what do all of you fine firefighters out there think of this system? I am not going to mention any specific names so we will call it station "bravo". officers are ranked based on old friendships, and solely upon how your known. credentials and certifications have nothing to do with weather or not you are an officer. your thoughts and views upon this? i have heard several FFs that hold many certifications are not officers, while training officers, and captains hold no CERTS beyond your basic nims. 

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need job description and SOP's defining what each officers position will have to have in certifications.  As a chief at my department says John Wayne don't fight fire here anymore.  Meaning the good ole boy system is not going to work in today's fire department organization.  Grants and funding is calling more on certifications and training.  AFG won't even consider your app if you don't have the proper amount of people certified.   

We have discussed this issue many times. If you are looking for change you will need to bring the issue to whoever has the final decision making authority.

Volunteer fire departments are organized in so many different ways, that there is no one solution that will fit all. The department I belong to is a municipal fire department. The town board of trustees has the responsibility of overseeing the fire department, just like the police department. Changes like your discussing are made at that level.

In our county there are 14 departments, 4 municipal, 7 county and 3 incorporated. The county appoints the board of directors to oversee their departments, while the incorporated ones have a board selected by the members of the incorporated area. The bottom line is change comes from the highest level. Every department that is having this issue needs to address their concerns to their board. Show them the liabilities that they are accepting by letting this practice continue.

There no issue to them until something goes wrong, then they will have to take a hard look into the day to day operations. Hopefully it won’t be while looking at a lawsuit. For us the easiest thing to do is complain about a problem, while doing nothing to correct it.

If you decide to facilitate change, be prepared to outline your plan of action. (Do some research!!) Make sure it is something within reason and backed up by national standards. Go into this with the, “I just want change” and someone else can figure out what that is, will get you nowhere.

I know “we have always done it this way and it works fine”. Do you want to be the one saying that to the next generation of volunteers? We as a group need to take the hard road and address the problem. The down side is you won’t make many friends in the process.

Just my thoughts, and it worked in our situation, but maybe not in yours.

My department has a bunch of By-Laws and SOPs for people that can run for specific positions such as Captain, Lt., etc.


But still, politics play a pivotal role in whom gets elected to these positions. Someone DOES have to be in for a certain duration of time; but many people already have that. Then the same people get voted in time and time again, despite firefighting skills, knowledge, certifications, etc.


We can only blame our members for such actions and a lack of professionalism in this aspect. We should be voting for who is best to fit a specific position - this IS safety and lives on the line here, people.


The funniest part is that around election time (our elections are sometime this week) the people running become extra friendly with everyone. They're seen socializing with more people than normal and trying to show off. Once elections are done, it's back to the same way as before, until the next elections come. I had a Lt. offer me food last year in turn for his vote.


Now I just stay out of politics in the FD. I do what I have to do - make trainings, help with fundraisers and make my runs. That's it. We need a certain amount of departmental meetings to vote - I undercut it so ensure I cannot vote. The voting gets too personal, and I'd rather not have to fight with someone because I didn't vote for them.

I think it is a solid system and more should be done to encourage such a system. Everyone knows friendships are more solid than certifications, I mean you know the people and you wouldn't put your "friend" in harms way. Whereas anyone can teach a class and hand out certs, but it takes a real friend to know and understand what your friend should need to know and what should be trained on.


And besides, with most systems, the comeraderie is much tighter, especially when you can go to the firehall and have some drinks after the call or a training. If you are an outsider and want in, it helps to jump in and assimilate into such a group.





Crabbe are you running around being naughty again ;-)



... you are being just plain silly if you think you have to wait until AFTER the calls for drinking - a proper good ole boy system knows that drinking is for ANYTIME...

as a girl... the ole boy system sucks...


just sayin...


 I agree!  After all, if the 'majority' elect someone to be their officer, clearly their collective wisdom far exceeds any amount of (or need for) training, experience and ability.  Let's not forget, social clubs are best lead by charismatic, hail-fellow-well-met type individuals.  Someone who expects a membership to be concentrating on training and skill sets just sucks all the fun out of the club.

If you dont step up to change it, your just as guilty !!! Making the "RIGHT" decision isnt always the most "POPULAR" decision !!!! I know....easier said than done !!! Take your time, and do it right, but get it done !!!!

Well, A.C. Tyson,


The one thing I bet you never get accused of is being overly humble.

I'm laughing so hard I may have peed a little.

Nope, that was just coffee that dribbled while I was laughing.

Modesty becomes him.

There ae three options under your scenario:

1)  Accept it for what it is and live with it.

2)  Move for change and be aware that the fall out during that period can get brutally ugly and can lst a LONG time.  I do agree with what someone else here said and that is if you move for change have specifics on what you think needs changing and a plan on how to effect change.

3)  Go elsewhere.  A hard decision but sometimes those in command are so deeply entrenched that change is impossible at that time and beating your head against the wall gets monotonous and painful after a while.


Number 4, although not really an option for change but critical for change to occur is to set standards for promotion and stick to them.  The promotion of unqualified people into leadership positions has crippled, held back, and in fact destroyed many volunteer/POC FDs.

Well SAID! Don......

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