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  • Testing for Vol Fire Officers

    The town picked fire chief of my town demands that the Vol fire officers that are elected by the membership go thru a test he has written. This started a few years ago when his son lost the election 5 votes to 15 for engine captin. The winner of the election was not taken by the town fathers and mothers after the chief told them that he was "unqualified". Then he had his son appointed. The test has 40 civil service questions, 40 questions out of the newest EOFF book, 20 questions each from the 1986 engine and truck co books from NFPA 20 questions for the 1989? Rescue pratices book and 20 questions from NFPA 1500. Does any other Volly departmet do this? Just to let you know 9 of us have already taken the test and 8 did not pass. One person looked at it and walked out. The test was filled with fill in the blank questions, spelling errors and questions with no right answer. It was more of a history test than anything. The people that took the test have on average 600 hours of training and 12 years of service. One of the people is a State Instructor and FFII. I have an AAS in Fire Science, FFI and past service with a paid department. The only person that passed was his son. Does anyone have any answers because we do not.

  • #2
    Sounds to me like you need a change of chief or by-laws. That's the only way you can change anything like this. Why does the town appoint the chief? Does he have the qualifications to be chief? Unless you can get the rest of the members to back you up you're going to be in trouble forever, or at least until the chief passes on.
    My old company had qualifications for officers in the by-laws. Engineers had to have Pump, Liet's had to have Interior, Capt's more, Asst & Chief ICS, etc. If you can change yours to include qualifications you will probably change the situation.
    Don't look for your town to help. If you read this month's PA Fireman you know that the courts ruled that the municipal government can't control the officers of a volunteer fire company.
    Good luck.
    Steve Dragon
    FFII, Fire Instructor II, Fire Officer I, Fire Appartus Driver Operator Certified
    Volunteers are never "off duty".
    http://www.bufd7.org

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    • #3
      My Dept. has a mandatory test for all persons interested in running for office. It is very similar to the test you describe. A person must pass the test in order to stand for election.

      In a place where popularity is the rule, the testing procedure is a sound one. Of course someone could be popular AND qualified. But the test weeds out the politicians from the true fire fighters.

      Surely you are not suggesting that the testing procedure should be abolished? What you need is a committee of knowledgable fire fighters to write an updated test. Then let the members know which sources the tet has been derived from so they have the opportunity to study.
      PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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      • #4
        CHOA33.IF THE STATE INSTRUCTOR DID'T PASS TOO.I WOULD THINK IT WAS B.S. TEST. I AGREE WITH STEVE CHECK ON YOU BI-LAW, BUT BE CAREFULL. IF THE CITY IS THE ONLY FUNDING YOU GET, YOU DON'T WANT TO LOSE IT.
        AS MY DEPT HAS BI-LAW YOU MUST BE F/F SO MANY YR, AND MEET ALL COUNTY STANDARD. GOOD LUCK.

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        • #5
          Something smells rotten in Choad's town.
          The "chief" makes up a test using "outdated" materials and his son, who couldn't win an election for company officer is the only one who passes?

          Sounds like a "Daddy and Junior" act from Smokey and the Bandit!
          ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
          Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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          • #6
            We do not have a test for our elected officers, though sometimes I wish we did. However, it seems like your situation is really messed up. The fact the Chief can appoint his son sounds like a conflict of interest. You definitely want to check your by laws and see if nepotism(having a ruling authority over someone you are directly related to) is allowed.

            Gonzo, I like your comment about Smokey and the Bandit

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            • #7
              My Town has had a testing procedure for the last 10 years or so. First, to qualify to take the test you must be a FF1, 3 years as a member off probation, and a driver of at least one apparatus. Second, you must pass a written test that was created by the state fire school ( 80 questions from them and 20 based on local SOP'S). All people taking the test are told which books the questions are based on ( FF1, Fire Officer Handbook, and our dept. SOP'S). Third, once a list is made a oral board is set-up with a minimum of 3 members ( these are chief officers from local towns). The list of questions are given to them and they decide which ones to use with all canidates given the same questions. Fourth, the Deputy Chief gives his opinion on the canidates ( only worth 10 percent). The numbers are added up and a qualified list is created then appointments are made by the Chief. All of this is done by a total volunteer department that feels this decision is a very important one with all firefighters lives a stake. I would rather be lead into a emergency by a qualified person than a popular member that doesn't know what is going on.

              " The opinion expressed here is my own and does not represent the other members or Chief of my department"
              "Fire Prevention is our Intention"

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