of him if no one the he has won there, who has more experience along with the correct training to promote if no one then he has won there, and a volunteer's motivation should never be in question, as far as maturity goes that's an issue that all of us have and age can not define a persons maturity everyone is different, maturity comes from experience, experience comes from time and knowledge, knowledge comes from training, and motivation comes from within.
He did just that, he proved the point dead on and I feel we do not need to add anything further to this discussion. SOME young firefighters just do not have enough experience in both the fires AND the political meeting end of the spectrum as well, letting some things get them defensive when it shouldnt. If this happens in a meeting with fire commisioners or a public meeting with the mayor and 100 residents...It could give the fire service yet ANOTHER black eye for our reputation.
To be an officer you need a cool head, you need to be able to think rationaly and fairly, and above all you need to be able to take constructive criticismm or you will never improve your ability as an officer.
My best advice to you ringold, and please take it as advice and not a bash, is keep your eyes and ears open, listen to things and think it through before making any reaction. Some of the best traits of an officer is being able to listen, and take criticism and turn it around to make improvements. Good luck to you as officer, I wish you the best.
Thank you Jones for the true advice and please realise that I do not mean to say all of you on this post are "bashing" for sir you are not, but rather I am addressing those one here that seem to belive that 21 or even 24 is to young to be promoted to captain IN ANY CASE. Again thank you for your post for it was truly constructive.
True, for the most part. However, most line officers do not have to deal with the "external" politics that much.

I will never be a chief, because I don't have the ability or desire to deal with politicians. Especially the ones who forget who their employers are. That's a whole 'nother discussion.

But yes, if a line officer is required to deal with politicians, then that is another aspect to whether or not they are able to fill that role. IMHO, I think that one is pretty low on the totem pole though.
Ringold,

I think you may be confusing training for experience. A probie who has completed his TRAINING now has to learn to put it into action to gain EXPERIENCE.

Granted that there are older firefighters, with or without much training or experience, and who may or may not be particularly mature but...experience has taught ME that in most cases, it is the younger person who lacks the greater training, experience and maturity.

And let's not forget wisdom; the culmination of training, experience (fire and life) and maturity.
One might have the training, experience and maybe even the maturity to be a leader, but do they have the wisdom? And is a 21 year old wise?

Another way to look at it; the firefighter is the bullet, training is the gunpowder, experience is the gun and maturity is hitting what you aim for.
Wisdom is knowing when to pull the trigger.
Wow, Jack the philosopher. Wonder if I can find a good Youtube vid for that?

Nicely stated, I think I might steal that.
I know that I probably would be best to keep quite about this bash against young captains like my self but I guess that's just not who I am. First this is a brotherhood. You should be congratulating you brothers on there success not bashing them....
Unless you're reading a different topic, I haven't seen anyone bashing anyone.

However I do think the whole debate about experience vs qualifications vs time in service is debate that has to be had and can have some good discussion points and learnings.

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