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  • How young is TOO young?

    I've been a firefighter for just about 4 years now and have gone through a variety of classes, and had lots of fireground experience,When it comes time for training night, alot of us become bored and disinterested as it is the same old things different week, While I see a "refresher" every now and then it becomes a little tiring after awhile, My question is that I'm 18 years old almost 19 and would like to become Training Officer for my department but I'm a little afarid of what the "elders" will think? Any insight or opinions?
    IAEP Local 152
    "You stopped being in charge when I showed up"

  • #2
    Too Young?

    My first question is, what state are you from that you have been a firefighter since you were 14?

    Yes, training does get old after awhile, but to become proficient at what you have been trained to do, you must keep re-training. Unless you run an abundance of alarms, encompassing everything from routine rubbish fires to level 1 hazmat calls to mass casualty incidents, you cannot get trained enough.

    I'm thinking that you are with a volunteer department, and if so, it depends on how active the other members are. If you have the knowledge and credentials to become the training officer, and can show the older members that you can handle the position, I don't see a problem. Being the training officer is not just having hands on training yourself. You have to have the "book" knowledge to know the proper procedures and calculations.

    We have a County training coordinator in our county who is 27 years old, but he has taken the time and put in the effort to take the training classes at the state fire academy. I, myself. am 52 years old and continue to take training classes to keep up to date on new methods and procedures
    "The uniform is supposed to say something about you. You get it for nothing, but it comes with a history, so do the right thing when you're in it."
    Battalion Chief Ed Schoales
    from 'Report from Ground Zero' pg 149
    I.A.C.O.J. Member


    • #3
      It is good to see that you have the energy and desire to be active. I will agree with AFD on most of his points but I think you are too young to be a T.O. Perhaps old enough to certify as an instructor and look, listen, learn and prosper from helping a more experienced T.O. That is my opinion on where you should start.

      Also....perhaps a way to make training more interesting is to "suggest" at a company meeting that each member pick a certain topic and then present the dril in some sort of rotation. This of course would be subject to the approval and oversight of the T.O. That way everyone gets involved and you get to teach and it is a way for you to impress the "elders." Coming from an "elder"..that is something for you to try.

      Now the questions???????
      >"Lots"of fireground experience....How much???? What do you consider fireground experience? How many actualy working fires have you been on?...and I do not mean just a "bread and butter fire" (room and contents)
      >You have to only have been actively fighting fires for 2 years (16-18) unless your department is in violation of the Child Labor Laws???
      >How many calls does your department run and how many do you make of them?
      >You said you have "lots" of training and certificates....what are they?
      09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
      IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
      "Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
      BMI Investigator
      The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.


      • #4
        Never too young!

        If you've got the get up and go and the will power to give it a go- then go for it.

        As long as you know your limitations and know when to ask for help.

        Don't forget as the Training Officer, you don't have to actually do the training, only co ordinate it- use the resources available to you such as the crusties, etc.


        • #5
          Definitely too young.

          You have NOT been a FF for four years. You have been a FF less than a year. Explorer or Junior time doesn't count when you are considering doing something like this. Someday, you will probably make a fine TO. But right now, there is too much to learn and too many rookie jobs for you to do for you to even consider a move like this as a red ***.


          • #6
            I think that you are too you as the others have stated. You may have been "on" the department for 4 years but you have only been an interior FF for a year.

            I work in our Training Bureau, I am the youngest member their but I have LOTS of training and I have been a FF for 4 1/2 yrs. But I am not the TO, I am an Instructor. I hold several certifications and will have finished my state instructor school in a month, but I am no where near ready to handle it all. You need some time and experience
            AKA: Mr. Whoo-Whoo

            IAFF Local 3900

            IACOJ-The Crusty Glow Worm

            ENGINE 302 - The Fire Rats

            F.A.N.T.A.M FOOLS FTM-PTB


            • #7
              Hoppy, I gotta agree with George on this one. I'm not sure where you live, but here the training officer has great responsibility. The TO isn't just the guy who sits in the front of the meeting room on training night and says, "Okay, gang, tonight we're gonna do this...." The TO is responsible for the firfighters, nearly as much as the chief. If a guy gets hurt falling off a ladder, OSHA (or your state DOL) will be there the next morning wanting to see his training records and who trained him.

              Are you a certified fire service instructor? You better be, for the reason above. Go read the Lairdsville threads. That A/C wan't much older than you. Those alone should drive the point home.

              Put in your time. If the trainings are getting dull, suggest some things. Nothing kills training more than to spend the first thirty or forty minutes standing around saying, "Whaddya wanna do tonight? I dunno, whaddya YOU wanna do? I dunno, what haven't we done lately?"

              Get out your Firefight I or II curicculum. Go over the practical evolutions. Practice SCBA drills; pull preconnects; set up water shuttles; do ladder evolutions; auto extrication. The list is endless. Only your department's motivation is the limit.
              Omnis Cedo Domus



              • #8
                As a volunteer newbie who's starting out at the not-so-spring-chicken-y age of 30, I have a few unique perspectives on this.

                1: Based on what I've read here and elsewhere on the Lairdsville incident, I agree with everything jaybird, ff714 and George have said.

                2: There are some members at my station that were in diapers when I was in high school. I take their feedback and suggestions seriously because I know they have more experience than me.

                3: My loo is at least 7 years younger than me. He's got training up the wazoo and the experience to back it up. I think this is an important consideration: he doesn't act like the typical horndog boozin' womanizin' 23 year old. He *might* be one outside of the department but when he's in station, he's all class and truly demands and deserves the respect given to a line officer.

