Making A Difference When It Matters The Most

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1 Mississippi State Fire Academy First Quarter 2016 Newsletter Making A Difference When It Matters The Most From The Director s Desk: As 2016 begins, the Mississippi State Fire Academy staff is saddened by the loss of a member of the MSFA family. Long-time staff member Kelly Page passed away on February 12, 2016 after a short-term illness. For 23 years, Kelly was a dedicated employee and he always had a smile for everyone. He will be missed. Despite our sadness, MSFA employees look forward to the possibilities a new year holds for the state s fire service and for the Academy. January brings a new legislative session with many new faces. One of those is retired Fire Fighter/Fire Chief Jeff Hale from District 24, who was elected to the MS House of Representatives. Rep. Hale will be a great asset in helping the fire service with legislative issues at the state level. There are several fire service bills that survived deadlines in the legislature this spring. HB 1205 is an amended Death Benefit Bill that changes the language of the current bill, to ensure that fire service families are eligible for benefits for virtually all line of duty deaths. The bill has passed the House and is now in the Senate. A Division Of The Mississippi Insurance Department

2 From The Director s Desk Cont. The Academy is requesting general obligation bond bills to provide funding to construct an on-campus fire station/dormitory/state disaster staging area. The project will consist of a 3-bay fire station, a low cost 64-bed dorm, and a command and control meeting/classroom, along with offices for instructors. The total amount for the project is $7 million. HB 1683 has passed the House and is now in the Senate. Please let your legislators know how important these bills are to the fire service in the state. Mississippi State Fire Academy has been working on live-streaming technology for several months. Beginning in April 2016, major events at the Academy will be available via YouTube. Events like NFPA 1001 Firefighter I-II graduations, certification training classes and activities, the annual Fallen Firefighter s Memorial, and other special programs will be available for viewing live on-line. This technology will also open many future opportunities for training and education. We are thrilled to be able to share important events at the Mississippi State Fire Academy with those who may not be able to come and experience them in person. In other exciting developments, we are pleased to announce two new courses being offered in In July, the Mississippi State Fire Academy will host the first National Fire Academy Weekend. Fire personnel normally have to travel to Emmitsburg, Maryland to attend the weekend, but it is our privilege to bring this experience to you on our campus. We will be offering the following NFA courses on our campus July 16-17: Strategies and Tactics for Initial Company Operations; Incident Safety Officer; and Shaping the Future. Seats are expected to fill quickly, so register now! In addition, available in August, Surface Water and Swiftwater Rescue Levels I-II will offer students instruction in rescue swimming, boat operations, advanced rope rescue applications, and more. With Mississippi s everchanging weather patterns, it is more critical than ever to have an adequate number of emergency responders trained in these techniques. In the past, we have endeavored to adjust and expand our instruction to accommodate the evolving needs of the state s fire service. We look forward to continuing to do so throughout 2016 and beyond.

3 Technological Advances In Fire Service Training Curriculum/Testing & Public Relations Instructor Chief Shannon Sandridge In the past year, the Curriculum Office has been able to accomplish many of our projected goals. Most importantly, all NFPA courses offered by the Academy were re-accredited, along with some additional levels and more to come. We strive to keep our dual accreditation status active for you, our customers. We have also made some strides in the realm of testing going into As most of you know, we now administer a Certification Final for each accredited level of training. We also offer a re-test on each level of training if 70% of the questions are not answered correctly on the Certification Final. This version of testing is going on almost everywhere in the country for courses accredited by IFSAC or ProBoard. The student first has to maintain a 70% average on quizzes given throughout the course. Then the student qualifies to take the Certification Final. This holds the student accountable during the course and helps with preparation for the final. It also puts more weight on the final test which, in the past, was averaged with the rest of the quizzes. In my professional opinion, this testing method results in a better-trained fire fighter/officer. Our bureau has also tried to save the Academy and the state s taxpayers money by creating online training, and utilizing computer technology to grade, record, and store information regarding skills testing. The first project was to go semi-paperless with the skills testing. Doing so reduces the cost of paper and ink for the Academy, because of the thousands of skills tests we administer and store in a year s time. We now use tablets and an application that allows us to create any form we want to electronically test the students. These are saved on a cloud, can be used offline, and can be printed from the cloud if a paper document is ever needed. Senior Instructor Matt Ellis has been instrumental in getting this project, and another cost-saving effort, online testing, off the ground. The Fire Instructor-I program was offered online last year. We piloted it with a set of students and got some feedback to use in future online offerings. The program was successful, and we can now offer the program for full certification with the benefit of accreditation. We have worked closely with our IT Office to develop the programs, and we hope to offer many more courses online by We continue to administer fire and life safety educational tours, and we invite you or anyone in your respective communities to call and schedule a tour of the Academy. Please call Sandy McAlister at for more information. Shannon Sandridge, Instructor Chief

