Grants Administration & HazMat Training Division
Grants Administration Department
The Grants Administration Department is responsible for managing approximately 30 awards and contracts totaling approximately $29 million in financial assistance across six divisions, generating over $4.6 million in indirect costs. The number of grants and the amount varies depending upon which grants have been closed and awarded for each quarter. The department is responsible for reviewing, processing and signing off on all external grants and contracts in support of IAFF activities including negotiating on behalf of the IAFF with public and private sources of funding and acting as a liaison with funding agencies during the life of a grant or contract. Additionally, the department provides direct assistance to IAFF affiliates locating sources of funding, developing grant proposals and interpreting grantor policies, rules and restrictions.
Within the organization, the Grants Administration Department provides resources to other IAFF departments receiving non-per capita funds (including government and private sector) with quality and effective financial accounting, reporting and customer service. Staff have worked closely with budget and accounting staff to perform all billing, cash management and financial reporting through the end of the grant period. The department also helps with cost accounting and compliance services such as indirect cost rate negotiation, effort reporting and establishing and enforcing business processes for compliance.
The Grants Department ensures that the IAFF has fully qualified staff with appropriate certifications to stay competitive in the grants arena. The department built a solid foundation in government-wide requirements, agency regulations and grants management best practices needed to manage federal dollars effectively. Staff in the department and other IAFF employees working on grant programs earned a grants management certificate, the industry standard for professional education in the field. Staff also attended the National Grants Management Association’s Annual Grants Training Program. This will help them to maintain necessary skillsets and learn about new developments with the federal Uniform Grants Guidance (UGG). In addition, all grants staff members passed the nationally accredited Certified Grants Management Specialists exam.
Grant Administration Applications and Reporting Technology
Over the past two years, the grants department submitted over 50 progress reports. The department grants database consolidated all current and pending grant information in a central online site for access by grants and budget staff. The system can manage all current and pending internal grants and cooperative agreements in a real-time, web-based format. This database enables staff to quickly review application, budget, and closeout documentation in addition to tracking phone and email communications with various granting agencies. The database provides synchronized reminders to staff regarding due dates for progress or financial reports that are required by granting agencies. Additionally, the system provides real-time information in a dashboard format to ensure funds are spent on properly while ensuring that programmatic and financial reports are filed on time.
The Grants Department also worked with the Finance Department on a virtual storage solution for documents such as applications, awards, progress and financial reports– that must be properly filed according to grant specifications. The large file sizes of these documents, among closed and active grants, were cumbersome inside the database. Finance staff completed a process whereby grant documents can be saved within the KwikTag system eliminating the need for additional online database storage. KwikTag is a comprehensive document imaging system where users can file, store, and retrieve scanned files. Grants Department staff have migrated all grant documents into KwikTag.
Technical Assistance: Grants
The Grants Administration Department provides technical assistance to affiliates regarding Assistance to Firefighter Grants (AFG) programs including the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER), Training and Equipment Grants, and Fire Prevention and Safety Grants (FP&S). Through its technical assistance program, the Grants Department reviews and comments on local affiliates’ AFG, SAFER and FP&S grant applications prior to submission. AFG grants are highly competitive, and FEMA has only been able to fund approximately 15 percent of the applications received. Department staff worked directly with hundreds of affiliates to answer questions and facilitate communication between the local affiliate, the fire department and city officials throughout the grant preparation process. Applications submitted to the department for review typically go through at least two rounds of review and multiple revisions.
The benefits of the review process are evident when considering that during the last three years, 31 percent of SAFER funding received by IAFF affiliates (totaling $785 million) went to departments whose applications were reviewed by the Grants Department. During the past 10 years more than 18,500 fire fighters were hired, rehired or retained as a result of these grants. Since the 2016 convention, there were two rounds of AFG Training and Equipment grants and two rounds of SAFER applications. For approximately 80 business days, department staff responded to 1,250 emails and 700 phone calls. On average, this represents 15 emails and nine phone calls per day for an average of 24 member interactions daily. IAFF staff provided detailed grant assistance to 159 IAFF local affiliates. We continue to encourage affiliates that wish to apply for these grants to contact the department for further assistance.
AFG Criteria Development and Peer Review Panels
The department is responsible for coordinating participation at the annual criteria development meeting led by the AFG branch at FEMA. AGPs Elizabeth Harman, Pat Morrison, Kevin O’Connor, Dave Lang and Lori Moore-Merrell along with Deputy Director Phil Gauer attended to ensure the priorities for AFG, SAFER and FP&S are consistent with the IAFF priorities. Concerns raised by affiliates regarding the application, scoring, awarding and closeout processes were also discussed at this meeting. The department coordinated the participation of over 50 members (from affiliates) to attend the peer review panels for grant cycles during fiscal years 2016 and 2017 for AFG, SAFER and FP&S.
