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When to take/start Fire Officer training in your firefighting career

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  • When to take/start Fire Officer training in your firefighting career

    In my small volly dept, I have a new kid that joined last November. Great kid, energetic, good firefighter. He completed Firefighter 1 this fall and is looking to take Fire Officer training in the next few months. I think it's great he's looking for training and don't want to discourage him, but do you think it's too early in his firefighting life to take an Officer training, or would he get more out of the training if he had more time/experience in the fire service? Looking for your thoughts. Thanks as always. ~Skojo

  • #2
    Speaking as a member of a small department - If you're like us, it'll take years to get any substantial experience...

    OTOH, if he takes the training now, he can/will start to look at situations from the perspective of "what would I have done," and that may help mold his future leadership skills. Keep that in mind as you coach him.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

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    • #3
      I think it's too soon. With only a year on the department he can barely be called a good firefighter. He doesn't need to be thinking about officer training yet.

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      • #4
        Way too soon. I would have him concentrate on other "needed" classes such as FFII, EMT, Building Construction, Task-Specific Engine and Truck Classes.....If you guys do technical rescue, let's get some rescue classes under his belt.

        As a Chief. there is no way I am sending someone who doesn't even have FFII (let along a few years in the Company) to FO 1.
        "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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        • #5
          The problem we have here is that a lot of the courses mentioned are few and far between. Every BEFO (Basic Exterior Firefighter Operations) class is full with a waiting list. The interior FF portion (together they make FF1) will likely suffer the same fate (NY just restructured FF1 into the two classes). Trying to get a FF2 class istough - people only have so much time (sometimes it's tough getting people to be able to get through BEFO - family, and especially jobs, get in the way) so we feel lucky to get them through FF1. And we only get so many training hours from the state, and only have so many state instructors.

          Even though I agree it's too early - if there's space in a class that someone wants to take - they're going to get something out of it.
          Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

          Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

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          • #6
            There is no way someone that new should be taking an officer class. What about FFII? Or Driver/Operator?
            Crazy, but that's how it goes
            Millions of people living as foes
            Maybe it's not too late
            To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

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            • #7
              All great comments...thanks to everyone replying to the post. I tend to side with "it's too early to take FO1", but like hearing everyone's input here. Your comments are something I can share with our training committee. TGIF and have a great weekend.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Skojo View Post
                All great comments...thanks to everyone replying to the post. I tend to side with "it's too early to take FO1", but like hearing everyone's input here. Your comments are something I can share with our training committee. TGIF and have a great weekend.
                One more thing- How in the fook can someone possibly take FO 1 without some more advanced training and a few years in the Dept? How will this guy even begin to be able to understand tactical considerations and other schit that will be thrown at him at FO 1? This is tantramount to setting him up for failure.

                I'm all for taking a class if there is room.....But FO 1 is not the place for a new guy.
                "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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                • #9
                  Not to sound like an @ss, but has he even put out a real fire yet? It's not exactly ideal to imagine an officer taking a rookie into his first fire, when it's the officer's first fire as well.

                  I work for a large city department so it's a little different. However, they only hold the promotional exam every two years. On top of that, you need five years on the job to even sit for the exam. So depending on your hire date, it may be almost seven years before you can even sit for the test and start the process. I would never trust someone with a year's experience to lead me anywhere.

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                  • #10
                    Better to point him towards FFII, Fire Apparatus Operator, Vehicle Extrication and other entry level courses first. Not to say he is not mature enough for Fire Officer training, but there are several entry level courses, that he should have under his belt first. I started firefighting young myself, but was considered mature (I went through Army Basic Training at age 17) and it worked out. Its just that you need "to ride the tailboard" awhile to get experience.

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                    • #11
                      I just completed Fire Officer II after 15 or so years in the fire service. I think I completed Officer I after maybe 5 years on. It is my opinion that training is never a bad thing, however you need to look at what training will be useful to you NOW, in the near future, and in the distant future.

                      If he wants to take the class so he can check that class off what he needs to be an officer, go for it. It will help him in the distant future, especially if it isn't offered frequently. But he also needs to understand that just because he completes FO1 doesn't mean he should have his eye on an officer position next year.

                      But I would look at driver/operator class (which will help him in the near future), firefighter II (which will help him now), and some technical rescuer courses, as well as several EMS courses if your department does EMS.
                      If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

                      FF/EMT/DBP

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