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How many of you would rather be a Instructor and still be a front line Firefighter, or a 8 to 5 Training Officer. As I get older I think about maybe becoming a Training Officer some day, but I am afraid to leave shift work and Firefighting, but I also love all aspects of training and feel I could really benifit the department as a Training Officer. I am torn with this, any help and opinions would be great.

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I have been a full-time training guy for eight years now. I truly believe that I can have a much greater impact in my current role, than assigned to one of three shifts. This may seem obvious, but as the training guy, if you are not actively involved in the training and you sit in an ivory tower and do nothing but send out canned training, you probably will not notice any real impact. With that said, you must have the buy in and participation from the troops or it will not matter what role you are in. To answer your question more directly, I think you need to do just what you are doing and figure out how you can have the biggest positive impact and go for that full steam ahead. We all want to stay on shift and ride the rigs, that is a given, but if all of the good firefighters did only that, we would be in real trouble. I believe that as we mature in our careers, we owe it to the next generation of FF to pass on what we have learned. How can you do that the best? I know you have heard this before, but there will be those days when you wished you had made the other choice. Good luck!

I echo Scott's sentiments. I did the shift thing for 19 years. It was great and I served as training officer for 10 of those years. Having been on day for the past 7 years I have a much bigger impact. I stead of wondering why the other 2 shifts do things differently I now either lead the drill myself (I do this for one drill on all shifts each month) or I audit (watch) differnt shifts drill and take mental notes which I review with the officer leading the drill. I also meet with the officers each month to review the previsou drills and provided direction and expectations for the upcoming drills. As far as going on calls goes, I have an assigned department SUV that I take home and I am due on all significant events (fires, haz mats, extrcations, etc.). I get to gear up and go in and observe, provided direct feedback or on-the-spot instruction and it aids my credibility. No one ever says "well, see thats not what was going on" because generally I see what they see.

I have a great bunch of officers and firefighters who train hard when led, and that's my job. Hopefully, the mentoring and modeling will pay dividens when it's time to retire.
I've been an 8-5 training officer since Jan 1. I would love to go back to shift work, but the opportunity for that isn't there. I also love the training aspect of the job but I really miss my time on the truck having the fun and the guys on the shift. It's a tough decision that you have to make. I'm going on 10 months and am still having trouble adjusting to the 8-5 thing. I agree with Scott and Drew that we can improve our firefighters and the fire service when the right people take these positions. Although I miss the shift work after 22 years I also realized it might be my time to step to another level and accept those challenges. Although different there are rewards.
Be safe
Well said, scott

I am extremely fortunate that I enjoy the best of both worlds. I am a training officer that is on shift. The barrier between operations and training is lesson. I dont ride on the big rig, but im in the station and part of the gang. I'm not thier enemy (well on those south florida summer drill days...i guess im not their favorite). Being a Instructor/Safety Officer makes you a student of the fire service in all aspects. You MUST know your stuff. You have to be up on Policy and SOPs and be keen on your entire department's strengths and limitaions. Being on line as an officer you have to do the same but to a lessor scale. It taks a special person to be an instructor, no matter if it's shift or 8-5. I agree with scott, make an impact. Leave YOUR mark on your department and in the fire service. Brian , your words leave me to believe your leaning to training, the worst thing that can happen is that you learn something. Thats what it is all about.

Thanks for the replies, as far as wich way I am leaning, it just depends on the day. I am a Instructor now for KU and my department, I am also a Captain on an Engine Co. I love shift work and being a CO (been on the job 22 years). However, I have been doing training for the last seven years as well. We do not have a TO, it has been suggested that we get one and I was approached by my BC and told I was the name mentioned. I feel honored to be thought of that way, but scared to leave my Company Officer position. He keeps telling me what a huge asset I would be to the department, but I am not sure it is what I want, I do love all aspects of training. Oh well, I have some time to think about it, we dont have the position yet, but we will in the next year or so.


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