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Maintenance of Competence


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Hi all,

Quick question/idea I've been thinking about of late.

Firefighters pass out of training, they get their competence and can then spend the next 30 years (If they don't go for promotion/change skills set) doing the same tasks day in day out with relatively little extra training or checks on their skills.

I have heard briefly that other brigades, or more specifically retained stations use something called an operational licence (correct me if I'm wrong!) To ensure skills are maintained and they are safe to ride. Do any FRS complete any sort of annual checks or tests to ensure standards are maintained? 

We had a system in the reserves called MATTs, 9 tests in different areas (fitness, marksmanship etc) that proved you were competent, deployable and eligible for the yearly bounty. 

I'm not suggesting for one second it could be a way to get rid of people or anything like that, but surely a common standard across the brigade/FRS would ensure people don't fall through the cracks. 

For example, I've come across firefighters who don't drive who really aren't happy with using the pump, or some rather large firefighters who have never been expected to meet a fitness standard. Surely if a common standard was introduced it would be a benchmark 

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52 minutes ago, Rory-495 said:

doing the same tasks day in day out with relatively little extra training or checks on their skills

You are overthinking this @Rory-495. It's likely over 30 years service you will be assessed to death. The MoC I would suggest will be quite robust and you will be constantly ensuring you remain competent.

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My service currently has a rolling 3 year training program with every operational member completing core courses through training centre each year, as well as the normal on station training that happens. Anyone that isn’t competent is found out relatively quickly and addressed.

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I'm almost certain, and i'd be shocked if there weren't, any brigades across the country that didn't have core competencies that need regular training in to ensure skills are maintained. Whether it's recorded and displayed as a traffic light system to warn you when training needs refreshing, or a general percentage to say how much of your scheduled training has been completed or some other method.

As for the examples you gave of a non driver being unhappy running a pump that's down to the officers organising the training and involving them, or the individuals not getting involved when they're drilling. I've done it myself before talking non drivers through the pump during a drill and a five minute refresher is all it takes sometimes. 

And the large individual you mention, again almost all brigades do annual fitness tests so Firefighters should be being held to a standard, I'm not sure if it's a specific brigade you're talking about that doesn't have annual fitness tests?

I do get your point that after development has been signed off you could theoretically coast along but this is dependant on the brigade/station/watch culture which varies massively, as I'm sure you've seen some watches drill above and beyond what is required, some the bare minimum but at that minimum you will have core skills and fitness maintained. And in the minority of cases where this is an issue and standards aren't met then I've seen these dealt with either through discipline or fitness plans and taken off the run until their fitness improves.

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Rory, just to provide you with perspective to put your active mind at rest 😊 your own brigade requires you to do annual BA refresher / CFBT. BA national training guidance is bi-annual so you’re getting twice the scrutiny required in BA and firefighting with ventilation training too. This is twice  as much as other brigades do....

The Damop programme means all staff are assessed in every element of their role down to very meticulous details. Again in my experience this is far in excess of national standards  and requirements, and is more in depth than other brigades. In addition to Damop you can get yourself onto big learning and study as much as you want 

In addition each watch is required to do BA weekend drills, high rise exercises, regular 4 pump exercises....I could go on. Again other brigades aren’t doing that. 

The point about fitness testing is being sorted, but yes you are right about that. 

in conclusion, everything you are hoping for and more is already happening around buddy 😊 maybe get yourself to a busy 2 appliance station, you will see a change in pace and activity ....


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