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  • Do I have to go through another academy?

    Hi my name is Shaun. I just recently got out of the Military as a Firefighter. There I was certified as a FF II, along with many other certifications. My question is to anyone who has come from the Military trying to get California State Firefighter certification. Is there a way to get certified by California without having to go through another academy? There must be a way, I can’t be the only one that has faced this problem. If worse come to worse I will go though another fire academy, though I think that my time would be better spent on things that I haven’t already accomplished. If you have any comments or advise please send them my way. Thanks for your time.

  • #2
    ya you do man

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by shaunmills
      Hi my name is Shaun. I just recently got out of the Military as a Firefighter. There I was certified as a FF II, along with many other certifications. My question is to anyone who has come from the Military trying to get California State Firefighter certification. Is there a way to get certified by California without having to go through another academy? There must be a way, I can’t be the only one that has faced this problem. If worse come to worse I will go though another fire academy, though I think that my time would be better spent on things that I haven’t already accomplished. If you have any comments or advise please send them my way. Thanks for your time.
      Two of the last ten firefighters hired by my FD had been through the Air Force's Fire Academy. One is in the Air National Guard, the other came right of the USAF.

      Because they had their Firefighter 1 and 2 certifications, the Chief decided that they did not need to go through the Massachusetts Fire Academy. All they did was their orientation, then they were assigned to their groups. Both of them are excellent personnel, but they did state they missed the camaraderie of being in the MFA with the brothers and sisters they got appointed with.

      If it means getting a job, go through it all over again. Look at it this way.. you should ace the tests and have some fun on burn days!
      ‎"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

      Comment


      • #4
        CA FF cert

        For what it’s worth since it was so long ago. Back in 1983 when I was stationed at Mather AFB, Sacramento CA and worked as an active duty AF firefighter the state Fire Marshals office provided our training Chief certification forms for all of us G.I’s so we could be issued a State Certification. He certified us on all required tasks and training and the base Fire Chief signed off and forwarded all the paperwork downtown. A few weeks later we were presented our State Certificates. What I noticed is even back then there was nothing that the State required that we had not either been taught and practiced at Chanute or had done at Mather. If you are still on active duty have your training Chief contact the State Fire Marshals office they may be able to do the same thing today.

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        • #5
          In short: yes.

          In order to obtain a California OSFM Fire Fighter I certification (which's necessary for most suppression jobs here), you need to complete an SFM-accredited Fire Fighter I academy. California does not recognize any FFI certs but its own, so if you possess certification from somewheres else, about all you've got is a "leg-up" on everyone else when you go back through the academy.

          If you went to Goodfellow, so far as I know, you're SOL for CA...unless you can find a department that will sign off a FFI training record for you based upon your DoD certs, which isn't likely.
          My opinions might coincide with someone of importance's POV... I wouldn't know, since I never bothered to ask. My policy is: "Don't ask, don't care."

          IACOJ--West Coast PITA

          Comment


          • #6
            Since we are on the topic here, I was wondering 2 things:

            1. Why is CA & FL the only states where firefighting must be different that the rest of the country (wildfire exempted from that b/c they get some big ones)?

            2. Do the FF's of CA & FL in your HONEST opinion feel that this is right or wrong, and if you feel it is right, please explain.

            Not trying to **** off anyone, just trying to see if the FF's of those 2 states think that there should be some reciprocity for certain certs.

            Thanks
            A Fire Chief has ONLY 1 JOB and that's to take care of his fireman. EVERYTHING else falls under this.

            Comment


            • #7
              Not that its any consolation, but Fairfax County works the same way. No matter where you come from or what certs you have, to be a FF either career or vol, attendance to the County Fire Academy is a requirement. Its even worse than that, because if you attend as a vol and then decide to go career, you get to do it all over again, even though its the same school, and resources.

              However on the "plus" side, most other places in VA recognize that the FX Co Academy is about as good as they come, and will accept/recognize fire certs from here.
              If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)

              "I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD

              "Its not Rocket Science. Just use a LITTLE imagination." (Me)

              Get it up. Get it on. Get it done!

              impossible solved cotidie. miracles postulo viginti - quattuor hora animadverto

              IACOJ member: Cheers, Play safe y'all.

