Fire Instructor Development

Officer Mentoring Preserves Fire Service Heritage

Issue 7 and Volume 160.

BY DOUG SCHRAGE MANY FIRE DEPARTMENTS FACE THE CHALLENGE of compensating for the loss of experience, skill, and institutional knowledge when senior members retire. Normally, the older veterans pass on this valuable information to newer firefighters and officers; this is essential in developing future leaders, regardless of whether there is a formal officer development program. However, abnormally high turnover and substantial departmental growth may interfere with this transfer of knowledge. Losing a large number of experienced members in a short time negatively impacts safety, operational effectiveness, and the passing on of important fire service traditions and values. (1) The new officer instructs two probationary firefighters on considerations when stretching the first attack line. At the far right, the mentor, a retired captain, is observing. Later, the mentor and officer will discuss the mentor’s observations on the new captain’s direction of the firefighters. (Photos by Paul J. Urbano.) Click here to…

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