Friends, Brothers Sisters, and everyone interested in keeping knowledge up to date.
I have a dream, and that dream is to have a Volunteer Fire Service that holds training and education on a pedestal and worships it daily. A fire service that understands the importance of continuing education and practicing BASIC skills on an annual schedule. A fire service that is no longer concerned with ego and image and is MORE concerned with the service it provides to its residents...Isn't that what we are here for??
Let me explain my dilemma to you further so you have a better understanding for the upcoming rant session!
I am currently a New York State Emergency Medical Technician, in order to obtain that title you need to attend classes, learn, take and PASS a written AND practical test, than you get your "Card" with a ID number thats registered in New York State...BUT, thats not the end. After 3 years, you need to attend a "Recertification" Test where you take another Written and Practical Skills test in order to maintain your certification. Than during the course of the 3 year period you need to attend "Continuing Medical Education", or "CME's" classes and seminars to hear updates in treatments and equipment usage....BLAH BLAH BLAH Most of you have done this for years and I need not explain it further, correct?
Now, in the fire service for New York State I am currently a "Level II Firefighter"........Want to know how I got that title?? I attended a class, was one of the HANDFUL of people that took notes ( or even bothered to OPEN my book), one of the FEW firefighters who volunteered to do the Practical skills portion of the class while everyone else "Watched", than received a "Certificate"......No Test.......No Practical Skills Evolutions.........Just "Heres your certificate, thanks for coming." Do I have to attend a re-certification process 3-5 years later?? Nope. Continuing Education Classes or seminars? Nope. OSHA States I need like 40 hours of refresher training in order to be a firefighter, but is that enforced? Nope. We have guys who LAUGH at training in my county and think they dont need it, and have not attended training in god knows how long but they are still fighting fire, packing up, and entering IDLH atmospheres that firefighters in other states have to attend NUMEROUS hours of training in order to be allowed to do.
Whats wrong with this? Does anyone else see the issue here that I see? Has anyone else already attempted to write the "Powers That Be" to attempt to change this issue? What I am looking for is to accept the Training Standards for Levels I & II Firefighter in the same fashion we handle EMT-1, EMT-2 (Intermediate), EMT-3 (Critical Care) and EMT-4 (Paramedic). Dont you think it would BENEFIT us as firefighters to have to re-certify our knowledge and skills every 3-5 years and LEARN any updates in tactics, skills, or fire science? Wouldn't you think it would make us BETTER firefighters and provide a BETTER service to the people we protect? I know we are only Volunteer, but do you think fire knows the difference? Do you think the fire looks at you and says "WHOA! Wait a minute, he's only volunteer so I will only cook his "Lower Region" a bit than let him go" ???? Bottom line....Fire doesn't discriminate people, It's an "Equal Opportunity Killer". Dont you think we Owe it to the people we serve and protect to keep our skills current and up-to-date? I do. But sadly in my area Im one of an extremely SMALL group that feels this way and when I attempt to change things Im laughed at, Ignored, shoved in the corner. Want to know why? Because Im out numbered by lazy firefighters who dont care what training they have, they just care about the " Guts N' Glory", the "Awards" and recognition, or, my BIGGEST FEAR EVER.....Become an OFFICER just to get the pretty red lights and sirens and carry a radio and bark orders at the guys/gals they dont like or are not in the "Click".
To phrase another member of this site that I happen to revere and look up to as an "Internet Mentor"........"When is Enough going to be Enough"? When are those of us who care, and are constantly ignored and thrown in the corner going to band together and do something about this issue? What does everyone else feel about my idea to make Firefighter I & II a STATE CERTIFICATION instead of a "Certificate" class? I am looking for feedback, BOTH pro and con. Any advice or experienced insight to this issue would be greatly appreciated, as I am one of the few who still respect experienced members and officers and listen to what they have to say, unlike most of the new generation that want to be "Overnight Sensations".....Sorry, thats a WHOLE other rant!!
Thank you all for reading and hopefully responding to my dilemma, I hope we can generate lots of discussion about this issue and make a difference.
Brian "Moose" Jones