Been on my Fire Dept for 5 years now. We are a Small Town Volunteer Department, we average 20 calls a year, 50% of them being medical assist with the local ambulance the rest being run of the mill fender benders, grass fires and not savable structures. We dont get paid per call and our pat on the back is literally a steak dinner and a t-shirt every year. I`m happy with that.
What scares me is I`m 27 years old, currently the new Assistant Chief/Training Officer and highest trained individual on our department because I completed a FF1 & 2 = Hazmat Awareness and Passed the state test. Granted this is on paper and there are guys with experiance on my department that training cant trump till I gain the experiance. I have a desire to learn, eat, sleep and breath anything to do with the fire department. I even get pumped to go to the ICS classes no one wants to attend. I realize not everyone can have that same desire and isnt less effective if they don't.
We do not train very often (1-3 times a year) and we havent had a real savable structure/rescue since I joined. I dont know what my guys can do and they should feel the same about me. Reason being is even if its possible to know everything thing there is to know about our job they or I don't know eachother skill level because we havent needed them or tested them in training. I lack the confidence in knowing my fellow FFs are equipped to perform safely and effecvtivly and they dont seem to desire to know this about myself or 5 other newer FFs on our department.
I thought having the position would be easy to get others motivated. Last night I got really scared. I brought up the thought of training 1 time at least, and picking a set day and time. Some feedback I heard was "What do we have to train on that much?" "This will never happen" "We are already busy enough meeting for business 1 time a month" "Whats wrong with the way we have been training?"
Currently we are sitting with 5-6 Guys Under the age of 35. 5 Guys between 35-50 and all the rest (12) are over 50. And almost no one to fill a spot let alone the potential spots that could be left open by guys who are thinking of retirering. So we can just say "Train or Leave" Expecially when majority rules and I`m in the minority.
We haven't been taxed buy a serious indecent, and I`m afraid someone is going to get hurt or even die. It isn't always going to be a cake walk and I'm looking for any advice I can get. I don't want to turn a blind eye or wait for fate to reveal itself. I`m sick to my stomach and don't know what to do.
We are not going to re-ignite the certification battle here. I am still a HUGE ADVOCATE of requiring at least FF1 Certification in order to be a member of the fire department.
But further, I don't get what your point is other than a shot at certification. Of course in house training would be on the equipment the FD owns and uses on a regular basis. Just as you would train on your normal operations as defined in your SOP's.
The training I am running right now in both of my POC FDs is basic skills, SCBA confidence, hose advancement, water movement and relays, both city and rural, extication, forcible entry, ventilation and more. If we don't get, and remain, proficient in the basic skills the rest doesn't matter.
I don't want to get into that debate again, either. We have had it on the other site, and you and I are never going to agree on that.
That being said, it sounds like this poster's department are some pretty big steps away from worrying about certification. It sounds to me like his biggest concern is simple basic competency on the everyday skills his department needs to routinely perform, which is exactly why I suggested that he performs a skills inventory, so that he can identify the basic skills he needs to focus on first.
This would obviously include water supply, fire behavior, building construction, basic hose deployment and handling, fire streams, SCBA, ventilation and basic forcible entry all leading to the ability to perform, at a minumum, basic interior search and fire attack once he feels confident that they have a handle on the above skills and are ready to move in that direction.
It sounds like they need a lot of work on the basics. Certification is a while away.
As far as your training, I am working on the same type of stuff with my VFD along with the training officer. Something as simple as taking the top half of the hose load and your shoulder rather than dropping the whole bundle on the ground right under the crosslay and always having a tool in your hand entering a structure has taken me awhile to ingrain into their heads. We have been doing a lot of work in SCBA, including a couple of very productive and physical search and mayday/self-rescue classes this month. Next month we are focusing on 1 1/2" operations and transisting from initial deck gun-to-handline attack operations, as well as a couple of live burn sessions at the local LSU FETI facility. Several just completed a 1403 class, and successfully tested a couple of weeks ago.
At the same time the members without HM Ops are taking that class on a different night that should be compeleted in 2 weeks.
Where in Louisiana do you live. When I was at River Bend Station in St. Francisville I was an adjunct Instr. at LSU. They offer a great number of courses there. Take full advantage of them.
It sounds like your doing just fine. keep plugging.
I work full-time in Bossier Parish, just east of Bossier City, and volunteer in Webster Parish, which is just east of there.
Unfortunatly, the LSU FETI facility in Baton Rouge is about 5 hours south, so I don't get down there very much. We do have a satellitte facilty only minutes away located on Camp Minden (which my career combo department covers) which has a small part of the training capbilities of the BR facility. My combo department has a pretty extensive training facility w/ a large burn building, a tower, and three flammable gas props, so we are pretty self-contained.
My VFD has none of that so we do use the limited capabilities of the LSU facility right next door.
I am curerently in the process of becoming an LSU Subject Matter Expert Instructor.