HazMat Training Department
Fire fighters and emergency medical personnel are regularly exposed to hazardous materials whether it be structural fires, vehicle crashes, chemical spills or industrial accidents. Emergency responders need to be aware of how these changes affect not only the public they serve but also how to properly protect themselves and the environment. The contents involved in structural fires include furnishings made with synthetic materials and other chemicals that create an extremely hazardous environment during fire suppression activities. Emergency responders need the relevant training to protect themselves from the effects of the toxic products of combustion and other chemicals present. They also must be aware of the limitations of their personal protective equipment (PPE) and the actions necessary to remove contamination from their PPE after exposure because many are carcinogens.
The IAFF recognized through its research that fire fighters and emergency medical personnel lacked adequate training to effectively respond to incidents involving hazardous materials, including the identification of hazardous materials, recognizing the hazards present and implementing appropriate strategies to protect themselves and the citizens they serve. In 1987 the IAFF created the HazMat Training Department to address this need and developed its first course, HazMat Operations. Since its inception, the IAFF HazMat Training Department recognized changes in the hazards confronting emergency responders and created additional courses covering infectious diseases, confined space incidents, illicit drug labs, workplace safety and terrorist incidents. The 80-hour hazardous materials technician program provides personnel with the knowledge and skills to provide offensive actions to stabilize hazardous materials incidents. The IAFF also expanded its hazardous materials training to include the whole community in response to these incidents. With the changes in the student population, the IAFF also created several online training programs to make its more accessible.
The department has worked with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA) and many other organizations to develop the programs specifically designed for fire fighters/EMTs, with sponsorship from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the National Institute of Environmental Health and Safety (NIEHS), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Department of Justice (DOJ), the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Department of Labor (DOL), the Department of Energy (DOE) and the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC).With over $90 million in grant funding since its inception, the department conducted research, developed curricula and implemented training for over 134,000 emergency response personnel.
Our mission is to educate emergency responders about methods to protect their health and safety, reduce occupational deaths and injuries related to hazardous materials and weapons of mass destruction response and protect the communities they serve.
In addition, the HazMat Training Department provides contract training. This type of training allows the IAFF to partner with jurisdictions and organizations that have either private, federal and/or state grant training funds to spend on hazmat and terrorism training. This allows for ongoing or critical training when all IAFF federal funds have been allocated. The IAFF has created a training partnership with FDNY. Funding from New York’s Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) allows them to continue to train their probies and newly promoted officers in the IAFF Emergency Response to Terrorism (ERT: Ops) program, which is no longer funded by DHS or FEMA. Another partnership with the IAFC allows for customization of the HazMat Operations program to train emergency responders how to effectively respond to incidents that involve shipments of crude oil, ethanol and other flammable liquids by rail to underserved rural communities. Training was conducted without the use of IAFF grant funding, and additional revenue was brought to the IAFF.
HazMat Training Programs
The IAFF HazMat training programs are created to train first responders using current federal and industry standards for HazMat response. Since 1987, the IAFF has trained more than 134,000 students on the importance of identifying potential hazards, defensive action, emergency procedures and personal protection. Its cadre of skilled instructors conduct direct deliveries at the requestor’s training site. All course materials and training references are provided as well. In addition, the department utilizes innovative evaluation protocols to demonstrate the effectiveness of training and ensure that it meets and exceeds the NIEHS Minimum Training Criteria document. This training ensures that students are prepared emergency responders capable of performing in the most effective manner feasible.
IAFF continues its partnership with Kaplan University to provide several fire service degree programs. Kaplan has awarded five lower-level fire science college credits to the IAFF’s First Responder Operations (FRO) course and the Technician course. These credits are easily transferable to their degree program.