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              • #8
                If you get accepted by a fire department then you have to do what they say or look for another job. Don't whine about going to another fire academy because you will probably learn something new.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by the1141man
                  In short: yes.

                  In order to obtain a California OSFM Fire Fighter I certification (which's necessary for most suppression jobs here), you need to complete an SFM-accredited Fire Fighter I academy. California does not recognize any FFI certs but its own, so if you possess certification from somewheres else, about all you've got is a "leg-up" on everyone else when you go back through the academy.

                  If you went to Goodfellow, so far as I know, you're SOL for CA...unless you can find a department that will sign off a FFI training record for you based upon your DoD certs, which isn't likely.

                  Pretty much everything he said above. Nailed it. You will learn more in a CA SFM accredited academy.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by MalahatTwo7
                    because if you attend as a vol and then decide to go career, you get to do it all over again, even though its the same school, and resources.
                    That was not always true. We tried an accelerated program for existing county volunteer firefighters who completed the evening/weekend recruit school at West Ox and were EMT-Basic certified.

                    It was a two-part process:

                    They were expected to pass the engine and truck evolutions that the on-duty crews were going through during the Operational Academy Rotation (OARs). These evolutions were available in every fire station.

                    If they passed would attend a "finishing school" that would get them up to speed on some of the topics, equipment, practices and procedures that a county employee was expected to know. The chief also wanted to make sure they were proficient in all of the stay-alive/self-rescue and EMT skills.

                    Including the two to three days of related county administrative activities, (warehouse, FIT testing, county paperwork) we projected a three week experienced recruit school.

                    Had 14 - 20 candidates. I was stunned and embarassed at the poor performance of these candidates on the evolutions. The only candidates to pass completed their volunteer recruit school within the last 9 months.

                    There was almost a linear relationship between evolution performance and time from volunteer recruit school graduation. Those with more than two years since graduation failed most of the evolutions.

                    At that time we had a stable, experienced and very talented group of evening and weekend instructors. They integrated the OARS evolutions into the volunteer recruit school schedule. Candidates knew about the accelerated recruit school requirements.

                    I was not expecting this result - I was working at the Academy at that time and promoted the accelerated recruit school.

                    All of the candidates that did not pass the evolutions completed the traditional recruit school without difficulty.
                    ____________________________________

                    Now, the department has a program with the public schools and community college to develop candidates that have their ALS certification and fire department orientation by time they are eligible to apply for full-time employment when they are 19 years old.

                    Mike
                    Last edited by MikeWard; 09-22-2006, 09:49 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by JTFIRE80
                      Since we are on the topic here, I was wondering 2 things:

                      1. Why is CA & FL the only states where firefighting must be different that the rest of the country (wildfire exempted from that b/c they get some big ones)?

                      2. Do the FF's of CA & FL in your HONEST opinion feel that this is right or wrong, and if you feel it is right, please explain.

                      Not trying to **** off anyone, just trying to see if the FF's of those 2 states think that there should be some reciprocity for certain certs.

                      Thanks
                      I dont know anything about Florida's situation.

                      What I can tell you about California is that the standards are extremly high. Above and beyond the standard IFSTA stuff. Just take wildland alone, our situation here is for the most part unique. Major interface zones, a massive state auto/mutual aid program.

                      I am not trying to sound all elitist or something, its just the stardards are high and no one can just "cross over". If you want to come here, you will learn a lot from a CSFM accreddited academy. Atleast you have something to build on.
                      Last edited by CALFFBOU; 09-23-2006, 07:42 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by JTFIRE80
                        Since we are on the topic here, I was wondering 2 things:

                        1. Why is CA & FL the only states where firefighting must be different that the rest of the country (wildfire exempted from that b/c they get some big ones)?
                        Well, having never lived outside of CA, let alone had a FF position outside the state, I can't really make a cogent commentary on this one. I will say that CA has a penchant for redundancy... if it makes you feel any better, CA POST (Peace Officer Standards and Training) does the same thing WRT not recognizing another state/federal (FLETC) cert. Even further, several agencies, namely state ones (CA Highway Patrol, CA State Parks, CA Dept of Fish & Game) will make you take their academy, regardless of what prior academies or field LE experience you have.
                        Just the way things are here...

