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?
That must be the underlying purpose of any decision made. I feel for your department, but as others have said, there have been too many firefighters killed by a lack of training. Your first duty is to yourself, then your crew. I think that any leader who knowingly sends someone into a dangerous situation without proper training needs to be removed. It's reckless.
If that means that your department has to fight exterior-only for some incidents if you don't have enough properly trained firefighters show up for a safe interior attack, then so be it. You can make the odd exception if you know there is a viable life to be saved, but otherwise, it's just a building. You can give interior-qualified members a different colored helmet, and the IC can decide on the attach method based upon his resources at the incident.
I also disagree with you regarding resource management being a substitute for training. You mention good leadership. Good leadership should mean that everyone has adequate training before going in. There is absolutely no substitute for proper training.
While I'm relatively new to the fire service, my background is in wilderness high angle rope rescue. On a cold night with nothing but a headlamp to use for lighting, no leader was going to help ensure we rigged a system properly. That's the "do or die" moment when only proper training sends you into auto-pilot and you just do it because you've done it hundreds of times before.
Steve, I agree entirely. The bottom line is always that everyone goes home to their loved ones after EVERY call. I would NEVER stand to see any of our untrained guys, or my dept's mutual aid guys, make an interior attack or be involved in any IDLH situation they weren't trained to handle. With the constantly changing variables found inside of a structure, car fire, or even a rippin' woods fire, those are NOT the place's to get any OJT.
And you need to be careful about twisting other peoples posts like that. I never said that resource management was a substitute to training. I said that (in my opinion) inadequate leadership leads to an unnecessary amount of untrained people getting hurt & killed due to poor decision making. I was referring to Devan's post about the Crossville Alabama firefighter who lost his life. I haven't researched the LODD, so I am assuming that it was his lack of training that got him killed. I think that if that were the case, then it was a GROSS oversight on the IC or Officer in charge of accountability, for letting that gentleman get into a situation he wasn't trained, or capable of handling.
To summarize my views:
- I believe that only FF1 qualified FF's need to make interior attack, or be on RIT teams.
- I think that through effective leadership non-FF1 trained FF's (and I'm not talking about greenhorns/rookies, I'm referring to extremely capable and proficient FF's) can serve in a variety of non-interior/RIT roles, and work in defensive/exterior roles to free up trained guys. Effective leadership means making sure that the untrained FF's don't get into situations they can't handle. But it's also balancing that against taking full advantage of every resource available to you to do the most good with what you have, in the safest way possible. If that means using an "untrained" guy for exposure protection, holding a ladder, or helping with water supply, to free up a trained guy and make their job(s) a little easier...then I fail to see anything wrong with that.
im gonna make a comment im sure ill regret. im not sticking up or putting down any comments made. coming from a rural small town department, unfortunatly the enemy is time. we all have our day jobs and families. a ff 1 course is about 6 months. but. a fire is a fire is a fire. we better know the ins and outs before battling the beast!
In Oregon this IS true. No exceptions. However, not every State recognizes this or enforces it. Plus you are required to maintain an show continuing education and training. A one time shot dosnt cut it.
In Ohio we have 36 hr for volly, 120 for FFI and 240 for FFII. I also believe training is essential. I don't care if u r a 36 or a 240 a blaze will not discriminate. Take all the supplemental training u can. I'm a volly and our department does training every meeting.
The courses are taught by two volunteer fire chiefs (from different departments) and with different parts of the course being taught with assistance from the County Fire-Rescue Department (the "Career" guys) and the Division of Forestry. They recently held a EVOC course for all of the volunteers. As far as I know, you can not split the courses up, though the entire course is taught over a period of time.