The HazMat Department currently delivers the following training programs covering all levels of emergency response. Training programs include:
|Course Name||Delivery Type||Duration||Status|
|HazMat Operations (FRO)||Instructor-Led||3 days||Implementation & Evaluation|
|HazMat Operations (Canada)||Instructor-Led||3 days||Implementation & Evaluation|
|HazMat Operations (French)||Instructor-Led||3 days||Implementation & Evaluation|
|HazMat Operations (FRO) TtT
Prerequisite: HazMat Operations,3-day version, and Educational Methodology Online Exam
|Instructor-Led||2 days||Implementation & Evaluation|
Prerequisite: HazMat Awareness
|Instructor-Led||2 days||Implementation & Evaluation|
Prerequisite for HazMat Operations,two-day version
|Self-Paced, Online||4 hours||Implementation & Evaluation|
|IAFF Educational Methodology
Prerequisite for all train-the-trainer offerings
|Self-Paced, Workbook and Online Exam||4 hours||Implementation & Evaluation|
Prerequisite: HazMat Operations
|Instructor-Led||10 days||Implementation & Evaluation|
|HazMat Technician TtT
Prerequisite: HazMat Technician and Educational Methodology Online Exam
|Instructor-Led||5 days||Implementation & Evaluation|
|Emergency Response to Terrorism: Operations||Instructor-Led||2 days||Implementation & Evaluation|
|Emergency Response to Terrorism: Operations TtT
Prerequisite: ERT: Ops and Educational Methodology Online Exam
|Instructor-Led||2 days||Implementation & Evaluation|
|Emergency Response to Terrorism: Operations Refresher
Prerequisite: Introduction to WMDs
|Instructor-Led||1 day||Implementation & Evaluation|
|Introduction to WMDs
Prerequisite for ERT: Ops-Refresher
|Self-Paced, Online||1.5 hours||Implementation & Evaluation|
|Emergency Response to HazMats
Prerequisite: HazMat Recognition
|Instructor-Led||2 days||Development while Implementation & Evaluation are ongoing|
Prerequisite for Emergency Response to HazMats
|Self-Paced, Online||2-4 hours||Development while Implementation & Evaluation are ongoing|
|Emergency Response to High Consequence Incidents
Prerequisite: Hazards and High Consequence Incidents
|Hazards and High Consequence Incidents
Prerequisite for Emergency Response to High Consequence Incidents (HiC)
|Confined Space Operations
Prerequisite: Confined Space Introduction
|Instructor-Led||3 days||Implementation & Evaluation|
|Confined Space Rescue
(Incorporates Confined Space Operations)Prerequisite: Confined Space Introduction
|Instructor-Led||5 days||Implementation & Evaluation|
|Confined Space Introduction
Prerequisite for Confined Space Operations and Confined Space Rescue
|1-2 hours||Implementation & Evaluation|
|Confined Space Rescue TtT
Prerequisite: Confined Space Rescue and Educational Methodology Online Exam
|Frontline Safety||Instructor-Led||1 day||Implementation & Evaluation|
|Emergency Response to Illicit Drug Labs||Instructor-Led||1 day||Implementation & Evaluation|
|Infectious Diseases||Instructor-Led||1 day||Implementation & Evaluation|
|Pandemics and Epidemics||Instructor-Led||2 hours||Implementation & Evaluation|
|Training from October 1, 2016 – March 31, 2018 (18 months)|
|Federal Grant||# of Classes||# of Students||# of Contact Hours|
|NIEHS – HWWT||14||271||13,160|
|NIEHS – HDPT||28||469||4,056|
|NIEHS – DOE||44||974||47,680|
Pro Board Fire Service Professional Qualifications (Pro Board) Certification
The IAFF received accreditation from the Pro Board in 2013. Its reapplication will be due in 2018. Pro Board recognized certification from the IAFF is an indisputable achievement for individual fire service professionals. The credibility of the IAFF is enhanced by having its members certified to a national consensus standard. As such, Pro Board certification for Awareness and Operations levels continues to be available for the IAFF’s FRO course while technician-level certification is offered for the Technician program provided the student has the proper prerequisites. In addition, the IAFF recently completed Emergency Response to HazMat (ERHM) which is certified at the Awareness level. The IAFF has applied to offer certification for its newly updated Confined Space Rescue (CSR) course. The IAFF expects approval from the Pro Board in 2018 to certify successful students at the Awareness, Operational and Technician level.
Since the program’s inception44,076 certifications for first responder operations were submitted to the Pro Board for inclusion in the national registry. A total of 10,993 certifications were awarded at the Hazmat Awareness level. Another 32,379 certifications were awarded at the Operations, Mission-Specific PPE and Product Control levels. In addition to the FRO certifications, a total of 704 HazMat Technician certifications were submitted to the Pro Board to be added to the National Registry. Of all the Pro Board accredited agencies internationally, the IAFF continues to issue the most certifications each year.
Board of Directors: Pro Board Committee on Accreditation (COA)
Vilma Perez- Atwood, IAFF curricula development coordinator, who was appointed by the General President continues to serve on the Pro Board COA. She is responsible for the assignment of Pro Board site visit teams, the approval of new and pending accreditations, re-accreditations, extensions to accreditation and other requests from accredited agencies.
Additionally, the IAFF continues to be represented on the Board of Directors by AGP Elizabeth Harman who was also appointed by the General President. The Pro Board Advisory Committee includes representation from the Canadian office as hazmat instructor Bruce White continues to serve as a committee member.
