Fire Engineering Training Community

Where firefighters come to talk training

How soon should a firefighter be able to "certify" as a Firefighter II?


Hello Brothers and Sisters Long Time No Web Surf


Sorry I've been away, but enough with the sniveling...


According to the Essentials Manual 5th Edition, they define Fire Fighter 1 as, " a person who is minimally trained to function safely and effectively as a member of a firefighting team under direct supervision." They go on to explainm, " A person meeting the requirements of Level 1 is by no means considered a "complete" firefighter. This is not accomplished until the objectives of both Levels 1 and 2 have been satisfied."


"Firefighter II may operate under general supervision and may be expected to lead a group of equally or lesser trained personnel through the performance of a specified task."


So that would mean a Firefighter 2 acts as an officer, or is it just me?


With that thought in mind, I would love to hear as to when firefighters in your area are allowed to test for Firefighter 2? In my neck of the woods, many do during a recruit academy or within a year of their initial training.


Are my questions loaded? Of course they are, its Pandora's Box! Hope to hear your thoughts.

Views: 180

Replies to This Discussion

Mike -

I saw your post and couldn't resist; 33 people have looked at your post and no one has responded.... let the box open......

Looking through the NFPA standard, times sure have changed; it's been a while since I had to look through 1001 to support a position...turns out I can't support my original thoughts on this topic through objective documents. Back in the day (I never thought I'd be around long enough to say that!!) FFII was needed to be a professional firefighter. There were a lot of advanced skills that were part of the standard. In my home state of Ohio, you couldn't be hired as a paid FF without FFII certification. I want to say that vertical ventilation was once a FFII skill; if it wasn't you ge the point. You had to have FFII to receive ALL of the skills we now consider to be required firemanship.

Now it seems nearly all of the skills needed to put out a fire are part of FF I. I only found a few major firefighting topics for FFII. Those deal with with flammable liquids and gases for FFII. As you have stated, the others are doing reports and leading a crew...

So the question is, How long can someone serve as a FFI before being a FF II? In our great department of Charlotte, NC this has been adressed pretty adequatly. While recruits meet NFPA 1001 Level 2 upon graduation from the academy, they internally are only viewed as FFI. As a matter of fact this is even their official job title. After 3 years and completion of an apparatus and hydraulics class, and meeting North Carolina rescue technical qualifications they are eligible to be promted to FFII. Before my tenure in Charlotte, there was actually a promotional test to FFII and that requirement has actually been discussed again. I would imagine it will infact be a tested promotion to FFII in the next 2-5 years.

A FFII in Charlotte is qualified to fill in for the Captain as needed; I think this is the main reason why the department would like to eventually go back to testing for the position. Not that FFII's have failed miserably when riding the seat, but I think there has been an introspective look that there is a great responsiblity to fill the role of commanding a fire company. Granted it is the CO's responsibility to provide much of that guidence, but sometimes that doesn't happen for many reasons...or the employee is simply not ready or capable to handle the responsibility.

I think the days of OJT (on-the job trainng) are pretty much over and many departments want personnel to at least have the maximum amount of certification they can get before they walk in the door. A certification doesn't make the man or women in our industry, experience and mental capacity does. I have meet some smart firefighters with little experience and "experienced" firefighters that aren't as good as you'd expect. You get a smart and experienced guy and you end up with someone like.....Mike Walker!!!! :)


Jeff Matthews

Excellent information Jeff. It makes sense to me how Charlotte is doing it.


Policy Page


Our contributors' posts are not vetted by the Fire Engineering technical board, and reflect the views and opinions of the individual authors. Anyone is welcome to participate.

For vetted content, please go to

Fire Engineering Editor in Chief Bobby Halton
We are excited to have you participate in our discussions and interactive forums. Before you begin posting, please take a moment to read our policy page. -- Bobby Halton

Be Alert for Spam
We actively monitor the community for spam, however some does slip through. Please use common sense and caution when clicking links. If you suspect you've been hit by spam, e-mail

FE Podcasts

Check out the most recent episode and schedule of

© 2020   Created by fireeng.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service