How long of a time period should your certifications be good after you leave a fire department? 


We have a member wanting to come back on after an 8 years of being off of the department.  He has not been on any department since he left our department.  The State of Indiana says your certifications are good for life with the exception of your instructor I and II/III. 


What are you thoughts on certification limits and what is your state rules concerning certifications. 

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Our county started a program for anyone that leaves the fire service and returns after a certain time to retake needed classes before they are allowed to respond on calls.


  Courtney, What if anything have you and the other officers decided to do?

Ok I am From Indiana, and I have first hand experience with this I left the fire service for a few years and came back the department i joined said oh your already certified here is your gear here is your pager make runs. Different department from the one left mind you. Nothing was the same had to go over everything by myself and learn the new techniques luckily I kept going to the FDIC and the IERC so I wasn't to far behind the curve mainly it was getting back in shape to be a firefighter. After eight years the person in question needs at least refresher training and the state does mandate a four hour in service with his "new" department. All this will probably change in the next year or two, there will be legislation introduced this year to require re certification similar to in service EMS requirements for all fire certs.

For the most part, state certifications are earned through a school and are similar to a degree or other certification. The certificate should be good for life, the continuing education should be up to the dept. and individual.


So for the sake of this discussion, I see no problem that a certification maintains, however, it is the onus of the dept taking a person in to ensure any and all new members are trained and up to standards. For the most part, what is learned in FF certs is the basics, that is it. It takes nothing for a dept to establish a check list and orientation for a new member to go through before being allowed to respond.


Before being allowed to respond, a FF should be:

intimently familiar with the depts SCBA

Be familiar with the dept's radio and procedures

locate equipment and understand the uses on all rigs

Check off on basic skills

               Hose advancement and packing

                Ladder set up, roof ladder ops

               HAZMAT awareness and DOT guidebook reorientation


Most of anything else can be done through regular training.

The officers have decided to put him through a 4 hour mandatory per state requirements.  Once that is complete, he will be tested on each of the skills required for passing FF I /II.  Once he passes his skills, he will be on a year probationary period.

How many FF1s do you know that their cert is only useful for doing paperwork in the head/loo/bathroom.

I don't think there is a one-size-fits-all approach. Some guys/gals will only need a slight refresher and others will need a full academy.

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