DOT ALERT/ IAFC
On February 1, 2016 the department began the its DOT ALERT contract in conjunction with the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC). The subcontract valued at $350,000 was completed on August 15, 2017. The partnership with IAFC allowed the IAFF to customize its HazMat Operations program to train emergency responders how to effectively respond to incidents that involve shipments of crude oil, ethanol and other flammable liquids by rail to underserved rural communities. Training was conducted without the use of IAFF grant funding, and additional revenue was generated by the IAFF.
On October 31, 2017 the department began a second, one-year DOT ALERT partnership with IAFC. The subcontract valued at $65,000 is scheduled to be complete by September 15, 2018. As with the previous year’s contract, this contract with the IAFC will HazMat Operations classes to rural responders. Courses will include either the newly developed Emergency Response to HazMat or the HazMat Operations class which focuses on the railway transportation of crude oil. he two-day course has an online awareness prerequisite.
In April 2017, the IAFF began work with Qal-Tek, a provider of radiation safety training, to develop a certification test bank for the Hazmat Technician with a Radiological Material Specialty. One month later the IAFF was granted an extension to its accreditation to NFPA® 472: Standard for Competence of Responders to Hazardous Materials / Weapons of Mass Destruction Incidents, Chapter 18 Competencies for the Hazardous Materials Technician with a Radioactive Material Specialty and approved to offer certification at this level. As a part of this agreement, Qal-Tek will deliver their training program, and the IAFF will proctor the final exam and issue Pro Board certification to successful students.
When DHS grant-funded training for response to terrorist attacks was scheduled to end in September 2017, the IAFF entered into a partnership with the City of New York and FDNY to deliver the 16-hour program called Emergency Response to Terrorism: ERT: Ops. The program was funded by New York’s Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) funding. IAFF Master Instructors from Locals 854 and 94 were approved to conduct the training. The three-year contract valued at $1,170,000 will allow for ERT: Ops deliveries from February 13, 2017 to February 12, 2020.
This training will also generate additional revenue for the IAFF.
Hazmat Training Curriculum
First Responder Operations
The Pro Board-accredited First Responder Operations (FRO) course is a three-day, participant-centered, instructor-led training program. The program was developed for fire, rescue, emergency medical service (EMS) personnel and other professionals who may respond to incidents involving hazardous materials and/or weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). The FRO course continues to meet and exceed the requirements outlined in the OSHA and EPA regulations for Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER). It also addresses the competencies of NFPA® 472, Standard for Competence of Responders to Hazardous Materials/Weapons of Mass Destruction Incidents, 2013 edition.
Students who successfully complete the course receive certification for Chapter 4, Competencies for Awareness Level Personnel; Chapter 5, Core Competencies for Operations Level Responders; and Chapter 6, Competencies for Operations Level Responders Assigned Mission-Specific Responsibilities for Personal Protective Equipment and Product Control. These certifications also enable students to meet the requirements of Fire Fighter I for hazardous materials identified in NFPA 1001, Standard for Fire Fighter Professional Qualifications, 2013 edition.
In addition, the FRO course was updated for Canadian affiliates. As required by the CBRNE training initiative, the translation of the Hazmat Operations program had to be translated into French. Subsequently, the French version had to be updated as well. The translation is complete, and all course materials are updated. The revised course was delivered in November 2017. The Canadian provinces continue to experience a dramatic increase in requests for training.
The HazMat Technician program has been updated. Course deliveries began in March 2017. The HazMat Technician course is designed specifically for fire and rescue personnel who respond to incidents involving hazardous materials and/or weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). This Pro Board accredited course is a 10-day (80 hour), instructor-led training program for first responders designed to provide classroom and hands-on scenario instruction. Skill scenarios, all randomly selected, require students to apply the Analyze, Plan, Implement, and Execute (APIE) process. It includes mandatory completion of analysis, detection and monitoring, response planning, PPE and decontamination selection and product control. Participants who pass the written certification exam and skills scenario testing are certified at the Technician level. These students are entered in to the Pro Board’s National Registry. The department continues to use the International Fire Service Training Association (IFSTA), Hazardous Materials Technician, 1st Edition manual.
Confined Space Operations & Confined Space Rescue
The new Confined Space Operations (CSO) and Confined Space Rescue (CSR) courses are three and five-day programs respectively. Delivery of both courses began in the winter 2017. The courses are instructor-led training programs that provide participants with basic information for confined space responses. Topics include confined space regulations and standards, responder health and safety, PPE, monitoring and detection devices, ventilation techniques, patient care and transport and retrieval systems.
