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The Training Division is part of the Operations branch at LFD and is involved with many facets of education and readiness.
The level of education required to operate at LFD has increased dramatically over the years. To begin with recruits have to meet Michigan requirements for professional firefighters including hazardous materials operations level training. State licensure as a Paramedic or EMT must also be met. Additionally, recruits must complete confined space and extrication training. Recruits then have to complete the process of preparing to operate within the department including specialty equipment, exposure control, and medical control certifications.
Training doesn't stop when a firefighter completes the recruit school, it is just starting. After the minimum competencies are completed employees must participate in professional development and continuing education. To maintain licensure as a Paramedic or Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) several continuing education credits must be earned. ACLS (advanced cardiac life support) and Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) for paramedics must be renewed every two years and renewal of State license is every three years.
Firefighting is not a static profession. Teamwork and cooperation are required to safely and efficiently operate in the often austere fire and rescue environments, and they are a result of training. From individual evolutions such as: fire attack, hydrant supply to various rescue and ladder techniques, training to stay ready to answer the call are all in a day's work for the Officers and fire fighters of LFD. The Training Division maintains a comprehensive Annual Training Plan (ATP) covering a large variety of E-learning, classroom, and hands on schools. Classes are conducted continuously by LFD Training Officers, certified Adjunct Instructors and experienced Fire Officers to maintain skill levels and learn new techniques.
Working Toward Promotion / Professional Development
Firefighters at LFD have a dedicated team concept. A seniority promotional system (with qualification) encourages all firefighters to work and train together. Firefighters study to take a competency exam for Engineer. Becoming State certified to drive the rigs is just the start. Once the firefighter has mastered the skills of driving, they must master the skills of operating the apparatus. In classroom and drill ground activities they learn hydraulic systems, water supply and mechanical systems. Through building tours they familiarize themselves with fire suppression systems and high rise water supply applications. At the completion of this training they must complete a written and hands-on examination to prove competency by academic and skills based testing. They must individually be qualified to operate each piece of apparatus at LFD. Engineers start to focus on command and management courses to test for promotion to Lieutenant. Once an officer, the training continues to become eligible to complete the Chief Officer's examination. Just as with the other ranks the classes are a combination of college level courses and in house training.
Lansing Fire offers many specialty disciplines that require additional training. LFD is operated in a focus station concept. Several of the stations house specialty training and resources to be called upon if needed. Those include hazardous materials, urban search and rescue, confined space, water and ice rescue, vehicle extrication and entrapment. While all firefighters receive awareness level and sometimes operations level training in all areas, other employees are assigned to work with the equipment regularly and are eligible to complete advanced level courses. These crews' research, practice, and study ways to be more proficient in their discipline. These additional skills can take a lot of time to master and excel in.
Safety is no accident
This phrase has two meanings. First, the Training Division is responsible for making sure that all appropriate training is provided so that employees can provide safe and efficient services.
Second, regular training is needed to be proficient because the fire service operates in high risk environments. Training is completed by a variety of methods. A lesson might be taught in a classroom. Application classes may include diving in a frozen pond, hanging from a rope twelve stories in the air, or crawling through a building full of smoke.
The Training Division consists of the Chief of Training, 1 Training Officer, and shared clerical staff. With the large volume of mandated training, the Division must rely on a contingent of adjunct instructors throughout the department to complete the annual training plan.
The LFD Training Division assists the LFD Fire Suppression Division as well as other City Departments and Divisions in being ready to handle the worst situations, in the safest and most efficient manner possible.