5. Training & Certification

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Develop and implement national standards for training, qualifications, and certification (including regular recertification) that are equally applicable to all firefighters based on the duties they are expected to perform.

A great deal of training and education occurs in the fire service on a daily basis throughout the United States. How fire departments and training agencies measure, compare, and quantify this training is important to the profession and the safety of the individuals providing the service. If the training is accomplished in accordance with national standards, and the results are certified by an independent body or organization, then the system has substantial credibility. There must be a system to ensure this and provide standards that are recognized as being professional in terms of safety, competency, and responsibility.

It is very disturbing that between 2005 and 2013, an average of 10.5 firefighters a year died in training-related incidents. Reported training-related injuries totaled more than 7,400 in 2012. Given those statistics, it’s no surprise the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) identifies firefighter recruits, firefighters participating in training and firefighters conducting training as especially vulnerable to death and injury. Fire Service training programs that have been designed and conducted in concert with the appropriate NFPA Professional Qualification Standards will reduce these needless deaths and injuries. The 5th Initiative of the Firefighter Life Safety Initiatives is an attempt to tie training to a reduction in firefighter injuries and line-of-duty fatalities.

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