Course participants learn how pre-incident planning can help responders prepare for confined space operational and rescue incidents and how to conduct a pre-plan. Case histories are included to illustrate hazards and hazard control. Hands-on demonstrations are included to help teach specific skills using ventilation equipment, rescue equipment, as well as isolation and decontamination techniques. The five-day CSR program contains hands-on skills scenario demonstration, practice and subsequent testing using their department’s rescue equipment.
Also included in these programs is the Confined Space Introduction web-based training course that is a prerequisite for both instructor-led courses. It covers the regulations that govern confined spaces and permit-required confined spaces as well as the definition of confined spaces and inherent hazards. The IAFF has applied for and is awaiting approval regarding Pro Board accreditation of the CSR program.
Emergency Response to Terrorism: Operations – Refresher
The one-day ERT: Ops Refresher program continues to be delivered along with the Introduction to Weapon of Mass Destruction, web-based training course (ERT-WBT), which is designed to be a prerequisite for the ERT: Ops Refresher instructor-led course. The overall goal of the program is to train first responders at the Operations level (e.g., fire fighters, emergency medical personnel, law enforcement) to ensure a safe, competent response to incidents involving WMDs, and reduce responder exposure, injury and death. The 1.5-hour web-based course examines recent events and current trends in terrorism and emergency response as well as the types of WMDs. This operational program is an alternative for annual HazMat refresher training.
Hazmat Operations & Hazmat Awareness – DOT Alert
Using the IAFF’s Hazmat FRO curricula, the two-day, instructor-led program was developed which focuses on recent crude-by-rail incidents, regulatory changes, chemical/physical properties of crude oil and ethanol. The program utilizes the IAFF APIE response process providing clues to recognizing a hazmat emergency.
The instructor-led component of the program was updated with information related to rail incidents involving highly flammable liquids. Changes were made to objectives as well as content and learning activities. The newly-redesigned program allows instructors to check awareness level knowledge while teaching the operations level knowledge and skills. Through a participant-centered process, fire fighters learn about recent crude-by-rail incidents, regulatory changes, chemical/physical properties of crude oil and ethanol, clues to recognizing a hazmat emergency and the use of the IAFF APIE process.
The Hazmat Awareness web-based training prerequisite is designed to train responders to the operations level of hazardous materials training and must be completed prior to attending the classroom portion of the program.
Various lessons from the FRO program were converted into online modules to cover the prerequisite for HazMat Operations, HazMat Awareness competencies of NFPA® 472. The online course takes between two and four hours to complete.
The updated Frontline Safety (FLS) curriculum was completed in summer 2017 with deliveries beginning the following September. The new program was changed from two days to one and addresses key issues related to fire fighter health and safety. The purpose of the course is to help decrease the number of injuries and deaths by helping fire fighters become safety leaders and advocates for safer behavior.
The revised FLS course includes a personal safety survey that is facilitated through an anonymous online polling application used in conjunction with smart devices. Anonymity provides a better chance that students will respond honestly to questions related to actions they take to ensure their own safety (e.g. wearing seatbelts, having regular medical exams). The new program also provides discussion of the truths and myths associated with fire fighter safety, injuries and fatalities and how to identify the difference between safe and unsafe conduct. It now incorporates the NIOSH Fire Fighter Fatality Project and includes discussions about the causes of fire fighter injuries and fatalities. During the course participants engage in a variety of small group activities, discuss the Frontline Safety model of contributing factors to firefighter near misses, injuries and fatalities. It also gives emergency responders the opportunity to learn new strategies to help decrease injury and death.
Frontline Safety for Department of Energy Workers
In the fall of 2017 the IAFF met with DOE workers and other subject matter experts at the department’s Hammer Training facility in Hanford, WA to discuss moving forward with a request to customize the IAFF’s safety culture training program, Frontline Safety, to meet agency standards. DOE requested the training as part of efforts to combat safety complacency, especially in its high danger work areas, notably U.S. nuclear facilities. The agency’s existing safety training, although required to take frequently, has not gone far enough in reducing the number of worker safety incidents.
DOE was drawn to the program’s messaging which included a compelling video featuring NASA Col. R. Michael Mullane’s presentation at the 2008 IAFF Redmond Symposium. Mullane discussed the global effect of habitual safety negligence or “Normalization of Deviance.” His talk describes years of mistakes NASA made that contributed to the Challenger explosion and other casualties caused by years of safety complacency and fear of management retribution. His message about the training program was very well received by DOE, and they believe the customized course will allow workers to reflect on their own values and actions regarding to the department’s safety culture.
Since the modified program was developed, the IAFF has conducted one pilot in Carlsbad, New Mexico. The feedback from both DOE trainers and students was positive with few changes to the materials. Trainers were exposed to team teaching for the first time whereby instructors build lessons using each other’s presentations. Student surveys indicated that it was well received. One survey stated, “That the course information was relevant to the DOE although it was developed for the fire service. Very important for the groups to see the crossover and similar techniques used in different situations.” The IAFF is scheduled to conduct another pilot and then a train-the-trainer program in May 2018.