4 Certification Bureau Instructor Chief Daniel Cross Outlook for 2016 The Certification Bureau is extremely excited about our 2016 deliveries. We have made changes to several of our current curriculums that will be available this year. The NFPA 1021: Fire Officer program will be in the 3rd Edition of the Jones and Bartlett text book. We have revised the skills and test bank in accordance with the standard change and it is ready to go. NFPA 1031: Fire Inspector has undergone the same overhaul process and it will be delivered in conjunction with the new standard. One NEW delivery this year is designed around fireground operations. In late November, we will offer an Engine Company Operations course. This one week course is designed to stress the importance of handline operations, water application principles for interior fire attack, and standpipe operations. This course is a very hands-on course and will refresh a firefighter s mindset on fire behavior and fire suppression tactics. Students attending this course will need full NFPA approved PPE and must have completed NFPA 1001-I, II. Students should also be prepared to spend the week in the burn building. Let me also remind everyone of the variety of ways in which NFPA 1041: Fire Instructor and NFPA 1021: Fire Officer can be delivered. Both of these courses can be taken in the distant learner format, while 1041 Level I is online. Departments can conduct most of our programs in-house by using the field delivery format. This format allows a training officer to deliver a program to a large group of students in-house. The Academy will provide the curriculum needed to the host department. IFSAC certification testing will be provided on location as well. This is a great way to train your firefighters to the standard without having to send them to a course on campus. If there is a course that a department wishes to conduct at your location, please contact us and we will do our best to accommodate you. Stay safe, and thanks for your service to our communities. Daniel Cross, Instructor Chief Certification

5 Set Your Guys Up For SUCCESS Special/Industrial Bureau Instructor Chief Curtiss Marbury On behalf of the Special/Industrial Bureau, thank you for supporting our programs. We consistently try to offer you high quality programs that meet your needs. These programs are constantly reviewed and updated to meet new standards of training. Most of our courses require you to pass rigorous testing of knowledge and skills obtained during the course. It is very important that students come to class prepared. They must be aware of information pertaining to the class they are attending. I consistently ask students if they reviewed the course information prior to attending,and they consistently answer with reasons why they did not. So how do we set our guys up for SUCCESS? Students who are enrolled in courses at the Academy must prepare themselves for upcoming training and must read the course description for the course they are attending. They must: 1. Pay close attention to course pre-requisite information and refresh skills that they learned in prerequisite courses. 2. Identify what equipment is required for them to bring to the course. 3. Identify if there is any suggested reading before attending the course. Ex. Hazardous Materials Technician courses. So let us move forward and learn where we can find this information. 1. Fire Academy course catalog 2. Fire Academy website () 3. Call us at Thank you all for what you do everyday. May God continue to bless you... Curtiss Marbury, Instructor Chief

6 Extension Services Bureau Instructor Chief Steven Ashby Recruiting Volunteer Fire Fighters Need help recruiting volunteer fire fighters in the state? The National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) has taken great strides to combat this issue. They have launched a new volunteer recruitment campaign on the internet. At this time, there are only three Mississippi fire departments taking advantage of this service to recruit fire fighters in their respective communities. The NVFC has launched this website at no cost, to help recruit volunteers around the country. A recent survey indicates that many people want to volunteer, but simply do not know their respective departments are seeking members. Use this campaign to bridge the gap in your community. By using this website you can easily access the department portal to register, post your volunteer opportunities, and access customizable tools to help reach potential volunteers. Some of the features include: Customize campaign materials, Plan an event, Track your recruits, and Give feedback. All this to help bring potential volunteers into your community. My career began as a volunteer firefighter and in my experience, if you want to recruit and retain good volunteer firefighters, you must treat them as fire fighters. They volunteer their own time, which is precious in today s society, and they should be acknowledged for that sacrifice. Take the time to join the National Volunteer Fire Council s (NVFC) FREE volunteer recruitment campaign! Let the NVFC s recruitment campaign work for you! Post your volunteer opportunities today and find resource to successfully recruit volunteers. You can sign up at NVFC: Volunteer Fire Department Recruitment Resources. Also be sure to check out their video on the website. Make sure your department s volunteer opportunities are listed so that volunteers can find them. Positively, Steven Ashby, Instructor Chief Additional Resources:

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