At the Region is an ongoing feature that discusses the state-by-state training, certification and employment requirements of first responder departments across the nation. In this issue, At the Region looks at Firefighter requirements in FEMA Region VII: Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska.
The minimum standards for Iowa firefighters are found in the Iowa Administrative Code: 661—251.101(100B) Minimum training standard. Every member of a fire department must have completed the training requirements for the fire fighter I classification in NFPA 1001, Standard for Fire Fighter Professional Qualifications. The Iowa Fire Training Bureau is accredited to offer training and certification for the International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC), and is seeking to complete, as of this article, on becoming National Board on Fire Service Professional Qualifications (ProBoard) accredation.
A large majority of firefighters are volunteers, and local departments set forth the minimum requirements for a firefighter to join a department, generally:
• Be a current member of an Iowa fire, emergency or rescue organization
• At least 18 years of age
• Have a high school diploma or GED
• Be of good moral character
• Be substance-abuse free
• Have a valid Iowa driver's license
• Be able to read, write, and understand the English language
• Pass a physical examination and drug screen
• Successfully complete an oral interview
• Pass a physical agility assessment
• Be able to understand and carry out oral and written instructions
• Agency Chief verified Medical care training in infection control, bleeding control and shock management
• CPR certified
For certification, all candidates must pass a written exam with 70% and a practical exam with 100%. A schedule of upcoming certification training and exam opportunities is available online>. For other certification levels and to download procedure guides and information, please visit the DPS site. In addition to the minimum training standards, all fire department members must participate in at least 24 hours of CE a year.
Iowa offers reciprocity for NFPA Certifications. To request reciprocity, the firefighter must be a current member of an Iowa Fire department, and must complete a new form with a $25.00 fee for each level and certificate requested. You can download the request form Online. Return completed reciprocity request forms to:
Fire Service Training Bureau
3100 Fire Service Road
Kansas certifications are state specific, and available at several local universities and community colleges. The Kansas Fire Service Training Commission was mandated in a 2002 revision of the 1949 statute that established fire service training at Kansas University (KU). The Training Institute is accredited to offer IFSAC certifications, as well as the National Board of Professional Qualifications (ProBoard).
Visit the website for more information about the training and certification program, upcoming exam schedule, and for study. Note: ONLY active, current Kansas Firefighters may enroll and take courses at the Fire and Rescue Training Institute. All others are removed from the roster. Please contact the Institute directly for more information:
Kansas Fire & Rescue Training Institute
St. Andrews Office Facility
1515 Saint Andrews Drive
Lawrence, KS 66047-1619
785-864-4790 or toll free 866-804-8841
A fantastic resource from the Kansas State Fire Marshal available to Kansas Fire agencies is the DVD, Books, and Curriculum resources that will be sent to the agency, the only cost? Return postage. For more information, or to contact the department to order resources, please visit the lending library. DVDs must be returned within two weeks. You can download the catalog online.
Firefighters previously certified by NPQB or IFSAC will be recognized for those certifications held and will be allowed to fully participate in the Kansas Fire & Rescue Training Institute accreditation system. Kansas Certification is still required.
Missouri Revised Statute 320.202 states governs the training of firefighters in Missouri, and charges the fire marshal with the responsibility for, “the voluntary training of firefighters, investigators, inspectors, and public or private employees or volunteers in the field of emergency response, rescue, fire prevention or preparedness.” Firefighter Certifications are not mandated in Missouri, however, over 28,000 Missouri Firefighters are certified at various levels, and certification is encouraged. Online links are available for course registrations and dates, and approval forms, and testing and certifications policy and procedures.
Missouri offers both reciprocity for IFSAC and ProBoard certifications and an equivalency review process for out of state certifications that were not issued by IFSAC or ProBoard. Reciprocity and equivalency information is found in the procedures manual.
• The candidate be a member of a fire department, law enforcement agency or do business in the state of Missouri • Candidate must complete the appropriate application and attach supporting documentation • Certificates must clearly indicate IFSAC or ProBoard Accreditation for the level of certification • For the equivalency process, the candidate must provide the Division with written verification from the non-Missouri certifying authority that the applicant’s certification is current, valid and in good standing. • Applicant must meet the general requirements for certification as outlined in the appropriate certification booklet.
The Missouri Division of Fire Safety Training Division will review and verify all documentation. Once documentation has been reviewed and verified to meet the certification criteria, the candidate will be issued reciprocity. If the candidate is denied reciprocity, the candidate would then be required to complete an approved training program and meet all certification requirements including, but not limited to, passing written and practical skills certification exams. You can download the reciprocity evaluation request form online or contact the Training and Certification Division, (573) 522-2426, or requested by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Firefighter Certification in Nebraska is voluntary, unless the Authority Having Jurisdiction sets forth a local policy requiring responder certification. Approximately 85% of firefighters are volunteers, and 89% of the state’s fire departments rely on volunteers to maintain operational availability. Minimum requirements are set locally, by each department, but are generally:
• Be at least 18 years of age • Have a valid driver’s license • Be healthy and in good physical condition • Complete basic fire & EMS training • Live in close proximity to the fire district • Have a clean criminal record • Meet the minimum ongoing training requirements • Respond to a certain percentage of calls
For course and certification schedules and to request more information, visit the State’s Fire Marshall Training page online. Download the Course catalog and procedures manual here.
For more information contact:
The Nebraska State Fire Marshal Training Division
3347 W Capital
Grand Island Nebraska, 68803
Reciprocity is available for International Fire Service Accreditation Congress (IFSAC) or to the National Board on Fire Service Professional Qualifications (ProBoard) Certifications. Each candidate must complete the ‘Request for Certificate of Reciprocity’ form on the Training Division website and submit a paper copy of the training certificate to the Training Division with the appropriate fee.
The Training Division will not issue a Certificate of Reciprocity for certification for a certificate of equivalency or any other grand fathering process acceptable to any other entity. The Training Division will not issue a Certificate of Reciprocity for a certificate and upgrade the candidate to the current edition of a standard recognized by the State of Nebraska, but will only issue to the level and edition of the original certificate.