Emergency Response to HazMat (ERHM)
The development of the new Emergency Response to HazMat (ERHM) course is almost complete. Three instructor-led pilot classes were recently conducted in Fairfax, Virginia; Tucson, Arizona; and St. Peters, Missouri. The program was created to teach the community how to plan for and respond to hazmat incidents in addition to training the community how to assist during recovery. This whole community approach integrates all members as vital partners in response to natural and man-made disasters. The program is appropriate for fire fighters, emergency medical technicians, law enforcement, emergency managers, community leaders, organizations serving individuals with disabilities, faith-based organizations and skilled support personnel. The ERHM curriculum includes emergency response, EMS, evacuation, preparing shelters and providing food and water to residents in need. The new course combines a two-day instructor-led course with the hazard recognition web-based training prerequisite. Students who successfully complete the course will receive IAFF Pro Board certification at the awareness level. Currently, the course is undergoing testing for 508 compliance by DHS 3rd party reviewers.
Planning and Response to High Consequence Incidents (HiC)
The development of the new HiC course is almost complete. One instructor-led pilot class was conducted in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and another is pending. The course was created to train traditional emergency responders, members of state and local emergency planning commissions, and other community members to identify the risks associated with the transport of crude oil by rail and the storage and use of fertilizer and technical grade of ammonium nitrate. Community partners include but are not limited to emergency managers, state and local planning commissions, emergency responders (fire fighter and law enforcement), facility and rail personnel, private and nonprofit sectors, faith-based organizations and all levels of government.
Participants will identify hazardous materials that are within their community, potential events where the threat of hostile incidents exists and the harm an intentional or unintentional release may cause. The students will learn how to use the APIE Response Process to safely and effectively respond to incidents while reducing the possibility of exposure, injury, and fatalities. The HiC program combines a one-day instructor-led course with the Hazards and High Consequence Incidents web-based training prerequisite. Students who successfully complete the course will receive an IAFF certification of completion.
Response to Illicit Drug Labs
The Response to Illicit Drug Labs course incorporates the APIE Risk-Based Process for those fire, rescue, emergency medical service (EMS) and other personnel who may respond to incidents involving illicit drugs and manufacturing sites. This course continues to be delivered and is an alternative for annual HazMat refresher training.
Response to Infectious Disease
This course provides specific instruction on the chain of infection, laws and standards and the personal protective measures available to emergency responders for the prevention of airborne and blood-borne pathogens including emergency response procedures to potential Ebola outbreaks.
Emergency Response to Terrorism: Operations – First Responder Operations
The department updated the Train-the-Trainer for the Emergency Response to Terrorism: Operations (ERT-Ops) course and the Emergency Response to Terrorism: Refresher (ERT-Ops Refresher) course to be specific to ERT-Ops. The train-the-trainer course consists of an online self-instructional workbook, Train-the-Trainer: IAFF Educational Methodology and a 16-hour, instructor-led course. Educational methodology is covered in the online pre-requisite to allow participants to review and prepare prior to the course.
The FRO train-the-trainer program was updated to provide course specific materials of the program. This course will use the same online self-instructional workbook as other newly created trainer programs do.
Both instructor-led courses are comprised of IAFF policies, course walk-throughs with specific educational methodology reviewed and participant facilitation of course material. During the participant facilitation, attendees will work in pairs allowing them to experience team-teaching. They will provide feedback on their own performance and hear from peers and master instructors. In addition, teach backs conducted as a part of the program are assigned prior to the beginning of the course. This allows the student to be better prepared during the evaluation portion of the program. Videotaping of the teach backs is highly recommended. The protocol initially developed for the ERT-Ops will be the template for future IAFF train-the-trainer courses.
HazMat Training Licensing Program
The IAFF HazMat Training Licensing Program has grown since its launch in 2016 when the HazMat Operations and Technician programs were offered to fire departments to train their members and receive Pro Board® certification. The program was created to provide high–quality training to departments and training facilities that have ongoing training needs. Licensing training has also allowed the IAFF to free up funding and enhance its reach to underserved areas that need attention.
In the past the IAFF HazMat training programs were offered to any departments requesting a train-the-trainer, but with the new Pro Board® certified courses the IAFF needed a formal license to ensure that it would be taught in accordance with its strict guidelines. Under licensing, the training site agrees to terms and conditions that stipulate all aspects of the indirect training.
