NFPCA Surveys Education And Training Programs
To address the needs of the fire services and others involved in fire prevention and control education and training, the National Academy for Fire Prevention and Control took a look at the current status of fire-related education and training programs offered in the United States and its territories.
To do this, the National Fire Prevention and Control Administration authorized a national survey of the existing programs. The results of this survey are being used to help the academy identify and determine the scope of fire service training and education programs now available in the United States. The group which conducted the survey also made recommendations on programs which could be implemented into academy courses.
A stratified random sampling by region and population was used for the survey. The target of response from 10 percent of the nation’s 25,000 fire departments was reached. The survey was conducted late in 1975. The statistical abstract and recommendations are based on that survey.
Data was compiled based on responses from 2727 fire departments, 246 colleges and universities and 49 state training programs, plus a response from the District of Columbia and from three United States territories.
The consortium of four fire service organizations conducting the survey included the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the International Association of Fire Fighters (AFL/CIO), the International Society of Fire Service Instructors and the National Pi re Protection Association.
- The National Academy for Fire Prevention and Control must provide a focal point for fire education and training.
- There is a distinct need for increased education and training activities at all levels and for increased uniformity in methods and materials.
- Officer development programs are not sufficiently comprehensive. They lack uniformity and are not widely available.
- There is limited availability of fire education and training instructors with the required mix of teaching skills and technical expertise.
- There appears to be a lack of technical training for fire service personnel in the area of fire prevent ion activities.
- There appears to be a lack of technical training for arson investigators.
- There appears to he, in many states, a lack of commitment by state governments to either the organization or funding for fire service education and training.
- The fragmentation of fire service training in some states results in the absence of identifiable organizations or agencies through which federal programs can be routed.
- Education and training programs of the National Academy should be, where possible, consistent with standards developed through the National Professional Qualifications Board of the Joint Council of National fire Service Organizations.
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There is a need for clear definition of the role of the two-year college and for greater delineation of their fire-related programs.
There is a need to develop a national system in fire education and training to reach out to volunteers, paid fire fighters, fire service officers, managers and administrators, and to extend to industry, commerce, the educator and the public.
There is a need for technical and finanacial assistance to all fire service levels -state, county and local; for a national core facility for actual delivery of certain programs of fire education and training; and for assistance and guidance to institut ions of higher learning.
Local fire department training
In the area of local fire department training, the survey showed:
Instructors from half of the departments are not qualified.
Seventy-five percent of the departments do not require officer development training.
Sixty percent of the depart ments do not conduct fire inspector training.
Forty percent do not conduct specialist training such as arson investigation.
Ninety-five percent do not have fire simulation capabilities.
Eighty-five percent do not have a training library.
Only 4 percent of the overall total budget is spent for training; only 1 percent in fully-paid departments.
State fire training programs
In the state fire training area, the report showed:
Seventeen states do not provide officer development t raining.
Twenty-four states do not provide fire prevention training.
Fifteen states do not provide training in the many specialist areas.
State training budgets ranged from $700 to $628,000. The amount spent for each person trained ranged from $4 to $185.
Fire-related college programs
In the fire-related college programs, the survey showed:
Of the 242 degree programs identified, 223 were associate degree programs, 17 were baccalaureat programs and two were masters programs. ‘There were no doctoral programs.
The total enrollment for the school year 1974-1975 was 40,916.
Forty-four states have college programs. but 33 percent of the fire departments do not have access to any of them.
A comprehensive analysis is being made and the full survey report will be available later this year.