At the risk of getting blasted... I'm looking for qualifications or requirements to be a volunteer fire chief in New York state. I know some of it is up to the individual fire department. What I'm looking for (and I've been searching through NYS municipal law and the OFPC as well as other state specific sources to no avail, is information on what is required, by law, to be a volunteer fire chief.
Several members of my department had a slightly spirited discussion on the topic and while no one got up to see what was required in our local by-laws, a few firefighters INSISTED that there were state requirements that need to be met.
For the life of me, I haven't found them anywhere and thought going here might shed some light for me, or at least point me in the right direction to find an answer.

Thanks for your input. Be safe.

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So, in reading all of this, I shouldn't even be on the fire ground if I haven't taken FFI, II, or any other advanced level class in firefighting. I shouldn't have any "authority" as an officer of any kind, not even accountability or a public information officer (inspite of my ten years as a journalist) and I should just draw up a letter of resignation and quit now..... Dunno how you could expect to draw in volunteer firefighters if you expect them to have so much training and experience before taking on any kind of a role above "gopher."

I'm not trying to be the next chief of my department, just trying to figure out my options (if any it seems) as far as advancing with the skills and experience I have and what I could do to be a better firefighter in my community. Take pump ops and EVOC and be a driver? Continue on the course I've been on as a line officer in my company and an accountability officer on scenes? Quit?

I've seen a LOT of chiefs in my time that aren't qualified to lead a kindergarten class across a busy street, let alone firefighters at a structure fire and they have a stack of certificates from practically every course offered in the fire service. Effective leadership isn't just about how many tests you've taken, how many burning houses you've been inside of. I just don't understand why a guy who spends more time complaining about how everyone keeps asking him to do "menial" tasks on the fireground is somehow more qualified to be an officer than I will ever be because he managed to get himself through FF1 after attempting it three times when I chose not to take the class based on what I may or may not be able to handle physically. The more I think through all of this the more I want to sign up for Firefighter I just to see how physically demanding it really is. I've heard horror stories but I've seen overweight slobs that smoke and drink and eat pizza all the time done an SCBA and walk into the fray. Frankly, I cringe at the thought of having to pull some of those out of a fire, someone three times my weight, and THAT's why I decided NOT to go through the class. I didn't want to make someone else rely on 5'4" me to pull them out when the shit hit the fan. There's a reason why everyone in the department calls me Yoda, it's not because I'm green and can make rocks float across the room.

Dunno. Reading the responses here and it sounds like you shouldn't be a member of a volunteer fire department unless you're an experienced triathlon runner or veteran marine. Or at least, you should ever expect to be anything other than a hose roller.

I shouldn't have any "authority" as an officer of any kind, not even accountability or a public information officer (inspite of my ten years as a journalist) and I should just draw up a letter of resignation and quit now

I would say that is a bit of a reach and quite the jump to conclusions based off some comments made here. There are many people in a Public Information role who are civilian members of the dept and have no other fireground certifications. A PIO's job is not the same as the IC of the scene. Accountability, in most cases, is not an officer role, but a position that basically anyone can perform. Accountability and PIO are supplemental spots for the IC and typically do not involve strategic nor tactical decisions.

 

Dunno how you could expect to draw in volunteer firefighters if you expect them to have so much training and experience before taking on any kind of a role above "gopher."

 

And there lies one of the bigger obstacles facing the survival of many volunteer depts. The issue is that the fire service has changed and has been and continues to evolve. You rarely see depts operating as single entities and have become to rely more and more on assistance from other depts. The reasoning is because of changes to the fire service and with that comes education, training, and certs.

 

I've seen a LOT of chiefs in my time that aren't qualified to lead a kindergarten class across a busy street, let alone firefighters at a structure fire and they have a stack of certificates from practically every course offered in the fire service. Effective leadership isn't just about how many tests you've taken, how many burning houses you've been inside of.

 

I would agree with you here. I for one am firmly against the voting for officers concept and I do not hold the rank of someone voted into a role in the same regard as one who has worked their way up the ranks. That is my opinion, but I do agree that effective leadership does not come from certifications, education, or just experience alone. I DO believe effective leadership does come from a good combination of all and part of that is knowing the role of each position on the dept on the way to more responsibility.

 

I just don't understand why a guy who spends more time complaining about how everyone keeps asking him to do "menial" tasks on the fireground is somehow more qualified to be an officer than I will ever be because he managed to get himself through FF1 after attempting it three times when I chose not to take the class based on what I may or may not be able to handle physically

 

Not knowing this person or having any insight to the dept particulars, I disagree with such an attitude he may present, however, in regards to FF1, it may have taken him 3 times to get it, but he did get it. Persistence? Maybe, but he didn't give up either, you admit to choosing not to take it in the first place based off personal limitations.

 

The more I think through all of this the more I want to sign up for Firefighter I just to see how physically demanding it really is

 

IMO, I never thought FF1 was that physically demanding because the key factor is team work. Sure there can be some challenges here and there, but the job is more about technique and persistence than just brute force. However, if looking to take the course just to see how physically demanding it is, I don't see that showing any better leadership aspects either.

 

Frankly, I cringe at the thought of having to pull some of those out of a fire, someone three times my weight, and THAT's why I decided NOT to go through the class. I didn't want to make someone else rely on 5'4" me to pull them out when the shit hit the fan

 

Meanwhile, throughout the fire service there are people who may not have the physical stature of being able to pull someone out of a fire. The key aspect though comes down to technique and teamwork once again. Realistically, even some very fit people would have a tough time pulling someone out of a fire and this rhetoric of "they wouldn't be able to pull me out" is antiquated. No they or you may not be able to pull someone of a larger stature out by yourself, but you should have the where with all to call for help. There is a reason it is called a RIT (TEAM) or RIC (CREW), there is a reason you go in as a team and so forth.

 

Dunno. Reading the responses here and it sounds like you shouldn't be a member of a volunteer fire department unless you're an experienced triathlon runner or veteran marine. Or at least, you should ever expect to be anything other than a hose roller

 

Once again, you are jumping to conclusions. It seems to me, given the limited responses, that you have come to some foregone conclusion that you don't think you can physically hack the job aspects required to be a certified FF1. While doing so you show me nothing more that brings your stock up to be considered as a fire officer material either. You seem to show that excuses are OK and you gripe against the reasoning that states across the country have looked at adoption of higher training standards to be FFs.

I'm not really understanding what you are looking for here. You do seem to have a chip on your shoulder concerning the fire service. Why are you even interested? You originally asked about qualifications for being a chief. Then you state that you don't even have basic firefighter certification? Do you worry that your size will be a problem? I assure you that will not prevent you from becoming a great firefighter (officer, chief, etc.) Knowledge and technique and training are what makes for success. If a firefighter should need to be "pulled out" from a situation, it will definitely take a team effort. Pointing out the shortcomings in others does not somehow elevate you. If you want to truly be a supervisor in the fire service, you will have to earn it. And yes, it will require time inside burning structures, There are no shortcuts and "fake it til you make it" does not work here. An individual with no training or experience hasn't earned and doesn't deserve to be anything much more than a gopher.

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