Yes I do. And I think there should be MUCH more emphasis placed on practicals, than on paper.
And I also think that there should be alot more input from the crew you will be working with. IMO, the only thing a professional certification proves is that you could sit still for 40 hours and listen. In my business, I have employed several people that held certifications from one of the most respected cert. boards in the industry. And after viewing their performance, I wouldn't let them install shingles on a doghouse.
In my ideal world, recruit training would change a bit. From day one, immediately after PT, there would be the prerequisite Quick Dress Drill, and once on air and cleared for integrity, the recruit would immediately join a hose team and attack a live fire. Small burns at first, but growing in size and complexity as the recruit progressed through the curriculum. In my ideal burn building, there would be modular components for walls, ceiling and floors that would have to be overhauled(got to have something for the "over 2-minute quick dress" guys and gals. Maybe if I win the lottery...
I am with DT, we use three part promotional process, written; assessment; 4-chief's, chiefs interview. We do not use the standard oral board for promotion exams. We use per contract an independant thrid party assessment center which is clearly hands-on. The process for those not familiar is role playing in many different settings. In each scenario you are to assume the officer of the group, run a shift meeting with two of the guys who are rude, disrespectful and it turns physical, nominal group discussion on a hot topic like reducing manning on the ladder and having to come to agreement with a written memo to the chief on the results, public complaint, guy comes charging in to complain that expensive engine was at the supermarket shopping on the taxpayers dime, issuing discipline to a shift firefighter for something he did wrong, emergency response to building fire at the burn building, size-up, handling the public on arrival, decision making with your crew, etc.
In the end you are being evaluated by the evaluators, some who are college human behavior professors assessing your interpersonal dynamics, fire chief's assessing your decision making, etc. In the end, unless your a certified firefighter and professional actor, the assessment center seperates the fakers or bookworms.
I agree with the assessment center aspect of promotional exams. I have taken exams from Lt through DC, and I believe a combination of written, and assessment with role players is a good system. Promotion to officer should measure the candidates verabl skills abaility, the ability to read and write and comprehend, and the ability to size-up, and make critical, immediate decissions with a thorough knowledge of the fire service behind him/her. Assessment is the best way to determine problem-solving ability with regards to personnel issues, and the ability to be a true leader, and mediator...becouse that IS the job of an officer.
Something cut off my post. Onward. I also think there should be a local componan to the testing process. One that measures the candidates knowledge of the community, equipment, SOP/SOG's, and target hazards, etc.
I am totaly against the practices of electing officers from popularity, or chief's appointments. In many cases those with the most paper and certifications turn out to be the worst officers. It is a balance between experience, maturuty, personality, motivation, and temperment.