A Need for Training
The role of the fire service within the community has changed dramatically since its induction hundreds of years ago. Today’s fire service responds to everything from gas leaks, to structural fires, and in today’s age, almost 85% of responses are Emergency Medical Services (EMS) related. Personnel responding to emergencies must not only be prepared to handle a diverse set of emergencies, but they must be prepared to make decisions in a stressful environment, often affecting the lives of the citizens we have taken an oath to serve and protect.
Douglas County Fire Department participates in three organizations geared towards offering protection to our community during times of natural or manmade disasters.
- Citizens Emergency Response Team (CERT)
- Georgia Mutual Aid Group (GMAG)
- Georgia Search and Rescue (GSAR)
Douglas County Fire Department believes in a tiered approach to the many facets of Fire/EMS education. Tiers of training include initial educational components, such as recruit school, annual core competency training as set forth by The Georgia Firefighters Standards and Training Council and the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and specialty courses that can provide advanced training in fire suppression and EMS services.
Fire Recruit classes are offered in house at the Douglas County Fire Department Training Complex. Recruit school is approximately 7-10 weeks in length. The curriculum for all recruit classes meets and exceeds the standards set forth by the Georgia Firefighter Standards and Training Council. Upon course completion, candidates are required to successfully pass the National Professional Qualification (NPQ) written and practical examinations. All employees are required to obtain their NPQ I certification within 1 year from their date of employment.
Annual Fire & EMS Education / Advancement
Each year, firefighters and EMT/paramedics are required to obtain a total of:
- 20 EMS accredited hours
- 24 Structure hours (Approved by the Fire Chief)
- 216 Insurance Services Office (ISO) hours including Company Training, Hazmat, Company Officer Training and Driver Training
These hours demonstrate the minimum number of hours required to maintain certification as a Georgia State firefighter and maintain licensure as an EMT/Paramedic in the state of Georgia. In addition, all personnel are required to maintain applicable Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) certifications for their provider level and certification in Hazmat-operations level.
With our group of professionals, advancement within the fire department is highly competitive. Candidates for promotion are required to complete specific training courses for each promotional tier and promotional testing is typically offered every two years.
L. Wayne Arrington Fire/EMS Training Complex
The L. Wayne Arrington Fire/EMS Training Complex (WATC) became operational in October 2009 and has been running strong ever since. This 10 acre, $1.3 million dollar training facility offers a full range of firefighting training from initial recruit school to advanced fire control classes. It is managed by the Douglas County Fire Department training division, and classes are always monitored by at least one safety officer. The complex was constructed utilizing the 2001 special-purpose local-option sales tax funds, and has been featured on the cover of the January/February edition "Georgia County Government" magazine.
The complex occasionally offers courses to outside departments. To date, courses that have been instructed include:
- At grade, above and below grade fire attacks
- Driver training
- Live Fire Instructor
- MAYDAY / Rules of Air Management
- Prop burn simulations (vehicle fire, propane tank, pit burns, dumpster fire)
- Recruit classes (one to two per year)
- Search and rescue
Courses offered by Douglas County Fire Department depend on the needs of the department, but many training opportunities are available to outside departments when seating is available. Courses offered through the Georgia Firefighter Standards and Training Council can be located by going on line to Georgia Firefighter Standards and Training Council Website.
For more information regarding the Douglas County Fire Department Training Complex, contact Deputy Chief Pablo Lugo at 770-942-8626.
The Training Staff / Field Instructors
Our training division holds three full time positions for 170 certified employees. Additionally, Douglas County Fire Department has providers operating in the field that have achieved instructor status in the following areas:
- BLS / ACLS / PALS - Instructor
- Live - Structural Fire Control Instructor
- NPQ Evaluator
- NPQ Fire Officer Instructor
- NPQ I and II Instructor
- Pump Operator Instructor
- State licensed EMT / Paramedic Instructor
- State of Georgia Preceptor for enrolled EMT / Paramedic students
Our "core group" of instructors allow us as a department to offer diversity in training and ensure all members of the department are able to receive the training they need and desire.