Shane Ray's "Rethinking Volunteer Firefighter Certification" article will make some waves...

The new superintendant of the South Carolina Fire Academy asks some tough question and offers some creative solutions to the problem of volunteer firefighter certification and just what that should mean.

 

Here's the article: http://www.firefighternation.com/article/training-0/rethinking-volu...

 

It is thought-provoking, to say the least.  What do you guys think?

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All of those positions that you have mentioned, on other departments, have in fact went through the same training as the interior guys. Firefighter is not a title it is a job whether you are getting paid for it or not. 

To answer a previous post yes I WOULD in fact like 10 interior firefighters over 10 interior firefighters and 8 lawn ornaments. 

The 10 that are interior trained can be divided up into other roles such as your OVM, Water supply, Incident Command, Rehab, etc. What can the 8 do exactly? Stand around and kick rocks?

Driving a semi truck on the interstate and driving a fire apparatus are two VERY Different things. The lights and siren make for a stressful situation, dodging traffic and the hypersensitive sense of awareness that you have to have while operating an emergency vehicle tax the body way more than a CDL truck driver would EVER encounter on his worst day. 

Get with the program or get out of the program Callahan. People depend on you down there. 

Obviously you have a minimal understanding of fireground operations if you consider folks that can throw ladders, perform ventilation, perform forcible entry, utilize exterior hose streams, establish water supplies and make exterior breeches in walls for rapid intervention operations among other things  "lawn ornaments".

 

Maybe you need tyo step into the rural world to see how an effective fireground is run.

 

And honestly, the folks that have been or are truck drivers seem to make our best engine and tanker drivers.

 

Actually our program which intergrates the skills and abilities of a diverse group of members works pretty damn well.

And obviously you have little to no understanding of the fire service at all sir. 

I am on a rural fire department. I am not typing to exercise my fingers, I do have first hand knowledge of this. 

I understand that msot rural VFDs are short on interior personnel.

 

That was the case when i was in NY. When I was in VT. And now here in LA.

 

I also understand that 75% of the tasks involved in firefighting are exterior and do not require the use of an SCBA.  

 

The concept that somehow somebody has to be interior-qualified and know how to use or wish to function in an SCBA to be a member of a fire department when 75% or more of the work on the fireground does not involve an SCBA simply makes no sense to me.

 

Then factor in EMS, vehicle extrication ice/water rescue, search operations and wildland ops where an SCBA isn't required at all and the concept that somebody must be SCBA certified to be a functional responder makes even less sense.

 

If you can recruit enough interior personel to be require interior-certification to safely fight fire in your rural community, it's good to be you and have at it. Even if that's the case, the idea that you wouldn't want extra manpower in the way of extyerior members baffles me, but hey, it's your world, not mine.

 

I know in my volunteer parish, as well as most of the other parishes in northern LA, VFDs live and die with esterior personnel, and they simply could not function without them.

That is not accurate.  Bob has demonstrated a pretty good understanding of the fire service.

 

Your first hand knowledge is apparently not as broad as Bob's.  Just because someone does it differently doesn't mean that their knowledges is lacking.

Another current FFN thread on the topic of Accountability has at least two responses where the posters indicate that their department uses different colored accountability tags for their members.

 

They have different color codes for their Interior and Exterior firefighters.

 

In other words, there are indeed Exterior Firefighters and there are accountability systems designed to track them.  That indicates that the position of Exterior firefighter is well-established, at least in some places.

Bobby King,

 

"All of those positions that you have mentioned, on other departments, have in fact went through the same training as the interior guys."  That statement is demonstrably not correct. 

 

There are many Exterior Firefighters in VFDs all over the USA, and Montana already has an Exterior Firefighter certification.  South Carolina and other places are considering it.  Why?  Because they have exterior firefighters that are operating every day without any firefighter certification.

 

"Firefighter is not a title it is a job whether you are getting paid for it or not." 

 

Actually, it IS a title.  If it isn't, what do you call people who fight fires for your fire department?

 

"To answer a previous post yes I WOULD in fact like 10 interior firefighters over 10 interior firefighters and 8 lawn ornaments."

 

You would intentionally cut your manpower from 18 to 10 on a working fire???  That makes absolutely no sense, especially for rural departments that are a long way from any backup."

 

"The 10 that are interior trained can be divided up into other roles such as your OVM, Water supply, Incident Command, Rehab, etc."  

 

So can the 8 exterior-trained firefighters, giving you all 10 of the interior guys for interior operations and RIT.  It seems to have escaped you that both interior and exterior firefighters can perform the same exterior duties.  Worse, if you only have 10 firefighters, you have to pull some of the interior-qualified firefighters away from interior duties or RIT to handle driving, outside vent, forcible entry, etc, or just let some of those duties go un-done.  You'd rather not have RIT or outside vent just so you can avoid using exterior firefighters??  Is that what you're saying?  If not, what are you saying, because that will be the result?

 

"What can the 8 do exactly? Stand around and kick rocks?"

 

That's just silly.  Of course the exterior firefighters aren't going to just kick rocks.  Incident Command, driving/operating apparatus, outside vent, ladders, advancing hoselines, defensive attacks, and the initial defensive part of transitional attacks are all outside duties.

"Driving a semi truck on the interstate and driving a fire apparatus are two VERY Different things."  So what?  It seems to have escaped you that in more than 30 states, a CDL is the minimum driver's license to drive any fire apparatus larger than a brush truck or mini-pumper.  In those states, NO firefighter training or certification is required to drive, but the CDL and the prerequisite CDL physical examination and physician's clearance ARE required.  As I stated above, the CDL physical clearance allows people with injuries or illnesses that disqualify them from being an interior firefighter to drive and operate vehicles.  Those CDL drivers have medical clearances, training, and certification commensurate with their duties.

 

"The lights and siren make for a stressful situation, dodging traffic and the hypersensitive sense of awareness that you have to have while operating an emergency vehicle tax the body way more than a CDL truck driver would EVER encounter on his worst day."  Wrong, since in over half of the U.S. states, fire apparatus drivers ARE CDL drivers. 

 

Not only that, but interior firefighter training doesn't do ANYTHING to qualify anyone to drive any vehicle, period.   It is inconsistent for you to argue that all firefighters should be interior firefighters, but that CDL drivers are somehow less prepared than someone else.  You are apparently confusing training with a license or certification. 

"Get with the program or get out of the program Callahan. People depend on you down there." 

 

That statement is bogus.  Bob obviously knows more about the fire service in his area than you do.  It is also a false dilemma, as you're insisting on two extremes, neither of which fits the real world.

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