• Mon, 17 Jul 2017 16:17:00 +0000: What You Should Know About Accrediting Paramedic Education - IAFF Frontline Blog
    The upcoming John P. Redmond Health and Safety Symposium/Dominick Barbera EMS Conference will include a comprehensive session on how fire departments – large and small – can build their own paramedic education programs.

    Small- and mid-sized fire departments can do many things to start their own paramedic education programs and the accreditation process. However, misconceptions about cost, flexibility and instructor educational requirements may stop discussions as soon as they start. There are costs associated with accreditation, as well as the day to day operational program expenses. 

    Did you know costs can be shared by seeking partnerships with community agencies, such as a community college,  university, hospital  or medical clinic, to deliver a paramedic education training program? Additionally, partnering with another fire department can help spread costs and strengthen operations across a region. Just be mindful, if your fire department decides to seek a secondary accreditation with a sponsor that is a post-secondary academic institution, the sponsor needs to be accredited by a regional or national institutional accrediting agency (or equivalent) that is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

    The Committee on Accreditation of Educational Programs for the Emergency Medical Services Professions provides a breakdown of fees. But don’t be deterred by expenses; instead, think of ways to maximize opportunities and minimize misunderstanding. For more information on acceptable accrediting agencies, visit http://coaemsp.org/Standards.htm

    Keep in mind, programs can be flexible as long as they include an appropriate sequence of classroom, laboratory, hospital and field internship activities. Additionally, not all instructors for an accredited program need to have a bachelor’s degree – only the program director. With planning and understanding, any department can support, or be a partner in, an accredited paramedic education program.

    The session, “Teaching Our Own: Building a Fire Department-Based Paramedic Training Program,” addresses these and other aspects of starting a paramedic education program and the accreditation process. President of Shreveport, LA Local 514 Barbara Sellers and EMS Standing Committee Representative Jeff Sadtler represent the IAFF on the accreditation board to assure that education stays accessible to our members, and will be presenters for this session on paramedic education requisites, changes and opportunities.

    The IAFF supports accreditation and is dedicated to helping its members learn more about the process and why it’s important for fire departments to pursue accreditation.

    Register for the conference and select the “Teaching Our Own: Building a Fire Department-Based Paramedic” workshop on August 10 at 9:00 a.m.

  • Fri, 09 Jun 2017 15:19:00 +0000: Learn More About Accrediting Paramedic Education - IAFF Frontline Blog

    Four years ago, the paramedic education requisites changed, requiring all programs to be accredited for graduates to be eligible to take the national registry examinations. The IAFF believes this change from a voluntary standard to a mandatory standard ensures that students receive consistent and high quality education in their paramedic programs. This is accomplished by requiring educational programs to meet the accreditation standards set forth by the Board of Directors which includes two members from the IAFF to ensure the minimal national standards are achieved and maintained. No other level of EMS training meets a national standard.

     With this change comes numerous misconceptions about the paramedic education program. That's why the IAFF has scheduled a comprehensive session during the upcoming John P. Redmond Health and Safety Symposium/Dominick Barbera EMS Conference to help members better understand these changes and to separate fact from fiction. Following are some examples.

    Fiction: Only colleges or universities can have an accredited paramedic program.

    Fact: This is false. Fire-based academics, hospital-based training and even independent training organizations can provide this education.

    Fiction:  The standards are too strict for a fire department to run a paramedic program.

    Fact: This is false. The standards were developed to create a consistent and high quality educational environment, not as a means of reducing access to education or to bar organizations outside the academic setting from supporting their own programs.


    Fiction: All instructors must have a Bachelor's degree.

    Fact: Only the program director must have a Bachelor's degree at this time.


    Fiction: It is too expensive to operate a department-based paramedic education program.

    Fact: Determining whether it is cost-prohibitive to operate a paramedic training program can only be determined by each organization on a case-by-case basis.  There are costs associated with accreditation, as well as the day-to-day operational program expenses, but determining which model is most cost effective while delivering the best outcome requires internal analysis.


    Fiction: If a fire department operates an educational program, students from outside of the department can't attend.

    Fact: Eligible students are at the discretion of the program. Having other students from outside the fire department can help lower the costs of the program.

     We want our IAFF members to understand that the process is open. Resources and support are available from CoAEMSP and other departments that operate an accredited program.

     At our Health, Safety and EMS Conference in Vancouver this August, instructors will address the first steps of the approval process for operating a paramedic training program, including receiving a Letter of Review from CoAEMSP to begin the process. For details on how to begin, visit www.coaemsp.org. The International Association of Fire Chiefs, NAEMT and the AAA are all partners in this effort.

