"The mission of the Springdale Fire Department's Training Division is to provide comprehensive and realistic training to ensure the safe and competent delivery of emergency services within the community."
1. Describe your department; How many members do you have in your department? Do you represent career, volunteer, or a combination of both?
The Springdale Fire Department represents a career department that is geared for an all-hazards mitigation approach with 154 uniformed personnel and 8 non-uniformed. We respond out of 9 stations and cover approximately 50.31 square miles. Station 10 will be breaking ground soon. SFD’s apparatus includes 9 Engines, 4 Ladder Trucks, 8 Medic Units, 2 Brush Trucks, 1 USAR/Rescue Unit and 1 Hazmat Unit.
2. How many are assigned to your training division?
SFD Training Division includes 2 Captains, 1 Battalion Chief and 1 Administrative Assistant. The division is located at the Training Complex which is located on 5 acres. Located within the complex is a 10,000 sq. ft. training center, which includes classrooms, conference room, kitchen/break area, showers, locker storage, gym, 1 apparatus bay with a reserve engine, 2 extractors, compressor/SCBA fill station, PPE and gear lockers, administrative office areas, work shop and a large mezzanine for storage of gear/equipment. The complex also contains a 3-story Class A burn tower, vehicle extrication pits and other exterior props.
3. Tell us about a project or training accomplishment that your department considers to be the most significant.
One of the major “training” accomplishments occurred in Spring of 2021. This marked when the Training Division vacated offices from Station 1 and moved into the brand-new training facility that was built on the same grounds as our burn tower and other exterior props.
4. What legacy would your department like to leave behind regarding the training of your members?
The best way to answer this question is from 2 quotes from Chief Officers, one past and one present. Quote #1 from Fire Chief (Ret.) Mickey Jackson, “Training is the key”. Quote #2 from Assistant Chief of Operations Michael Bronner, “I like you, but I will not lower the standards of our fire department to make you fit in”. These quotes encompass and are aligned with our Mission, Vision and Values. Constant, progressive and realistic training from evidence-based research will progress our personnel to a level that they can utilize over a long and safe career. Not only does this gain growth for all personnel, it will enhance the succession of our officers.
5. What is the biggest change your department has noticed in the fire service?
There have been numerous “big” changes throughout the fire service in my last 30 years, from technological advances to research-based evidence for tactical operations. However, the generational gaps and lowered hiring age (18 y/o for SFD) seems to be one of the bigger challenges. Communication and expectations set-forth with newer personnel present the biggest hurdle within that challenge.
6. What advice would your department share with others regarding the training of firefighters?
#1 Train your officers! Officer Development needs to be encouraged and made available, long before the promotions occur especially at the Company Officer level. This level can truly make or break your department. This will allow for smooth transitions and once again, the officer succession will remain aligned with your Mission, Vision and Values. #2 Involve all members to participate with the Training Division, not just mandatory training. Allowing them to instruct, develop and become the subject matter experts allows for the feeling of true ownership in the process and the department as a whole.