Anyone Paying Attention to This Disgusting Nightmare in Tennessee?

You may remember an article written back in March by this author shining a light on the escapades going on in Tennessee called Volunteers in the Volunteer State asked to volunteer even more. What used to be an unbelievable story has become a menagerie of unimaginable activities poised to kill our brothers and sisters.

It seems that volunteer firefighters in Tennessee will be forced to attend 16 (you read that right- sixteen) hours of mandatory training before they are allowed to respond to emergencies.

How many did they need before?

According to a story in, the state is having trouble establishing uniformity in the number of training hours required.  How did they settle on sixteen hours?

But wait, there’s more.

Some counties are attempting to “opt out” of the requirement.  Can’t afford it.  Don’t got the time.  Don’t need another unfunded mandate.

I know money is tight, but are we truly to the point where we send untrained young men and women into an interior attack with other untrained men and women?  Departments crying poor feel it’s acceptable to set their personnel up for such danger without being equipped with the training necessary to keep them alive?

If we can’t afford to train, we can’t afford to send brave souls into harms way.

This from the

“It boils down to the fact that when you put a volunteer firefighter out there … if he has made the decision not to have training, that’s fine because he takes his own life into his own hands,” said state Rep. John Litz, D-Morristown. “But the thing I’m concerned about is by him not having this training is the simple fact that he not only takes his own life into account, but he may take mine into account, too, because my house may be the one on fire that he is trying to get me out of.”

To be clear:

Firefighters need more than 16 hours of training before entering a burning building.

Fire Departments/Districts need to pony up the bucks for the training- not rely on the personal bank accounts of firefighters to pay for it.


child funeral


  • Jason says:

    Holy crap! Where is the direction from the National Volunteer Fire Council and the Tennessee State Fire Marshal? What about the Volunteer/Combination Section of the IAFC, which I am a member of, on this matter?

    Someone needs to get involved here and be the voice of reason. I don't know much about TN, but this is not good. Everything that the fire service has faught for in the realm of training and qualifications for volunteer and paid firefighters alike is about to take a gian step backwards with a policy like this.

    Just my two cents worth,
    Jason Hoevelmann
    FFs Enemy

  • chiefreason says:

    So; they don't have 16 hours to give to what could be minimum life saving training?
    I wonder how much time they piss away sitting in front of their plasma screens watching cars doing a perpetual left turn?
    Oh; and I dig Nascar, but I wouldn't miss training to watch a race.
    I'm just saying that we can find all kinds of excuses, but for 16 hours, Tennessee should be ashamed for citing the reasons that they cited.
    No time for training; plenty of time for the funeral.

  • Fire Critic says:

    16 hours? I guess I will crawl out from under the rock I live under….You mean to tell me that prior to this it was mandated somewhere under 16 hours and they now have a problem with 16?


  • Bob H says:

    A couple of “wrongful death” lawsuits will make the cost of 16 hours of class for 20-30 people seem like pocket change..

  • FireCap5 says:

    The minimum hours of training in my state used to be 24. Not to long ago, it was changed infinitaly for the better. We now do not count hours, it is based on proficiency and a writted and practical exam.

    I came up during the “24″ days, and can honestly say that the training I got was decent but not nearly enough. I have since continued to take classes, but did not have to.

    As for this business of “we dont want to” I say tough. This is not many hours at all, and the “cost” can't be that bad. Get off your butts and train!

    I won't even get into how this paints volunteers with a broad brush of bad P.R.!!

  • Safety Officer says:

    Where is Rep. John Litz, D-Morristown's head? I don't want a firefighter backing me up that has had only 16 hours of training, or one that has decided to take his life in his own hands…because he would also be taking my life in his hands. Someone should introduce Tenessee to NFPA 1001.

  • chief_800 says:

    As a former chief for a volunteer fire department in central Missouri, I mandated that none of my volunteers could make entry into a burning structure without having completed and passed a 32 hour Missouri certified Basic Firefighter program. This is also a recommendation for all the departments within our county, as voted on by the County Fire Chiefs Association. My total budget was around $30,000 per year, yet I found the funds to pay for this training. The course cost us $20 per student, and in my opinion was money well spent. I cannot fathum how any chief or officer would knowingly send an untrained firefighter inside a burning structure. “On the job training” is what I was taught in 1977 St. Louis County. It was dangerous not only to myself, but to every other firefighter on scene. With more lawsuits being filed every day against fire departments, they are now targeting supervisory officers as well. If an officer sends an untrained firefighter into a scene, that officer may well be prosecuted for gross negligence, manslaughter or even murder. Anyone remember the line officer out west in a wildfire that resulted in firefighters deaths? The last I heard he had been charged with multiple counts manslaughter!! Are you and/or your board of directors really willing to face the possible injuries and/or deaths of your freinds and neighbors because you can't find $20 for training? I've heard all the excuses for not training… doesn't hold a candle to the day you have to knock on the door of a family member, friend or neighbor and look that wife or husband or kids in the eyes while you try to explain that their loved one won't be coming home.

  • station 6 says:

    60 hours in bulloch county ga

  • sven says:

    I dont know how many hours it was, but I needed 6 months of 8-hour saturday's and sundays for my FF1 and 2 before I could even ride the truck.

  • station 6 says:

    60 hours in bulloch county ga

  • sven says:

    I dont know how many hours it was, but I needed 6 months of 8-hour saturday's and sundays for my FF1 and 2 before I could even ride the truck.

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John Mitchell

Firefighter/Paramedic and a Lieutenant in suburban Chicago

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