    Several IAFF affiliates have helped their fire departments implement fire-based accredited programs, including {Phoenix, AZ Local 493, Tacoma, WA Local 31, Memphis, TN Local 1784, Abilene, TX Local 1044 and Laredo, TX Local 872. 

    Register for our Redmond-EMS Conference and sign up for the Teaching Our Own: Building a Fire Department-Based Paramedic workshop on August 10 at 9:00 a.m.


  • Thu, 04 May 2017 14:37:00 +0000: Cancer Awareness and Prevention - IAFF Frontline Blog

    The IAFF and its affiliates continue to educate our members on cancer awareness and the reduction of exposure risks. Numerous fire fighter cancer studies, including the NIOSH study, show that the occupation of firefighting has a higher rate of certain cancers than the general population. The IAFF’s online Cancer Awareness and Prevention course IAFF Online Cancer Awareness Course and the Partnership Education Program’s Cancer Awareness and Prevention course are designed to help members avoid and decrease individual risk factors for cancer.

    Additionally, locals and state associations provide education. One very successful program is the Healthy In, Healthy Out program by the Washington State Council of Fire Fighters. The efforts of Washington state IAFF members fighting cancer is being recognized in the labor movement. Healthy In, Healthy Out, a best practices manual for reducing fire fighter risk of exposure to cancer is featured in the Northwest Labor Press (news for working people). The manual takes fire fighters through the many stages, including: finance, command, planning and more – to help improve cancer prevention. 

    The manual is available on the Washington State Council of Fire Fighters website.

    You can also view the accompanying video released in 2016. 

  • Fri, 28 Apr 2017 15:13:00 +0000: Michigan workers don't get fooled by the pension game - IAFF Frontline Blog

    Good read by Bailey Childers, executive director, of the National Public Pension Coalition who encourages Michigan workers to not fall for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy smoke and mirrors game in attempt to hurt the credibility of the state operated pension system.

    The Mackinac Center is heavily supported by the billionaire Koch brothers (who are no friends to fire fighters and unions). The organization describes itself as “dedicated to improving the quality of life for all Michigan residents by promoting sound solutions to state and local policy questions.”

    But as Childers writes the “Mackinac Center is a small cog in a higher national anti-pension machine – created to make previously unaccepted policies – such as slashing taxes on the wealthy or gutting pension benefits for working people – seem acceptable.”

    Their goal in Michigan is to help change the pension discussion that would cost workers hundreds of millions of dollars. In recent years, think tanks like the Mackinac Center have pushed policies on the local level that have spread to other statehouses negatively affecting our members. It is important for our members to stay vigilant and to support their best interests.

    Let’s not forget in 2013, a Mackinac Center blogger questioned the city of Flint’s plan to offer fire fighters an opportunity to live in rehabilitated homes to help increase the retention rates of first responders in the city. The blogger asked, "Why do firefighters or police officers deserve a discount, but not private business owners or employees?"

    The IAFF will keep an eye on what’s happening in the states and provide updates as necessary.

  • Thu, 13 Apr 2017 15:09:00 +0000: Six Reasons to Enter the IAFF Media Awards - IAFF Frontline Blog
    2017 IAFF Media Awards Contest Now Open!

    1) Bragging Rights. Everyone loves a winner. Submit your best work in communicating with your members, elected leaders and the public - you could win an IAFF Media Award and be recognized among the best in the IAFF.
    2) Tell Your Story. The Media Awards contest is a great way to share your story about the work IAFF members do in your community - on and off the job.
    3) Be Recognized. Contest winners are recognized on the IAFF website, via social media and in Fire Fighter Quarterly magazine.
    4) Cool Swag. Winners receive cash prizes and awards! First Place prize is $500, plus an "I won an IAFF Media Awards T-shirt and plaque.
    5) Build Relationships. The Media Awards contest is a great opportunity to develop relationships with reporters and build a positive public image.
    6) Unlimited Opportunities. Your winning entry can help build your brand, create, increase membership morale, inspire other locals and create a greater awareness of the important work that professional fire fighters and paramedics in the United States and Canada do to keep the public safe.
    The deadline for entries is June 1, 2017. Read the contest rules and enter online. Be sure to submit entries using the appropriate form - IAFF Affiliate or Media/Journalist.
    Entries must have been produced, published or broadcast between January 1 and December 31, 2016. All submissions must be approved by the president of the local or state/provincial affiliate to be considered for the contest.
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