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Recently it was decided at a department that they would no longer be allowing their men to attend outside training because of a discretion in workman's comp. They will still send some of their members to required classes for special teams, but if for example a member wanted to attend a truck ops class at FDIC they could not.

In the past if a member wanted to attend such a class it was not an issue. They still had to pay for the class out of pocket and take vacation time if it interfered with their shift to attend, but the department would still sign off for them.

Now because the department refuses to cover their members under workman's comp for those classes it eliminates the possibility of attending since any major training center or company require you to be covered under workman's comp.

I would like your opinion on this new "policy" and how your department stands on this topic. Any and all input would be greatly appreciated and helpful. Thanks.

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This sounds similar to a situation in a neighboring department. They will only let you attend training outside the dept. if it is within a certain milage to the city. Reasoning being is becuase when you go to training they consider you on duty and if you die in a crash on the way there they don't want to have to pay LODD benfits and the like.

My FD lets you go to what ever you want and if they have the money they will pay for it and even give you a staff car and gas card for the ride.
I’m no legal expert, but there may be another issues here besides straight worker’s comp. If a department sends a person to training off-duty, and the training is work related, the employer may be required by law to compensate the employee for their time. With budgets being what they are, paying folks (possibly at time +1/2) to attend the training may not be possible. The next option could then be to have the employee attend on their own time voluntarily. Here’s the rub. In some States, workers comp will not cover employees through their primary employers WC program when they are volunteering to attend such activities. If the employer does decide to cover the employee with WC, then it may no longer be considered volunteering, and the employer is back to required compensation for the employee. I don’t know if this is the issue in this case, but it may be something to look at. Personally, I think time spent in quality training such as what FDIC offers is tremendously valuable and should be a priority in the budget. These are unprecedented tough times, however, and we’re sure to see more scrutiny of every dollar spent. Good luck, and FIGHT FOR YOUR TRAINING!

It may do some good to research and develop a industry wide look at training to defend your postion. I know that the majority of departments encourge and support outside training. It is the industry standard. With any insurance group, WC included, they base thier payout policies on industry best practices. Training, without question, is a best practice in fire fighting. Not allowing any training other than what a particular city provides is a failed and flawed practice at best. I feel you could easly write a risk model that supprorts that position. Because,by not allowing certain advanced or specialized outside training, they are saying they do not value the members safety. Further they are allowing a practice of inadequate response for certain types of emergencies and calls. When that policy has to stand next to the industries policies one day, it wil fold up, causing great liability to your department. Unfortunately it will probably come at the expense of a brother(sister for CJ) or a civilian.

Every deparment has a core training program that implements it's particular culture. They then supplement that culture with ouside training. It is what allows us to become a more complete and rounded industry. I am the training coordinator for my department. I do help the members in choosing training that benefits our culture but I greatly encourge them to go.

If you need any help writing a risk model, let me know. I do those types of reports consistently.


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