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Over the years I have had the privelage to work with many Fire Service Instructors from around our state as well as across the country. Some of them possess their local jurisdictions required Instr. 1 or 2 certifications and some do not. Some come with AA's, BS's or MS degrees, some with the school of "hard knocks" degree and some with just general BS. Some of these "experts" have achieved national recognition and their word has become gospel amongst many fire departments. But what happens if these "experts" haven't had the time and testing of actual fireground experience? Or what about the Instructor that has virtually no college or formalized training center experience but is the best at what they do like truck or engine work?

My question to Mob is what requirement; if any; balances out the Book smarts with the Street Smart experience of actually doing the job? What qualifies your instructors to teach the subjects that they are experts in? Have they done 10 or 15 years on a busy engine or truck company or are they fresh out of college with their degree. In no way am I degrading having a college education (I'm working on finishing mine as well), but where is the balance of books and first hand knowledge that should be required of Fire Service Instructors before they pass it on to other firefighters?

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Replies to This Discussion

Brian, I am shocked that you did not get any replys to this. I run a Training program for the state of Minnesota, our Inst. have to have 5 years experence be Fire Inst I cert. and work with our older inst for a period of time before we let them go on there own. We do make so exceptions if they are an expert in the field,EX. building Const. I do do beleave that a mix is the best but it is hard to replace good old fashion on the job training. Stay safe
Tim,
We had a similiar question on another thread that asked the difference between "qualified or certified" that generated much more conversation. I believe that the simple truth is that most states don't have any minimum requirements (like mine) or that they are inadequate. I've always been a firm believer that you should have a good mix of time on the job in the firehouse as well as the formal education that an instructor needs. I think it's great that Minn. has requirements to become an instructor. We are putting together the formal min. requirements for our instructors here at my training center in Okla. but unfortunately it's not a state wide requirement. We still have many quote "qualified" instructors teaching around the state (and I suspect the country) that are not qualified to teach entry level firefighters how to catch a plug let alone any type of advanced classes. Thanks for weighing in......
Stay safe,
Brian
Brian, My helmets off to you. Just because you set through all the training classes, I don't feel it makes you QUALIFIED TO INSTRUCT the class. I've taken classes from some of the top firefighters in the country. But the quality of the teaching must come from the CERTIFIED Instructor. Who has put the time or years, sweat, and mind set to deliver quality instruction. Minimum must be closely looked at. I've been involved in the fire service for over 20 yrs., however I don't feel that I have the qualification or certification to teach your class, because I haven't had the 20 yrs in the the firehouse.
I read Fire Instructors books, go to classes, to gain and to improve my abilities. But unless I put the hours on the front line, I can't be a quailifed instructor. FIre service I'm very Book smart, but unless I have a certified instructor, that doesn't make me a Norman, O'Connell, Ciampo, or McCormack.
A instructor must take the time to get their noses out of the book and get their bodies into the fire. Anyone can take a written test and read a book. But to be the best fire instructor you need to have the ash on you boots..........
Hopefully more ff in this state will become aware that we need to have high mims to be a Instructors. Thank you.
SIncerely, Keep up the great things your doing in ours state, bro
your sis
Jenn
Jenn Ross..aka "J-RO" said:
Brian, My helmets off to you. Just because you set through all the training classes, I don't feel it makes you QUALIFIED TO INSTRUCT the class. I've taken classes from some of the top firefighters in the country. But the quality of the teaching must come from the CERTIFIED Instructor. Who has put the time or years, sweat, and mind set to deliver quality instruction. Minimum must be closely looked at. I've been involved in the fire service for over 20 yrs., however I don't feel that I have the qualification or certification to teach your class, because I haven't had the 20 yrs in the the firehouse.
I read Fire Instructors books, go to classes, to gain and to improve my abilities. But unless I put the hours on the front line, I can't be a quailifed instructor. FIre service I'm very Book smart, but unless I have a certified instructor, that doesn't make me a Norman, O'Connell, Ciampo, or McCormack.
A instructor must take the time to get their noses out of the book and get their bodies into the fire. Anyone can take a written test and read a book. But to be the best fire instructor you need to have the ash on you boots..........
Hopefully more ff in this state will become aware that we need to have high mims to be a Instructors. Thank you.
SIncerely, Keep up the great things your doing in ours state, bro
your sis
Jenn
Jenn,
Cerified is a paper, that said I have a number of folks that are great Instructors that are very well respected and do nt have the paper to put on the wall. Yes you must put in the time and have the knowaldge but it will not make you a better person just because you have the paper. Stay Safe

