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?

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Mississippi doesn't think so. They have "Volunteer Firefighter Program" now what I mean by program is that it's comprised of 4 to 5 steps depending on how long you've been around:

Newer VFF's
Volunteer FF Module I - 74 Hours
Volunteer FF Module II - 38 Hours
HazMat Operations - 32
E MED & CPR - 8
Total Hours = 152

Older VFF's
Certified Volunteer I - 48 Hours
Volunter I Upgrade - 26 Hours
Volunteer Firefighter II - 38 Hours
HazMat Operations - 32 Hours
E MED & CPR - 8 Hours
Total Hours = 152

Now with all that, you get a nice shiny certificate that says "Mississippi Certified Volunteer Firefighter [NFPA 1001 BASED]". Fantastic! Congratulations!

Now what you can't do with it... Submit it to the state minimum standards board for "FF I" certification.... Aww shucks! All that time spent and your program was only 1001 BASED.

MS Fire Academy teaches the FF I/II program together and refuses to separate it, making FFI impossible to acheive without becoming FFII as well. How does one do that? Attends the 6 week program M-TH 7a-5p. Anyone know any volunteers who can miss 6 straight weeks of work? They do offer the course in a field delivery, however it is still taught as one class and cannot be separated. Might I also point out that the FFI/II class with Haz Ops is 244 Hours, the volly program 152 (more than half the hours).

I would LOVE it if there ever came a day in this state where volunteers could at least achieve NFPA 1001 - FFI, but at the rate the state and the insurance department are going it's NEVER going to happen.

I believe that all firefighters should have at minimum FFI but until something gives, Volunteers in Mississippi will only be worth the title of a "Certified Volunteer". As you can clearly see my state does a fantastic job at driving the stake between career and vollies.
My dept pushes hard for everybody to FFII certification. The way we are: Basic cert you can ride in the truck and do some support work on the fire ground. FFI you can fight fire from the outside with a few other things. FFII you are a "full blown firefighter". Nobody That I know of has just a FFI cert all the classes are FF I/II. I guess you could fail the FFII part and just have the FFI cert.


Also guys remember NFPA is not "law" in all states. Indiana is a OHSA state NFPA is treated as a guideline.
I agree. A volunteer should strive to be the best he or she can be. The community is counting on us.
I agree.

I forgot to mention FR includes CPR, first aid, aed,etc...
And FF1 covers NFPA 1001 at least.
You've got that right! Mississippi vollies really get the short end of the stick, there's bound to be some sort of liability issue with this. And to make matters worse, I know of a Career FF station that has several employees that don't have any NFPA training (1001, FMR, NOTHING!!). I don't really like where the states emergency services are headed. And various of their EMS regulations are backwards as well.

I would love FF1 to be a minimum here, but it doesn't look like its coming anytime soon. The certified volunteer program is better than nothing, but I still don't believe its adequate
Oregon requires NFPA Firefighter 1 to take part in fire suppression activities. It's about 80 hours. Specifically around Medford, the majority of fire depts send their recruits to the local FF1 Academy at the local college. A couple depts that have qualified instructors will teach their own in house.
For my department (in TN), we have interior firefighters, exterior fighters, and rehab. Interior firefighters have to go through firefighter 1. everyone else just has to take the 16 hour course, which is Introduction to Fire Departments. My department is all volunteer.
Matt,

I do understand your concerns, but there is another side to it. Look at all the LODD that involved rather green firefighters, who made some bad decisions because they were not properly trained. Having more people on the fireground is good, but they all need to be able to get home safely to their families.

Second, I'm fortunate to volunteer in a county that is the only mutual aid I might expect to see on a call comes from departments with equivalent or better training. However, if I were in a more rural area, I would be quite concerned that a mutual aid department without minimum training standards might be the ones coming in for RIT. Are you confident enough in the training of these other departments that have no standard that you trust their crews to be able to all come in and save your butt? It's not just the officer.
Steve,

I agree completely brother, I don't believe anyone who isn't trained or certified to some standard, be it via lengthy in-house sessions, or through a formal IFSAC/ProBoard accredited class, should make interior attack or be on a RIT Team. My concerns is that should my State of Alabama mandate a minimum training requirement for vollie's, the handful of certified guys we have now who traditionally are involved in interior attack/RIT, and generally more "intense" fire ground functions, will now have to step back and fill the voids that our un-trained yet still VERY capable guy's usually filled, reducing my department's ability to mitigate incidents.

As I said, I am on a very rural department (counting myself we usually about 7 to 10 you can be reasonably sure will be there, I am thankful when we have 12 to 15 show up. But of those 15, only 6 of us are state certified ff's). I understand you cannot realistically divide your department along "interior vs. exterior only" firefighters. The Fire Service is known for it's ability to adapt to whatever situations, or contingency's are thrown at us, and everybody should in a perfect world be able to do each other's job(s) seamlessly. But for my dept. and the ones around me, going from 15 able bodies to 6 is terrible. I am afraid that in the countless small communities across America in situations such as that will lead to dept's. loosing their efficiency, and quite frankly usefulness.

I haven't studied a lot of the LODD's over the last several years, but I still believe that through effective leadership and good people/resource management we could reduce the number of unnecessary injury's/LODD's to new firefighters in the field. I see it as a failure on the leadership end if anybody, especially new guy's or gals, are unaccounted for and get into situations that aren't capable, or trained to handle..
Where I live, in Nassau County Florida, you must be certified as a FF-1/250 hours of training to be a volunteer. My parents were going to do it but when they found that it would take that long and that much effort, and they are not quite "in to it" they said forget it. here you have to have either FF1 or some type of EMT or nurse training to volunteer. It is a little much for some who are not total firefighters. I would think those who did not get the training could still volunteer with the same limited capabilities as a cadet.No direct medical contact or firefighting, but could help in other ways, such as supporting the other firefighters at the scene.
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hey brother, a crossville Al. firefighter died a few years ago while doing an interior attack. the investigators believed that had he done any training his life would have been spared but that is purely opinion not a stated fact. the department i am with we have one firefighter who is state certified. that firefighter is our training officer, and we do receive in house training but it isn't very actual fire scenario training.while it is very informative we do not do much training on search and rescue, venting a structure, things you would be expected to do once on the fire ground.
If you want to go on calls in our Volunteer department you get certified or you stay with the rehab folks....Either scene support (working outside) or EMS for rehab or you stay home....No ifs ands or butts (not mis-spelled)

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