                        Originally posted by JTFIRE80
                        2. Do the FF's of CA & FL in your HONEST opinion feel that this is right or wrong, and if you feel it is right, please explain.
                        Like I said above--it's not necessarily right or wrong...it's just the way things are done here. Certainly your prior training and experience should count for something, but it seems that there's really no easy way to make it count for something, except an easier time through the CA academy. Sorry I can't give you much more than that.

                        Originally posted by JTFIRE80
                        Not trying to **** off anyone, just trying to see if the FF's of those 2 states think that there should be some reciprocity for certain certs.
                        Well, maybe if your cert matched 100% the items and time requirements on a CA FF1 training record, then I don't see any reason to deny you a CA FF1 cert provided you meet the other requirements. Then again, that's just me.
                        My opinions might coincide with someone of importance's POV... I wouldn't know, since I never bothered to ask. My policy is: "Don't ask, don't care."

                        IACOJ--West Coast PITA

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Just in case anyone was wanting specific citation and documentary evidence for what BOU and I stated...

                          From the State Fire Marshal Procedures Manual:

                          Pg 96:
                          (F) RECIPROCITY
                          (1) The authority to set standards for and certify fire service personnel extends only to employed or volunteer fire service personnel in California.
                          (a) Out-of-state fire fighters
                          1. A fire fighter from another state is eligible to become certified only after he or she serves in a fire department in California.
                          a. At this time, the State Board of Fire Services does not accept certification from any other state as being equivalent to certification in California.
                          2. Training received outside of California may, at the department's discretion, be evaluated for equivalency and recorded on the Fire Fighter I Training Record.
                          a. This review is conducted at the local level and not by State Fire Training.

                          (b) Military fire fighters
                          1. A military fire fighter is eligible to become certified only after he or she serves in a qualifying military fire department located in California.
                          2. Training received outside of California may, at the department's discretion, be evaluated for equivalency and recorded on the Fire Fighter I Training Record.
                          a. This review is conducted at the local level and not by State Fire Training.
                          Emphasis mine.

                          So like I said--if you can find a department that will sign-off an entire FF1 training record for you based upon DoD/out of state certs, more power to ya...chances are, though, they're just going to tell you to come back after you finish CA-approved FF1 training, just too much liability attaches if they sign you off based upon someone else's certs and you turn out to be a doofus.
                          My opinions might coincide with someone of importance's POV... I wouldn't know, since I never bothered to ask. My policy is: "Don't ask, don't care."

                          IACOJ--West Coast PITA

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by CALFFBOU

                            What I can tell you about California is that the standards are extremly high. Above and beyond the standard IFSTA stuff. Just take wildland alone, our situation here is for the most part unique. Major interface zones, a massive state auto/mutual aid program.

                            I am not trying to sound all elitist or something, its just the stardards are high and no one can just "cross over". If you want to come here, you will learn a lot from a CSFM accreddited academy. Atleast you have something to build on.
                            I disagree for the most part. I have actually attended an academy in CA, Goodfellow AFB academy and a large Texas department academy and all have been pretty much the same. The Texas academy actually had the highest standards. The only extra thing you get in California is more ICS and Wildland, which is actually an important thing. But you can take S-190 or whatever it is called for that.

                            Now just on a side note, the professionalism shown by many California departments and FF's is bar none. I know other states have great departments and such, but as a whole, California is very professional.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by truckmonkey42
                              I disagree for the most part. I have actually attended an academy in CA, Goodfellow AFB academy and a large Texas department academy and all have been pretty much the same. The Texas academy actually had the highest standards.
                              Just curious, where do work right now?

                              Comment

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