I would like to ask everyone's opinion on the subject of Volunteer Firefighter training. My own personal opinion is that every Firefighter in the United States be it Volunteer or Career should be required to have atleast FF1 certification and training. What do you think?
As for being a FF1 I agree 100%, but only if they can come up with set amount of hours, my area requires 104 hours. Friends of mine from other states have higher requirments some have lower. They just need a standard set of hours.
I recently joined a volunteer FD here in TN. The requirements here are a basic 16hr intro to firefighting class within 90 days of joining and a more advanced 64 hour class within 3 years of joining. Additionally to respond to certain types of calls you must complete first responder training and be certified as such. I believe all Volunteer FFs are required to complete Hazmat Awareness periodically and all drivers are required to complete an emergency vehicle operations course periodically as well as completing some road hours and being signed off on by an officer before operating any apparatus.
At this point I've completed the 16hr course, the Hazmat Awareness and the EVOC. I'm personally of the opinion that minimum training requirements are just that, a minimum and I plan on learning and training whenever the opportunity arises.
My own personal opinion is that every Firefighter in the United States be it Volunteer or Career should be required to have atleast FF1 certification and training. What do you think?
Stop talking logic Devan. From an outsider on the other side of the world, there is nothing logical about the way the US emergency services train, fund, equip, etc.
We have nationally accreddited training here in Australia. Whilst it's not failsafe, it goes a long way to ensure minimum skills are met across the whole country. There will always be issues popping up about the quality of the training and assessment, but overall the system works well....
At my dept in MD, we have to have FF II (*not* FF I), HazMat Ops and EMT-B within 1 year of joining, with leniency of up to another 6 months or so on a case-by-case basis. Until FF II is completed, one is restricted to exterior operations only.
Given how FF I only provides such a basic level of training, what's the rationale of sending someone into a building with even less than this? How are these people possibly prepared? Oh wait...lutan did say not to look for logic....
IMO, I think 1403 prerequisites, HazMat Awareness, and First Responder medically trained before getting on an engine with FF1 obtained within one year. I then think there should be some standard on mandatory yearly CEs in on-going training (something similar to the NREMT) in order to maintain your fire ceritification. I know some states already have this but I believe it should be on a national level.
Well that is a good question. My department trains our own people. We have started using FF1 in the last few years but most of our people were not trained to that particular outline. None the less we have well trained FF's that do an excellent job. There are more than one way to skin a cat. But on the other hand we as the fire service would be better off if we were all on the same page. Our department is now in the process of getting everyone certified as FF1.
Here in 'Bama there isn't any mandatory minimum training for volunteers under Alabama law (yet). The Alabama Fire College has a 160hr "Volunteer Firefighter" (as compared to the 320hr career "Firefighter 1"). The 160 covers First Responder, uses the same book & covers same material fire theory wise as career FF1, only with a lot less time doing practicals, and HazMat A/O. But it is up to the individual department to make it's own requirements for firefighters.
I am on the fence about 'Bama requiring minimum training for all volunteers, I'm a vollie and have been through a 160 and a lot of stuff above and beyond, so I can see the obvious pro's in regard to everyone being trained to some standard curriculum. But I also see some con's to it as well. A lot of departments in my neck of the woods, and I believe it would be the same state wide, especially in poorer, rural areas such as where I am, would become virtually useless. Hypothetically, say the Legislature of the Great State of Alabama mandated that effective tomorrow, all volunteers will be required to be 160 [Volunteer Firefighter] certified, until an individual is 160 certified, they cannot participate in emergency calls or actively work on the fire ground (no disrespect, but they effectively become like JR's).
You are cutting the average Alabama VFD's manpower by 1/2, or 3/4's (which is what would happen around here) and while would cover yourself "legally" by having only trained personnel on the scene, what good are you going to do if you only have 2 or 3 people on an advanced extrication, or a kickin' structure fire?. And if your mutual aid companies are in the same boat you are, then they ain't gone be worth much either. Yeah, you should train w/ your mutual aid, and be able to mesh together...but come on, we all know that don't happen as often as it should.
In my opinion (which, along with $2 will buy you a cup of coffee, haha) I believe there should be some sort of required training for officers. Assuming that chain of command is followed, to me that would increase effectiveness of a company, and cut down on poor decisions on fire grounds in Alabama. I think that individual departments should have autonomy over training, and fitness standards for their department. They should want to strive to have all their members trained, and take care of themselves in regards to their health, to go seek out schools, and train in house as often as possible....but not run them out if they can't.