Tag Archives: #fireofficertrust

Know Your Enemy!!!

Learn all you can about fire behavior and fire dynamics!

 

5 Failures of Command

936680_331981183594673_40530468_n  by John Alston
Recently, I had a conversation with a group of Fire Officers about the state of Leadership and Character, in the ranks of the modern day fire service. I stated, without fear of contradiction that the “First-line Supervisor” Rank was the most critical position on the job.  We all agreed.  We went through all of the ranks and discussed them, 1 by 1; their impact on our profession, in all of its aspects. We then began to discuss the effectiveness and/or the lack thereof. We are willing to stipulate that there are so many areas to cover, that we ran out of time. There were so many items that we had to start narrowing the focus.   We got down to 5.
They are:
1) Poor Communications
2) Lack of Accountability
3) Lack of Discipline
4) Lack of Commitment
5) Lack of Training
  1. Poor Communications – As is stated, so many times, communication is the principle method by which we get things done.  At every level in the fire service, when there is a gap in service (both for our External and Internal Customers), the lack of communications or poor communication rises to the top of the list.  Whether in the Fire Station, Headquarters or in the street, poor communications are at the root of calamities, disasters and miscues.   Written orders, guidelines and rules must be clearly formulated and clearly communicated. Public Fire Education and Fire Prevention efforts must take the “end-user” into consideration.  Complete and succinct information can make working with the public, on important issues, so much more easier.  Yet, many Officers are not trained in effective communications and many don’t know when communications have gone awry.
  2. Lack of Accountability – ACCOUNTABILITY: for actions and responsibilities; for crew members, equipment and tasks, particularly at the scene of emergencies.  Lack of Accountability could also be classified as a Lack of Responsibility; members being responsible for their own actions. A few years back, I saw so many classes being offered on Accountability Systems, Rapid Intervention Crews, May-Day’s and Self-Rescue techniques.  I taught many of them.  The prevailing issue that came up was working to keep our people from getting into those situations in the first place. Purposeful and proactive accountability can aid to that end.  When we impress upon our people that situational awareness is paramount, we are telling them to be accountable.
  3. Lack of Discipline – Our service is effected, negatively, not by the exercise and issuance of discipline, but by the lack of the same.  Many members talk about the lack of morale from time to time.  Some attribute it to contracts, equipment, schedules, the person at the top, Officers, etc.  However, I can say that the lack of discipline is a more pernicious element to low morale than any other.  It’s easy to blame the Chief, Commissioner or Fire Director for your woes, however, what is going on in your neck of the woods.  What about the things you have direct control over.  I have found that when discipline is effectively applied and evenly enforced; when members know what your expectations are and you are willing to hold them to the standards, morale and productivity improve.  It starts and ends with you!  Yes, YOU!  Lack of discipline, in your own personal and professional demeanor/deportment, can be contagious.  You wear your uniform improperly, so will your subordinates; come to work late and stay unshaven/disheveled, so will your subordinates; cut corners, they will; break rules, they will.
  4. Lack of Commitment – I am a big proponent of commitments and being sure that you are clear on them. It is a significant character trait for firefighters and fire officers that is severely lacking these days.  I have seen a great shift from a true commitment to the job, your crew, your officer and yourself  to a true commitment to “yourself”.  The number of self-centered, self-absorbed, conceited and narcissistic firefighters is at an all time high.  It permeates every aspect of our service and I don’t see the trend slowing.  There are several reasons why, but commitment stands out.  Look up from the phone, laptop and/or iPAD and see what has happened to our beloved profession.  It’s not pretty.
  5. Lack of Training – How does one get to Carnegie Hall?; Practice, Practice, Practice.  How does one become an Effective Commander in the Fire Service (one that members will Trust)? TRAIN, TRAIN, TRAIN!  You have to train, to acquire the confidence, skill sets and competence to operate in your position. You must read, take courses and network with other more experienced fire officers to stay abreast of emerging technologies.  You must seek a mentor and then be  a mentor to someone else.  Your training must be multi-disciplined.  There are some great corporate management books out there.  There is required reading for our profession and acquired reading.  Be a sponge.  Continue on a course of achievement and education.  It works!

expanded podcast online…

 Copyright 2012 John Alston. All rights reserved.

NFA: Managing Officer Program

National_Fire_Academy
The National Fire Academy

Managing Officer Program

The National Fire Academy’s (NFA’s) Managing Officer Program is a multiyear curriculum that introduces emerging emergency services leaders to personal and professional skills in change management, risk reduction and adaptive leadership. Acceptance into the program is the first step in your professional development as a career or volunteer fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) manager, and includes all four elements of professional development: education, training, experience and continuing education.

How the Managing Officer Program benefits you

As a Managing Officer Program student, you will build on foundational management and technical competencies, learning to address issues of interpersonal and cultural sensitivity, professional ethics, and outcome-based performance. On completion of the program, you will:

  • Be better prepared to grow professionally, improve your skills, and meet emerging professional challenges.
  • Be able to embrace professional growth and development in your career.
  • Enjoy a national perspective on professional development.
  • Understand and appreciate the importance of professional development.
  • Have a network of fire service professionals who support career development.

The Managing Officer Program consists of:

  • Five prerequisite courses (online and classroom deliveries in your state).
  • Four courses at the NFA in Emmitsburg, Maryland.
  • A community-based capstone project.