Affiliates can apply for a license by going to the HazMat Training Department webpage or by emailing [email protected]. By going online, they can complete a brief application about the facility’s training equipment and instructor pool. Once approved, the HazMat department will set up a train-the-trainer event to teach instructors how to deliver the program.
Licenses for non-affiliated training sites will require an annual fee that will help offset the costs of audits while managing their training records and individual certification costs. Affiliates will not pay an annual licensing fee but will be charged fees associated with test proctoring.
Several departments have already signed licensing agreements including Sioux Falls, SD (IAFF Local 814), North Bay, ON (IAFF Local 284), Kitchener, ON (IAFF Local 457), Guelph, ON (IAFF Local 467), Casa Grande, AZ (IAFF Local 3752) and Milwaukee, WI (IAFF Local 215). As of this report, two other departments have licenses pending: Los Angeles City, CA (IAFF Local 112) and Brantford, ON (IAFF Local 460).
HazMat Master Instructors
The IAFF master instructor cadre is comprised of 70 fire fighter/paramedics. They include 60 U.S. and 10 Canadian instructors who have extensive experience in firefighting, hazardous materials and educational methodology. The highly competitive appointment is made by the General President. Appointments are made for a three-year term, however, annual support documentation from their respective IAFF local presidents is required. Instructors must reapply and compete at the end of their appointment term.
Instruction Evaluation Program (IEP)
The HazMat training department continues to enhance its measures of instructor performance and has updated its instructor evaluation program.
Instructor evaluation is a vital part of the department’s effort to maintain quality instruction. The evaluator’s role in this process is critical. The evaluation process is designed to provide an opportunity for the instructor to demonstrate teaching methods and skills, provide an objective evaluation of an instructor, give positive feedback and constructive criticism about the instructor’s teaching methods and provide time for an exchange of ideas between the evaluator and the instructor. Evaluation sessions will be conducted for each IAFF master instructor at least once every two years. The program is expected to be implemented in Spring 2018.
The IEP program continues to evaluate the performance of all other levels of its instructor team, including the local instructor (a student who completed an IAFF train-the-trainer course and teaches within their own department), mentor/mentee and the instructor Lead Program.
Local instructors are evaluated by the master instructors at every co-teaching opportunity. Their skills are measured against concrete objectives, (e.g., demonstrating mastery of the program, effectively engaging participants, presenting themselves professionally). The results of these evaluations as well as the database metrics are combined and reviewed regularly.
The IAFF Hazmat mentor program was developed for newly appointed master instructors to gain knowledge and insight from seasoned master instructors. Instructors are required to team teach a hazmat class up to three times with their mentor to complete the program. New instructors must audit certain operational level courses. The instructors are evaluated by their mentors during their co-teaching opportunities. All new instructors attend their first Instructor Development Conference and are immediately paired with a mentor.
The lead program is an informal assessment system that the department developed to categorize instructors’ abilities to teach each of the hazmat programs. The department continues to use the feedback of some of its strongest, most highly respected instructors, or leads, to determine those instructors best suited to deliver each program. Each lead continues to evaluate the methods and techniques of the instructors within the cadre after teaching with them. The lead instructor provides advice and recommendations to the HazMat department regarding instructor’s strengths.
Instructor Development Conference
The Instructor Development Conference (IDC) is an annual meeting held by the HazMat training department in conjunction with the Health, Safety and Medicine Division and the education division. The audience is comprised of Hazmat, PEP, PFT and FGS instructors.
The purpose of the hazmat instructor segment of the conference is to inform the participants of new or existing policies and provide updates on program curricula, grant funding status, goals, objectives and training accomplishments that include the amount and type of classes conducted in addition to students trained.
The HazMat master instructors attend various break-out sessions and are active listeners during guest speaker presentations that are facilitated by subject matter experts from fields including weapons of mass destruction, railroad emergency response, emerging technologies, teaching techniques, innovative equipment and generational differences.
The IDC was held in Phoenix, Arizona in 2016 and in Clearwater, Florida, in 2017. The 2018 IDC will be conducted in San Antonio, TX on October 2-4.
HazMat Advisory Board
The HazMat Advisory Board consists of 12 appointed members who represent the fire/rescue service, labor, public health, academia and industry and is a requirement for federal funding. The board provides oversight for IAFF HazMat/CBRNE grants, advice to the program director and recommendations regarding program content and delivery. The board reviews the overall training plan of the HazMat Training Department and Canadian CBRNE Contribution Agreement and examines training materials and proposed evaluation tools. The board meets annually and receives regular written and electronic correspondence regarding pending activities. Board members are encouraged to attend IAFF training sessions, conduct evaluations and assess the quality of training. A full list of A members and their biographies can be found at http://www.iaff.org/et/HW/advboard.html. The next meeting is scheduled for October 2018 in conjunction with the upcoming IDC.
