SFFMA is a great program for Volunteers. It offers various Certifications that are obtainable in stages, making it very easy for Volunteers to achive. If you are already a Commision FF then it is redundent.
For those who wish to receive credit and certification for their hard work as Volunteers, the SFFMA program is the way to go. It puts less of a burden on the FF and the Department, making it atractive to those Departments with out unlimited funding. My Department is one of the largest Volunteer Departments that are involved with SFFMA and I can tell you that they are good people to work with.
If you have any more specific questions I will try to answer them.
Cy-Fair VFD, Houston Texas.
Thanks for the reply. I guess that I was a little vague with my initial response.
My department has been in the SFFMA Certification program for quite a while now. The main problem that I have with this program is that all of the instructor kits that you can purchase are based on FFI and FFII. SFFMA jumps all over the place compared to this. I like the idea that SFFMA breaks the training down into smaller increments, but I feel that it should still follow FFI and FFII (easier for us who do the training). Not that I am (that) lazy or anything. I am just looking for an easier way of doing things without re-inventing the wheel.
Now I understand, you want it to make sense.SFFMA marches to there own drummer although lately they have been moving closer to TCFP. You have a good point, what we do is use the SFFMA requirements as the training out line for whatever class we are doing and try to tie groups of classes togther that seems to go together. Even as SFFMA gets closer to TCFP, that involves another organization that makes up the rules as it goes along. Good luck with trying to find an easier way to go, I haven't found it yet either.
As a volunteer that has worked up SFFMA to the Accriedited Advanced level and now at the TCFP Basic level with TCFP Instructor I I can say that the only thing I have aginst the SFFMA is they refuse to require written test and skils test. In my oppion this causes a division in the State that seperate the Volunteers from the Career departments. When Texas can get on the same page I belive most of the tension will be lowered. In north Texas DFW area there is a large seperation between the two type of departments.
I don't know much about the TCFP Certification, but I hold Accredted Advance Certification in the SFFMA and am working on the Master Firefighter level. Every member of my dept is a member of the SFFMA and is in the cert program.
My department has been a member of SFFMA since the beginning of SFFMA. I think it is good in encouraging firefighters and departments to do training, but with the lack of any testing allows people to falsify training records. The good thing is that to be "accredited" at each firefighter level you have to test which does stop that problem and most other certifications are being lined up to TCFP certifications. The SFFMA masters certification requires alot of training and is reviewed by 19 SFFMA certification people before it is awarded.TCFP basic fire fighter is an automatic SFFMA accredited advanced firefighter cert. We have 11 out of 24 firefighters are TCFP certified(also have SFFMA accredited advanced & 1SFFMA masters)and 3 more SFFMA advanced, 5 SFFMA basics, 3 SFFMA intro, and 2 probationary with no certs yet. I would like them to change more like TCFP, but that might stop so people from getting any training or make an extra burden on vol departments with stuggling budgets. I would like to see SFFMA change their web site to be like TCFP's. After this long of an answer, the short version is YES it is good because it helps track and encourage training.
As the chief of a small north texas department, I have been very happy with the SFFMA Certification Program. As of December 1st, our department was able to take the accredidation test and I am happy to report that we are 100% accredited at our respective certification levels. 14 Basic, and 4 Advanced.
I have been an Accredited Advanced for a while now and have been a part of the SFFMA program for a while too. I am also TCFP and got that by challanging the test with my SFFMA training. So is the SFFMA program good? Yes and no. Yes it is in that it covers FF1 and 2 and actually exceeds TCFP. I say no because it does skip and seems unsorted. My argument has always been that the basic should be equivilent to FF1, with HazMat Awarness. FF2 should be the equivilant of Intermediate. and Advanced the Hazmat Ops and Medical portion. That way there is still achievable stepped levels for volunteers with little time. It also mirrors what TCFP does and IFSAC and the countless others and helping the Instructors. I know when I teach - Level II instructor - it is a hassle to report to both systems and hunt and peck for objectives and what not that dont follow the material available. Our dept has just changed to the TCFP system because keeping up two systems just didnt work. And with so much material available that follows IFSAC and there fore TCFP... well its to easy not to use that program. I find that had SFFMA allowed recent legislation to make TCFP the defacto traininig organization SFFMA would have had more time to deal with volunteer's issues and had more on board if they had the forthought to ask TCFP to make a volunteer schedule according to what I described. It would have had a positive impact on training and not perpetuated the career vs volunteer mentality in Texas. SFFMA is great but their strength lays in what they can do in legislature.