20 fire officers lose ranks after failing to submit certifications

The Harford County Volunteer Fire and EMS Association officers will not be able to hold ranks until they qualify under the certification standards

By FireRescue1 Staff

HARFORD COUNTY, Md. — About 20 volunteer fire officers lost their ranks after failing to submit new certifications by the deadline.

The Baltimore Sun reported that the new certification requirement was implemented five years ago in an effort to organize training, but was originally up to individual departments.

“It was up to individual fire companies to kind of police themselves. Some companies have higher standards, some of them had far lower standards,” department spokesperson Rich Gardiner said.

The firefighters who did not submit certifications by the July 1 deadline cannot hold ranks such as chief, lieutenant or captain, but they can still respond to calls, according to Gardiner.

“Volunteer firefighters and volunteer fire companies want to be treated the same as career,” Susquehanna Hose Company Scott Hurst said. “Well, if you want to be treated the same, you have to be well trained.”

The certification required fire officers to complete training courses, such as leadership and incident response, but fire service veterans have the option of submitting letters detailing how they learned the skills through experience to the county board, who would decide if the experience counted as credit.

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