Grants Administration and Hazmat Committee
District Vice President Thomas Thornberg serves as chair of the Grants Administration and Hazmat Committee. Additional membership includes the following district vice presidents: Vice Chairman James Slevin, Walter Dix, Michael Hurley, Frank Lima, Andrew Pantelis, Mark Sanders, Ricky Walsh and Elizabeth M. Harman, who serves as staff advisor. The committee is charged with reviewing, evaluating and making recommendations to the executive board concerning policies, programs and services offered, including proposals from the General President related to the mission of the Grants Administration and Hazmat Training Division. The committee meets at each executive board meeting and a final committee report is produced.
Evaluation of HazMat Training
To ensure effectiveness of its mission the IAFF continues to deliver high-quality training programs to emergency personnel and maintains a rigorous evaluation process of its programs and their impact. Each of the programs are developed by professional training designers along with professional fire fighters who serve on fire safety standards boards. The courses are continuously examined by third-party performance evaluators that use the Kirkpatrick model of training evaluation.
Since the department centralized its selection of instructors, student registration, test scoring and student surveys through its iMIS database, it has been able to quickly gather data to gauge the effectiveness of each instructor. Automation allowed the department to collect post-course surveys on each instructor in an online format. The immediate feedback allows performance evaluation in real time so that any issues can be addressed quickly. The first online component is the Daily Digest. This report is generated daily providing student course and instructor survey information and is sent directly to department management for review. Some questions highlighted in the report include: what content was valuable, least valuable, how was the instructor/instruction of the class, what was valuable and least valuable. This method led to improvements in the quality of each program. It also allows the instructor an opportunity to get immediate feedback on the “classroom teaching experience.”
HazMat Training Department Internal Efficiencies
Test Development, Scanning, Scoring and Reporting- ParTest/ParScore
The IAFF purchased a new test development, scoring and testing system called ParTest/ParScore that replaces LXR which was no longer being supported. All LXR test banks were submitted to ParTest/ParScore so the files could be converted to the new system. The new product meets the department’s needs including the ability to house a large test bank, incorporate multiple styles into the tests, conduct test stratification, create multiple versions of tests, calculate scores and generate various reports of results. Training for staff was conducted in January 2018. The IAFF will continue to use the LXR testing system until the new system has been tested and is fully operational.
In October 2017, the IAFF and the North American Fire Training Directors (NAFTD) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to assist in delivering proctored retest examinations for students attending IAFF training classes. Students requesting a retest are those who did not successfully pass the initial IAFF test when the class was offered. NAFTD agreed to administer these exams without charging the student or the IAFF. The NAFTD provides training to more than 900,000 firefighters and emergency responders across the United States and Canada each year. They also provide internationally accredited certification programs that include strict and secure exam deliveries, much like the requirements of the HazMat Department’s Pro Board accredited courses. Students who take a retest with an organization that also delivers proctored exams will eliminate the need to have Master Instructors travel to revisit the original course location. The NAFTD also partners with the National Board on Fire Service Professional Qualifications (Pro Board) and is the face of the National Fire Academy (NFA) in every state.
The Department continues to enhance its use of iMIS. iMIS coordinates the life cycle of training from requests, online registration, training deliveries, course material shipping/receiving, inventory, course and instructor evaluation and certificate generation.
This database helped increase classroom training time as registration with demographic information, required for our federal partners, is completed online prior to class. Course certifications are now electronic and provided at the completion of an online post course survey. The registration process was also updated to allow a student to request a “reasonable accommodation” during the testing process. The request is redirected to the human resources department, and a staff member then walks the student through the process. Typical requests including allowing additional time to take the test, moving to a quieter room, or rooms with special lighting. This ensures the playing field is level for all test takers.
The IAFF IT department implemented Google translate as part of the French registration and survey process. This allowed French speakers greater convenience during the registration process. The online surveys sent to students have been changed to use this same software format.
Learning Management System
The department continues to enhance its Learning Management System (LMS). This system combines database management with the digital framework for managing curricula, training materials and evaluation tools. The department uses it to communicate with iMIS so prerequisites for classes can be tracked and verified. Several courses were uploaded to the LMS including Introduction to Weapons of Mass Destruction, Hazmat Awareness, Confined Space Introduction, HazMat Recognition and Emergency Response to High Consequence Incidents. Several upgrades are currently scheduled.
The IAFF IT department is also working to implement a Moodle (LMS) bridge which will allow integration with the LMS and iMIS. This will allow registration and course data and reporting to occur in iMIS. Additional upgrades and course integrations are still underway. Once the project is complete, all on-line courses across the IAFF will be integrated into one system.