This chapter presents the recommendations of the Training Committee of the Wildfire Task Force. The Committee reviewed training requirements for firefighters that may be involved in fighting wildfires. The intent of the recommendations of this Committee is to enhance the ability of the firefighters, both structural and wildland, to better understand the different concepts and tactics of suppression, thereby providing a safer environment for the firefighter and the public.
The purpose of this chapter is to provide a list of training courses
available and suggest ways of obtaining this training. It is not intended
to dictate to a chief or commissioner as to what is needed in their district.
What has been devised is a three (3) tier system for training:
The first tier of training would be for Firefighter level 1 with this training designed for the beginner. The Committee agrees that "Essentials" is a lengthy course and it would not be practical to add additional time to it. The Committee suggests setting a time limit, such as by the first, second or third year, that individuals who are Firefighter level 1 receive a course in basic Incident Command System (ICS), as approved by Suffolk County FRES (described by the National Fire Academy) or the ICS that is approved by the National Wildfire Coordinating Group (NWCG). It is recommended, that this group and the Wildfire Task Force bring their individual ICS Plans together to show solidarity. Another course for the beginner should address the safety aspect of wildland fire suppression. This course could be taken out of the Standards for Survival Course of the NWCG or be developed by the Suffolk County Training Academy.
The second tier of training would focus on train the trainer type of instruction. The Committee recognizes that there are many experienced senior firefighters, ex-chiefs, current chiefs and line officers that do an exceptional job every time they respond to a wildfire. Some of these individuals, however, may not be the "in house instructors" for training new members or refreshing the two to five year members. Therefore the Committee makes the following recommendations for this training.
The train the trainer participant should be someone in the individual fire department who would take a handoff course, bring the information back to his/her department and train or jointly train that particular department. Some of the courses that could be adapted for this type of instruction would be brush truck operations in a wildfire setting, HAZMAT awareness, communications, protocol and discipline, wildfire safety courses, wildland-urban interface survival course, which is also a good public education course, instruction on interactive forms/reports and review of the Unified Command System.
The last or third tier of training would provide structured training sessions given by qualified instructors from Suffolk County Fire Academy, or the NYS Forest Rangers and/or representatives from the National Wildfire Coordinating Groups (NWCG). A list of available wildfire firefighter training courses is provided in Appendix F.
An additional suggested training topic would cover fire prevention. This would be in conjunction with the P-101 course, which is Introduction to Wildfire Protection, but it would be targeted to the public. The first course would be Urban Interface Survival, which is six hours long and could also be a train the trainer fire department course. This particular course would be given to the general public to inform them on how to protect themselves during fire emergencies. The next would be a quick public awareness course dealing with fire danger ratings, fire indexes and the like, that would be one to two hours.
To compliment this prevention course is the course P-110 Inspecting Fire Prone Property (two hours), this would work to the advantage of the Code Enforcement people, the Fire Marshals and Fire Chiefs. Then finally, there is a need to have an education program on prescribed fire, for the public and for the fire service personnel. NWCG is working on such a project, but it is not yet completed.
The Committee feels that the use of an Incident Command System (ICS) is both essential to the proper management for any emergency and paramount in providing for firefighter safety. Therefore, the Committee recommends that all departments utilize an ICS and that the Suffolk County Fire Academy ICS course be completed by all line and chief officers of the individual departments.