Retiring fire chief claims DC fire recruits are rushed through training

A scathing memo was left by a 27-year deputy fire chief to reinforce warnings given to management about recruits that are lacking basic skills

By FireRescue1 Staff

WASHINGTON — A retiring deputy fire chief wrote a memo before he left to warn management of the lack of training fire recruits are receiving before going on duty, which he said they have known about for years.

NBC Washington reported that the 27-year fire veteran of D.C. Fire and EMS Department said rookies area woefully underprepared and are being rushed through the Academy.

The nine-page memo highlighted reports of recent recruits who lack skills such as how to operate a fire hydrant and turning on portable radios. It also said the rushing is due to a shortened training period of eight weeks.

"I think it’s unconscionable,” D.C. Firefighters Union Local 36 President Dabney Hudson said in response to the memo. "When you shortchange the training, you shortchange everybody."

Hudson said his own training was 18 weeks, and the information was a lot to grasp, even in the longer period of time.

"To think they would cut that to 8 to 10 weeks ... I couldn’t imagine,” he said.

Fire Chief Gregory Dean said he thinks the training is adequate.

"Training has been and remains my top priority since joining the Department, and we have significantly expanded the frequency and level of training," Dean said.

The memo adds that some recruits don’t even have a strong enough educational background to begin training, but Dean said each recruit undergoes evaluations and must have a diploma or GED.

The training facilities and equipment are also not adequate, according to the memo. The retiring deputy chief said the building is too small, there are no training vehicles and the air tank supply is limited.

Dean said the department is already working on some of the issues.

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