A certificate of completion for the Managing Officer Program is awarded after the successful completion of all courses and the capstone project.

Selection criteria for the Managing Officer Program

The selection criteria for the Managing Officer Program are based on service and academic requirements.

Service Requirement

At the time of application, you must be in a rank/position that meets either the Training or Experience requirements below. Your chief (or equivalent in nonfire organizations) verifies this training and experience through his or her signature on the application.

1. Training
You should have a strong course completion background and have received training that has exposed you to more than just local requirements, such as regional and state training with responders from other jurisdictions.
This training can be demonstrated in one of many forms, which may include, but not be limited to, the following:

  • Certification at the Fire Officer I level (based on National Fire Protection Association 1021, Standard for Fire Officer Professional Qualifications).
  • Credentialed at the Fire Officer designation through the Center for Public Safety Excellence.
  • Training at the fire or EMS leadership, management and supervisory level.
  • State/Regional symposiums, conferences and workshops supporting leadership, management and supervision.
  • Other training that supports the competencies identified for the Managing Officer in the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) Officer Development Handbook, Second Edition.

2. Experience
You must have experience as a supervising officer (such as fire operations, prevention, technical rescue, administration or EMS), which could include equivalent time as an “acting officer.”

Academic Requirement

To be considered for the Managing Officer Program, you must have:
Earned an associate degree from an accredited institution of higher education.
OR
Earned a minimum of 60 college credit hours (or equivalent quarter-hours) toward the completion of a bachelor’s degree at an accredited institution of higher education.
In addition, you need to pass these courses before applying (available both locally and online through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the NFA):

How to apply to the Managing Officer Program

You may submit an application package at any time during the year, but not later than Dec. 15. The first sessions of the Managing Officer Program will be offered in April and August of 2015. Students who apply by Dec. 15, 2014 will be selected for one of the 2015 sessions or a session offered in 2016 at a date to be determined.
To apply, submit the following:

  1. FEMA Form 119-25-1 General Admissions Application Form (PDF, 337 Kb). In Block 9a, please specify “Managing Officer Program.”
  2. A letter requesting admission to the Managing Officer Program. The letter should include (with no more than one page per item):
    • Your specific duties and responsibilities in the organization.
    • A description of your most substantial professional achievement.
    • What you expect to achieve by participating in the program.
    • How your background and experience will contribute to the program and to fellow participants.
    • A description of a challenging management topic in your organization.
  3. A letter from the chief of the department (or equivalent in nonfire organizations) supporting your participation in the Managing Officer Program. The letter must certify that you have supervisory responsibilities and that all of the information in the application packet is true and correct.
  4. A copy of a transcript from an accredited degree-granting institution of higher education.
  5. A resume of professional certifications including date and certifying organization.
  6. A resume of conventional and online management and leadership courses completed, including title, date, location and host of the training.

Send your application package to:

National Emergency Training Center
Admissions Office
16825 South Seton Ave.
Emmitsburg, MD 21727

Curriculum for the Managing Officer Program

Prior to Oct. 1, 2017, you may take prerequisite courses before, during and after the NFA on-campus first and second year program. Starting Oct. 1, 2017, prerequisite courses must be completed before beginning the on-campus program.
Select a course code below to see the course description.

Prerequisites First-year on-campus courses Second-year on-campus courses
“Introduction to Emergency Response to Terrorism” (Q0890) “Applications of Community Risk Reduction” (R0385) “Contemporary Training Concepts for Fire and EMS” (R0386)
“Leadership I for Fire and EMS: Strategies for Company Success” (F0803 or W0803) “Transitional Safety Leadership” (R0384) “Analytical Tools for Decision-Making” (R0387)
“Leadership II for Fire and EMS: Strategies for Personal Success” (F0804 or W0804)
“Leadership III for Fire and EMS: Strategies for Supervisory Success” (F0805 or W0805)
“Shaping the Future” (F0602 or W0602)

Managing Officer Program Capstone Project

The Managing Officer Program Capstone Project allows you to apply concepts learned in the program toward the solution of a problem in your home district.
You and the chief of your department (or equivalent in nonfire organizations) must meet to identify a problem and its scope and limitations. The scope of the project should be appropriate to your responsibilities and duties in the organization, and it should be appropriate to the Managing Officer Program. Possible subjects include:

  • Lessons learned from one of the core courses required in the Managing Officer Program.
  • Experiences of the Managing Officer as identified in the IAFC Officer Development Handbook, Second Edition.
  • An issue or problem identified by your agency or jurisdiction.
  • Lessons learned from a recent administrative issue.
  • Identification and analysis of an emerging issue of importance to the department.

Before initiating the project, you must submit a letter from your chief indicating the title of the project, projected outcomes, how it will be evaluated or measured, and approval for the project to go forward. When the project is completed, your chief must submit a letter indicating that it was completed successfully.

http://www.usfa.fema.gov/nfa/managing_officer_program/index.shtm

The Big Move…

It’s really not a big move at all.

I am working in so many areas that it became apparent that I needed a media apparatus that could keep up with me.  WordPress was suggested a long time ago and as with most folks…change came slowly.

Let me know what you think.  I have been importing articles and posts from my other sites, so I apologize if you have “Seen that Before”… lol.

Maybe you’re like me and when you view something again…you see something you missed or never saw before…

At the very least, chalk it up to me trying to organize my thoughts in one place…

You try doing that and let me know how you make out….

Be well…