Jenn Ross..aka "J-RO" said:
Brian, My helmets off to you. Just because you set through all the training classes, I don't feel it makes you QUALIFIED TO INSTRUCT the class. I've taken classes from some of the top firefighters in the country. But the quality of the teaching must come from the CERTIFIED Instructor. Who has put the time or years, sweat, and mind set to deliver quality instruction. Minimum must be closely looked at. I've been involved in the fire service for over 20 yrs., however I don't feel that I have the qualification or certification to teach your class, because I haven't had the 20 yrs in the the firehouse.
I read Fire Instructors books, go to classes, to gain and to improve my abilities. But unless I put the hours on the front line, I can't be a quailifed instructor. FIre service I'm very Book smart, but unless I have a certified instructor, that doesn't make me a Norman, O'Connell, Ciampo, or McCormack.
A instructor must take the time to get their noses out of the book and get their bodies into the fire. Anyone can take a written test and read a book. But to be the best fire instructor you need to have the ash on you boots..........
Hopefully more ff in this state will become aware that we need to have high mims to be a Instructors. Thank you.
SIncerely, Keep up the great things your doing in ours state, bro
your sis
Jenn
Tim you are right. I rather have a instructor like you that had followed or trained with. A sr instructo, then one who has a pretty wallpapered office. My hats off to you too. I'm trying to finish my degree too, but unless I have the time, I won't feel that I will be that quailified or certified as a instructor. Thank you too.
Jenn
Tim and Jenn,
It appears that we all feel the same way. What I'm really looking for is what are your local or state requirements that balance out the field experience with the classroom knowledge (certification). There has to be a starting point for a firefighter to begin their formal teaching of other brothers and sisters. What I've found so far is that it is one extreme or another. No experience but lots of papers hanging on the wall with their certifications or Tons of experience and little to no certifications. Oklahoma is a prime example- Fire Inst. I and you can be on your way influencing others in your own personnal beliefs without any life experiences to go with it. There has to be a balance.
Brian
Brian,
In Minnesota you are required to have a min. of 5 years on the job FF I & II (not certified) and Fire Inst. I before you can teach for our college system as a part time Inst. Now have there been casses were that can change, yes if we need an expert in building const. I have take one of my new firefighters and had them help me with a building const. class because they do that for a living, they talk building and I talk fire it is a great combo.Bottom line is you must know who you are getting. 25 years of service is not what it sounds if you were on the nozzle 3 times. This is not any easy topic due to all the opinons out there keep the faith and never give up.
Tim,
Sounds like you guys are pointed in the right direction. Careful hanging out with OG, he always manages to make me smile uncontrollably.

Stay safe,
Brian
OG not picking up what your saying?
Brian, Do you really think we could change the OKIE way of thinking? Why couldn't there be a mims of 5 yrs on the line before training for a instructor? I know of a dept close to my area that one of the instructors has only 4 yrs of experience as a firefighter, and 2 of those have been a training instructor, at their academy , and his degree is in police science. ( I promise I keep my police officer jokes to myself). But if there were mims of 5yrs experience and then a apprenice for at least 1 yr, with a seasoned instructor.. As Tim said they do in Minn., to get field experience.
Jenn
Tim,
Sorry. I saw the picture of you and Dave Gallager (OG=old Gallager vs. his son YG=young gallager) He's a friend of mine.

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