Experience or no experience between first and second level firefighter training?

Many people I know go from basic skills of the NJ Firefighter 1 to the advanced techniques of NJ Firefighter 2 one after the other with no experience bewtween classes to fine tune their basic skills learned in NJ Firefighter 1. So, experience or no experience? What do you think, what's the best way to do it?

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Experience is always good, but how long do you wait for a volunteer at a low turnout station to get that experience? In an ideal world there should be a consolidation period between courses to allow for that experience to be gathered, I.E there must be 12 months between courses.

The other side of the argument is that any training is better than no training.

The question I would be asking is someone who has done the NJ Firefighter 2 course more likely to come home safely at the end of their shift?

An interesting discussion ........... I am interested to see what those who have done the courses think.

Stay safe
I am interested as well. Hopefully I get some responses.
Many people I know go from basic skills of the NJ Firefighter 1 to the advanced techniques of NJ Firefighter 2 one after the other with no experience bewtween classes to fine tune their basic skills learned in NJ Firefighter 1. So, experience or no experience? What do you think, what's the best way to do it?

Not sure what the standards are in NJ, but here in WI, I do not consider FF 2 "advanced" techniques by any stretch, it is just a different set of learning. For instance FF 1 should focus on ladder raises and carries, hose advancement, fire suppression, knots, PPE, etc. All very important, and basic, but then FF 2 focuses on HAZMAT recognition, extrication, propane/compressed gas fires, etc......to me which is still very basic stuff.

I see no problem with doing FF1 and FF2 back to back and why not? Why would one really need "experience" before following up a simple cert, it doesn't happen in bigger cities where they do their own academy, so why should there be a difference later?

The only issues with doing something back to back is the time committment involved. In a volly setting, this may be difficult for an individual to do, but I certainly see FF 2 as very basic skills and not advanced in any way. FF 2 is just a different skill set than FF 1. In all actuality what is a more common scene for one to come across, a structure fire where FF 1 skills are needed or a MVA where FF 2 skills are needed?

The nice thing about breaking up the skill sets is so that the student isn't overwhelmed by the diversity of the skills. It helps to concentrate of PPE, ladder carries, raises, etc and get that down without having to worry how to use the DOT guide book or extrication at the same time. Get one set of skills down before concentrating on the next set, but there is no reason not to do them back to back.
Bryan, it should be a Dept SOP that all new firefighters have at least 1-2 years experience in the field before advancing. Do the Firefighter 1's get to drive right out of school ?? Do they have to run so many hot runs with an officer do they have to take command a certain amount of times before getting off probation ?? and what about Medical runs ?? what is your Depts SOP for that ?? I dont know theres alot of things that should be in place. I know when Im working shift that I have at least some experience with me because of our SOP's, probies can't enter a structure unless its overhaul only, can not drive HOT, all Level 1 firefighters are on probation until they have completed a whole gammit of duties.. but when they do ? there ready !! I do agree with John's comment though because you should be able to have FF 1 & 2 but gain that experience in the field, and with seasoned firefighters..
it should be a Dept SOP that all new firefighters have at least 1-2 years experience in the field before advancing.

Why should there be experience before advancing? The FF 1 and 2 are basic skill sets. Other certs like Fire Officer, etc should be after some experience but not basic skills.

Do the Firefighter 1's get to drive right out of school ?

Driver/Operator is another skill set which should be obtained before one can drive. Having FF1 means nothing to drive, one should be certified D/O before they are able to drive. Now this may mean that there has to some experience and can be a cert worked on later, however, there are some tech schools in WI, where one graduates with FF1,2 D/O, EMT, and even HAZMAT Tech. Such folks hold the certs so it is possible they could be new and be driving, however, this doesn't mean they are necessarily ready and it is up to the dept to do training.

Do they have to run so many hot runs with an officer do they have to take command a certain amount of times before getting off probation ?

Why would someone have to take command so many times before getting off probabtion? A new FF shouldn't have to be thrown into a command role, not that it is a bad idea, but there should learn to be a good follower and understand the job before attempting to be a leader.

what about Medical runs ?

Another cert all together. One can be a First Responder with limited training or an EMT.
FF1 and FF2 are nice to have courses and are the foundation of a firefighters "Book" education. When they are taken is up to the individual, and the amount of time that person wants to dedicate to the "book" way to do firefighting task.