                I guess my point is this: I like the suggestion that you get the necessary certifications THEN "apprentice" with someone who's been a Training Officer long enough to have several layers of crust. When you're ready to take on the responsibilities for training, behave as a training officer should.


                • #9
                  I must say that experience and total understanding of evolutions is paramount in the training officer's background. Textbook knowledge is great. Backing that up with "firsthand" knowledge gained in actual scenarios would be ideal. The only way to accomplish that in short order...would be extensive and expensive academy courses. Still, even that falls short of actual fireground experience.

                  If the majority of your firefighters believe that training has become a problem under the current system, why not suggest a training committee be established. Four or five members, including yourself, could establish training goals, objectives, standards and drills. Instead of putting the entire responsibility on one individual, divide it up among this training committee.

                  Take the time to visit other departments in your area. Ask questions on how they accomplish training objectives. Reach out to your nearest fire academy and see what they can offer in the way of training materials, drill outlines, etc.

                  Last but not least, visit the Firehouse.com Training section. It's there for you....use it.FH.com Training
                  Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
                  Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

                  *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
                  On the web at www.section2wildfire.com


                  • #10
                    Ok First let me say thank you to all who have offered their insight, now to answer some questions, I was an exproler then Jr.Firefighter until i was 18 and then I became interior, I have New York FF1, Auto Extrication, Commanding the Inital Response, Fire Behavior and Arson Awareness, Mask Confidence, and a Training Officer Workshop course, I was "apprenticing" under our former Training Officer until he passed away in the line the of duty, our department runs approx 1,500 calls a year of which 400 are fire calls, in any given month we will have 1-2 "Working" Structure Fires (more than room and contents) in our district and go mutual aid to other companies, I'm not sure if I am going to step up to Training Officer or just continue "Apprenticing" with someone whom the Chiefs choose but thank you for the input...Stay Safe
                    Last edited by RescuHoppy7; 09-10-2003, 04:45 PM.
                    NYS FF1/AEMT-CC
                    IAEP Local 152
                    "You stopped being in charge when I showed up"


                    • #11
                      Let the Elders know you'd like to continue apprenticing as with the new training officer.

                      Focus on training yourself for now. That's not neccessarily aimed at what "classes" you've taken -- it's aimed at making sure you act in a calm, professional, consistent basis and are able to demonstrate your competency to the "elders" as well as your fellow firefighters.

                      At 18, should you be a departmental training officer? Nope.

                      Can you help prepare the classes? Yep.

                      Can you teach skills? Sure can.

                      Teaching other members, individually and in small groups is a great way to get your knowledge and motor skills down cold.

                      A department running the volume of calls you describe is going to have other, very experienced members who can serve as department training officer and make sure the curriculm "fits" with how your department operates and what it traditionally encounters.

                      Not everything you learn at a state class necessarily fits at home, and even when you learn good knowledge, intergrating into your current operations is one of the biggest challenges a training officer can face. One of the biggest problems I've seen is when you have people who are reading from different play-books, and they may adapt some tactic they learned in a class somewhere, while other members are still expecting to do things in a different way. Adopting new tactics and ways is tough, and it really takes working out a good plan to do that -- and that needs knowledge held by the experienced members who've seen the organization operate for years.

                      IACOJ Canine Officer


                      • #12
                        My condolences go out to you, the members of the Owego Fire Department and the family of Stephen G. Gavin.

                        Owego has some big boots to fill. I'm sure he will be missed dearly.

                        Whatever you decide, I commend you for seeking advice among the members of these forums. Good Luck!
                        Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
                        Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

                        *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
                        On the web at www.section2wildfire.com


                        • #13
                          LT. and i have 2 years under my belt

                          I have receive the rank of Lt. in my department just over a month ago. Sure some ppl think i havent proved myself to them, but i have followed every course made available to me by the department and worked hard during every training and proved myself. I'm currently certified as an in house instructor and working on my level 1 instrutors course. I am also Fire Prevention officer. I think from experience point i might not be ready for LT, But from what ive seen and all the work i put in, i deserve it!! Just in 2 years went from candidate to LT. and proud of it!!


                          • #14
                            Too young.

                            I have to agree with the majority of the guys here, you're entirely way to young. People a lot of times tend not to realize the responsiblity you have when you're placed into positions such as the training officer. I have been through a lot of training, I have national certs in FF I and II plus numerous other classes, no need to sit here and write them out. I've been an interior firefighter for 3 years now. I'm from a company that runs 600+ fire calls a year. There is absolutely no way I feel ready to take over a position such as training officer or any other officer for that matter. And for my age, I'm one of the more experianced and trained firefighters in my company. I'm happy I can say our youngest officers are 26 and have a lot of experiance and a minimum of 8 years of firefighting to back them up. Not to sound bad here, but it never made sense to me how you can be a firefighter for such a short time as only a couple years and then be given the responsibity of being an officer with such little experiance.
                            I have every aspiration of moving up in my company one day or moving somewhere else and advancing my career. As for right now though, I think your better off sitting back and helping someone else who has the training, experiance, understanding, and know how to get the job done properly and safely.
                            Good luck!
                            Last edited by FORTff; 09-11-2003, 07:10 PM.


                            • #15
                              But the situation with many volunteer fire departments is high turnover.

                              What if you are the only guy or gal left with enough experience to run the place?

                              Chris Jones
                              Buffalo-Mt. Pisgah Fire Dept.
                              Kershaw, SC


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