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On Duty Testing.

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  • On Duty Testing.

    My Department is trying to put together a Water / Ice rescue Team.
    Im the Head Instructor and we came up with a swim test for those interested in the Ice Portion. It is 100m swim under 5mins wearing a PFD and the second test is tread water for 10min without a PFD.
    The problem is the Chief and training would like for all the Full Time firefighters to take the test. They will do it on duty and if they fail nothing will happen to them except they may not take part in the direct rescue.
    (Operation level-NFPA). Some members are stating the Chief has no right to direct them to do the test as it was no part of their job description. taking part in a rescue was but the swim test was not. I disagree we get tested all the time on other things such as Pump Ops etc. How is this different.

    Help me out here Guys. I say they have no choice but to follow orders if they fail nothing happens to them. AM I WRONG?

  • #2
    Sounds like specialized training, which it is. It is advanced rescue and the brothers should have the option to try for it or not. Some guys want every advanced training under the sun and others just want to be an engineman or truckie, you know?

    If they are made to try out, and they don't want to, that would be some funny video to watch! Unfortunately, you'd have to deal with everyone, not just they ones who want it. Sucks for you.


    • #3
      I mostly agree with the above post.

      The first thing that needs to be done is to determine if it is within the job description of a firefighter for your area. I have no idea of what kind of testing procedures and labor laws in canada are, so I will not even offer you an opinion in that. For us it is not specificaly spelled out as a job requirement to be a rescue swimmer. It merely states that you are to perform rescue duties, wether that be land based or what ever variant you want to take.

      Next though, I would consider it specialized training. I would not suggest allowing anyone to attempt without the proper training, sound like you guys are already on track with that. I know rules are different between our countries, so research what ever the governing body may require.

      As far as personel opinion. No person should be allowed to perfrom a resuce without the training, there should be a pyshical performance standard and annual or twice annualy training required. If persons do not want to perform to these standards, than see what kind of response you may have with persons that do. If you can still have an effective team with out the persons that don't want to put in the extra effort, than go ahead with what you have and leave the others behind. When they start to see the guys with the specialized training getting training incentives or bonus pay maybe they will be a little more open minded. I completely agree with you in that in order to pump you must be qualified and in order to be a tech in a specialized situation you need to be qualified. The chief needs to stand his ground and enforce the standard. There is way too much liability if he does not.


      • #4
        You should DEFINETLY have your union conduct "I & I" (Impact & Implementation) bargaining- Example......This water rescue team is designated "a specialty rescue team." However, Chief & Training Chief want ALL members to undergo the physical testing. What happens when not everyone passes, and Chief and/or Training Chief attempt to discipline those who failed the test? (And they wanted no part of the team to begin with???)

        I dont think it's an unfair thing for the Chief to want the guys to demonstrate that they are fit for the job. The guys that are whining about "it notbeing in their job description" should be bitchslapped- They knew going in that there are waterways in their local that persons could fall/dive/swim into.....Just because it doesnt specifically say on the PD "Candidates/Firefighters will perform water/ice rescues of persons in waterways located within the municipality" doesnt mean they dont have to perform such rescues. Does it say "Firefighters will extinguish Chicken Coop fires" on your PD's? Probably not. But I bet it does say "Firefighters will extinguish building fires of many types." or something to that effect. I bet it also says to some extent "Firefighters will perform technical rescues". Call me silly but seems to me that water rescue fits in that category somehow.

        I bet it also says somewhere on the PD "All members of the response force" or "All uniformed members shall keep physically fit so as to perform their duties in an efficient manner at all times" or something to that effect.

        The Union should have the opportunity to review any proposed SOP's or SOG's. They should have a chance to propose any changes, additions or deletions to SOP/SOG's.

        What about pay? Any extra pay for the special team members? What about call-backs of off-duty members for an extended incident? What/how will they get paid?

        Bottom line: If the chief wants everyone to test, thats his perogitive. But determine if everyone is doing the work, or a select, designated team. If so, make the Chief sign off a waiver that says no punitive actions for those who test and fail but are not part of the team.

        Bottom line: Just because its not in the PD doesnt mean they dont have to do it. (My old PD's very last line was "and other duties as assigned." which management used quite often, believe me. (until the chief got a cautionary memo from the union the next day.)
        Last edited by FWDbuff; 12-16-2006, 12:09 PM.
        "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."


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