The Safety & Training Bureau is led by Deputy Chief Mike Linkins. (bio)
The Safety & Training Bureau is charged with providing department-wide training activities to maintain compliance with local, state, and federal requirements, as well as providing educational programs designed to improve firefighter, paramedic and EMT skills, enhance personnel safety and ultimately provide a higher level of emergency service delivery to the citizens of Polk County. Competent training ensures the safety of the public, as well as the safety and efficiency of Fire Rescue personnel.
With a fire rescue department of this size, innovative methods of course delivery must be explored. To that end, we have partnered with Ridge Career Center, a Polk County Public School, for much of our in-service training.
- Training Requirements
Although our recruits are hired with state certifications as a firefighter / EMT, paramedic, or both, it is imperative that new employees are trained to the standards required by Polk County Fire Rescue. With one of the nation’s most aggressive / advanced paramedic protocols, PCFR recruits endure an intensive medical and fire orientation program that is followed by a closely scrutinized and evaluated probationary period. This recruit orientation program is a comprehensive training process that ensures that the member will be able to function effectively in this challenging work environment.
Orientation for new firefighters, EMTs and paramedics consists of classroom, hand-on and monitored on-the-job training to complete function specific checklists and performance tests. The Office of Medical Direction also tests all new paramedics upon completion of orientation and authorizes them to operate under the direction and license of the Medical Director.
- Volunteer Training
Polk County Fire Rescue still maintains a volunteer contingent of about 75 volunteer firefighters. By state firefighter standards, all volunteer firefighters must attain Firefighter I or higher certification in order to participate as a volunteer firefighter. The Safety & Training Bureau provides this training as well as ongoing, more advanced training for these volunteers.
- Additional Training
Re-certification and continuing education is a critical component of every fire rescue member’s development as a firefighter / paramedic, company officer and eventually a competent chief officer. These functions are coordinated by the Safety & Training Bureau. Many of the college level courses needed for advancement are taught in-house for our members.