Training Division Changes To Attract Staff Suggested
Most fire service authorities agree that a quality training program does have a dramatically positive effect on the efficiency of a fire department. But what is the answer to a good training program? A major part of the answer is in attracting competent, recognized fire fighters to departmental or other types of training positions. Competent people will develop good training programs and hopefully convince both city and fire administrators of the need for progressive quality training. The question is how do we attract and retain the most respected and qualified fire officer or fire fighter in training positions.
Every instructor remembers that when he requested or was assigned to a training position his life style suddenly changed. No more 24-hour shifts or some other desirable work tour that allowed many hours or days off duty. He had to begin learning how to instruct. Then there were those other problems someone forgot to mention—scheduling, planning, budgets, maintaining training equipment, working with people, both subordinates and superiors from within and from outside the department. There were also those numerous problems sent to him because “administration” was sure the people in training could solve them. Finally, there was his surprise at the additional expense because the training job required more uniforms, and travel. I’ll bet one of his first thoughts was, “They didn’t tell me all about this organization before I signed on.”
Perhaps the answer then is offering career incentives for training personnel. These incentives should include: First, paying training officers more money than their counterparts in the fire fighting division; second, providing work tours for training personnel that are “competitive” with tour duties in the fire fighting division; third, give training officers some additional consideration for promotions; and fourth, provide training personnel with 24-hour transportation.
Let’s take a more in-depth look at these possible answers.
Paying more money
The Texas Commission on Fire Protection Personnel Standards and Education specifies different classifications of fire instructors. They are: instructor A, instructor B, instructor C, instructor advanced, and master instructor.
As many of us know, to obtain the higher instructor classifications one must successfully complete special instructor programs, plus college hours and degrees. This alone is justification for paying fire instructors more money than their counterparts in the fire fighting division.
The City of Forth Worth recently began paying additional money for those full-time training personnel in the instructor A and the advanced instructor classifications. Seventy-five dollars per month is paid to those instructors with the A classification, and $150 to those with advanced classification. Money many times provides the difference when attempting to attract and retain qualified people.
Once a fire fighter has adjusted to fire station life and the required tour of duty that accompanies the assignment, it is difficult to encourage him to change. Remember, the hours on and off duty have a direct bearing not only on the