Don't put to much stock in the pieces of paper. Training is important, and I encourage everyone to take classes, but it is not a competition. I've seen many people who have paper certs out the wahoo but are USELESS on a fire ground. Experience, drilling, observation and reading the trades, will help round out the basic information taught in those early classes. You will quickly learn that the" book" way doesn't work in all situations and adaptation is required. Experience and common sense will save your ass more than the things taught in FF1 or FF2.

Stay Safe and keep training
Here in MA FF 1 & 2 are a combined course so there is no worrying about that here.

Like John said they are the basic skill sets one needs to be a firefighter. Whether it be throwing ladders or extrication. No experience should be needed to go from one to the other. Because while you are waiting to gain that experience for the skills you learned in FF 1, theres a very high possibility that you are going to be missing calls where the skills in FF 2 are needed and then your at square one again and just sitting on the side line (unless you do in house training and are allowed to perform such tasks). It just turns into a hinderance.

If you dont do in house training and cant perform those FF 2 tasks it comes down to what calls can I go to what calls cant I. Then with this your adding a load of pressure and more for an officer to think about when running calls along with the other guys on your crew. They have enough to worry about running these calls they cant be worrying whether or not your gunna be trained for whatever they show up on scene for.

For example you get called to a car fire. Your FF 1 trained and can attack fire so you go all geared up ready to be on the pipe, but on scene you find you need to cut a person from the car in a car accident (we all know how different a call can be from dispatch to arrival) now what do you do. Stand there and look pretty in your gear. Yes you can get equipment but if you dont know how it works now the firefighters that have to go to work have to not only set up and start the equipment but also do all the work.

My thought is take the courses back to back if possible get the skill sets down then worry about everything else.
In Colorado you have to have ff1 including hazmat ops for 1 year before you can get ff2. I don't agree with it, becasue like John said they are still basic skills. As for D/O certs I think they are important, but not always practical for some small rural FD's where you never know who is going to show up. What happens when a vollie dept requires D/O to drive, then a call drops four or five guys show up and none have the cert, do they just sit at the station and go oh well I guess we'll wait on the next one. Now I'm not saying that an inexperienced or probationary member should drive or pump a rig, and that is where experience comes in with the more veteren members stepping up.

TCSS
I'm with John C on this (no surprise). NFAP 1001 sets for the minimum standards for paid and vol. firefighters, which is FFI/II. Any candidate who has gone through a paid department's academy finishes with FFII, clearly the MINIMUM training. After which the probie learns through OJT. Granted that a paid probie will get a hell of a lot more training once on the job, from the other experienced guys. So it only makes sense that any vollie is trained THROUGH FFII.

There is no good reason (and to me makes no sense) to make a person wait a certain period of time between FFI and FFII, other than there being no available FFII class. To presume that someone needs experience before taking FFII suggests that FFII is come kind of Holy Grail. Not. Training through FFII is (and needs to be) THE minimum standard for a firefighter.

For those that rail against book learnin', FFI and II sets the *probie* up with the basic skills, it's how they are then honed and added to that ensures they become skilled firefighters. But then, there are still departments out there that think that a couple hours of familiarization with SCBA is more than enough to throw them into the fire.
At least around here FF2 is the minimum to get on a career department and almost all of them do their training straight through. So, if the career dept is happy to get a FF2 rookie with no actual experience I see no reason that in a volunteer department that someone be made to wait to do FF2. If anything they should be getting people FF2 trained as fast as possible.

Now, there probably should be some reasonable period of time between FF2 and engineer or officer training.
Your training programs regardless of where they are taught, should be taught and overseen by knowledgeable and experienced individuals who should be able to gauge the competency of those in the training. Time in itself is not an adequate marker of experience and setting an arbitrary number for runs isn't either, as we all know that we can fudge numbers or stretch a call to fit a criteria.

The transition from FF1 to FF2 is what it is... a training program, and as such, has a balance of classroom, practical hands on experience, and some practical application test of competency. It's not intended to be the end all be all of your training, rather be a foundation for continued training and the base of operations to keep you thinking and acting in a safe manner.

Of those that get hurt after FF2, if you do some digging, it's not that they didn't have enough experience between the certs, it's that they disregarded what they were taught and practiced.
So many variables.
Are they 21, with little experience, or are they 45, with little experience?
People generally absorb new information a bit easier when they're younger.

One year making calls on your department may be entirely different from a year on mine.

The interactions a new firefighter has with members of his department can make all the difference.
Some are more willing to mentor than others.

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