Training: Firefighter Training
Once a new firefighter graduates from the recruit academy (or joins the organization as a lateral entry), they begin an intensive one-year training program that is divided into four phases. Phase one was their orientation and recruit academy. Upon graduation, they enter phase two. The firefighter is assigned to their first station and they begin to work on their phase two tasks from their task book. They complete daily shift evaluations and monthly probationary reports. At the conclusion of phase two, they are given a written and practical exam to ensure competency. At each subsequent phase, they change stations/officers and continue daily shift evaluations and monthly probationary reports. Additionally, at the end of each phase, a written and practical exam is given. At the end of their probationary year, they are given a final written and practical exam covering all aspects of fire and EMS to ensure they are fully prepared to complete any task required of them.
As part of their first year training, all firefighters obtain their EMT, red card (wildland firefighter 2), and participate in live fire training.
To ensure that firefighters are fully prepared to serve the public at the highest level possible, every firefighter is required to train each shift. The Training Division offers a wide variety of training sessions that presents both new information as well as refresher training on skills previously taught. All state and federal requirements are met through Clark County Fire & Rescue's training program. In addition to meeting the basic requirements, weekly pre-fire building inspections are conducted as well as weekly simulators.
Firefighters are given numerous opportunities for live fire training (CCF&R typically conducts 5-6 live fire training sessions per year) thus ensuring that they are trained under realistic conditions. Additionally, training is conducted with mutual aid companies as often as possible. The Department is currently training with the City of Vancouver and participates in its FOTEP training program.
The State of Washington has adopted the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC) certifications as the standard for all fire departments within the state. Although not required, an IFSAC certification carries the weight of meeting the international standard as set forth by IFSAC and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and thereby is valuable for not only the firefighter but also the fire department.
The majority of Clark County Fire & Rescue full-time and part-time personnel have received IFSAC certification at Firefighter 1. The Department continues to train and test (annual individual evaluations) to this standard and is aggressively encouraging all of its paid and volunteer firefighters to obtain this certification.
To ensure that all personnel remain competent in their skills, the annual skills evaluation exam is given. This test is a random selection of various firefighting skills meant to verify the skill level of all personnel.