Cass County introduces latest firefighter graduates
Published 7:59 am Thursday, April 10, 2014
Twelve Cass County Firefighters have been in class since October 2013, diligently studying and working on the skills necessary to become fire officers. The Dowagiac Fire Department is acting as host and classroom for these firefighters to participate in the 168 hours of classroom training.
The road to becoming a certified fire officer in the State of Michigan starts with the qualifications. The student must be 18 years of age or older, must be a member of an organized Michigan fire department, needs to have completed three years of service on a fire department before the first class session, and they must hold a Michigan Fire Fighters Training Council Fire Fighter I & II Certificate.
If qualifications are met, the student starts by taking the first of four prerequisite classes. Firefighting Strategies and Tactics encompass the first 40 hours. The students learn the skills needed to lead a group of firefighters on the emergency scene.
Next, Incident Safety Officer gives the student the skills to act as a safety officer on an incident scene, working as a liaison to the incident commander. This class is 16 hours in length.
All officers act as an instructor to the firefighters that they lead, so Educational Mythology is next. This class helps provide the students a basic understanding of the teaching/learning process. This requires an additional 16 hours of instruction.
The last of these prerequisite classes is NIMS – Incident Command Systems for the Fire Services. Participants gain the skills to help them function in overall participation and management of an incident. An additional 16 hours is needed for this course.
The final course that these students face is Company Officer. The students receive 80 hours of instruction on the management of fire service personnel. Subjects covered are supervision, administration, budgeting and office correspondence. The course ends with a 100 question final exam.
Once these firefighters graduate, they will be prepared to take on leadership roles within their departments and provide professional leadership for the fire service. This not only improves customer service, but promotes fire fighter safety and is compliant with professional standards and safety requirements.