Identifying and Evaluating Training Criteria for the Development of a Company Officer Training Program

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By David Ott, B.S.

The problem was that the City of Coronado Fire Department had no company officer development program available for department personnel aspiring to be a Fire Captain. For company officers to effectively and efficiently provide the diverse services demanded in today's fire service, he or she must be proficient in many disciplines. Yet quite often personnel aspiring to fill this key position receive little or no specific training to meet these diverse responsibilities.

The purpose of this applied research project was to develop professionally recognized fire service training criteria to assist in the development of a company officer training program for department personnel aspiring to be a company officer.

In conducting this research the author utilized descriptive and action research methodologies to answer these research questions:

  1. What are the professionally recognized fire service minimum training standards for company officer?
  2. What are the critical tasks and responsibilities of company officers in the fire service and the Coronado Fire Department?
  3. What minimum training standards are like-sized and larger fire departments in San Diego County using to develop company officer level training?

The procedures used in this applied research project included review of applicable literature; a Coronado Fire Captain job announcement was analyzed to help determine the expected skills, responsibilities, and tasks of a company officer in Coronado; and surveys were utilized to help determine professionally recognized training standards and the importance of job responsibilities for the company officer position. Results indicated the importance of training for the company officer position and that NFPA 1021, Standard for Fire Officer Professional Qualifications, was the preeminent training standard used in development of company officer training programs.

Recommendations made were to establish a Company Officer Development Training Program Committee and to utilize NFPA 1021 as a development guideline for the program curriculum. A template of topics was developed to help guide the development process. See Appendix A.