JIBC updates its firefighter training programs to meet new Playbook training standards
The BC Office of the Fire Commissioner (OFC) has released a new firefighter training standard: the Structure Firefighters Competency and Training Playbook. It was developed in consultation with a wide range of stakeholders, including the Fire & Safety Division (FSD) at the Justice Institute of British Columbia (JIBC).
Since then, the FSD has taken advantage of the release of the new standards in the Playbook as an opportunity to conduct a comprehensive review of its existing courses and programs. The review has included determining what changes were required, if any, to meet the needs of the new standards, and exploring ways to improve learning opportunities for prospective and professional firefighters in B.C. and across the country.
Changes to JIBC Firefighting Training Programs
The review has led to a number of improvements to JIBC’s firefighting education and training programs:
- JIBC is aligning its vocational firefighting training programs to the requirements established in the Playbook. JIBC’s “Basic Fire Fighter,” “BC Fire Fighter I,” and “BC Fire Fighter I/II” programs will be replaced with “Exterior Fire Fighter Operations” (EFFO), “Interior Fire Fighter Operations” (IFFO), and “Full Service Fire Fighter Operations” (FSFFO) programs.
- Each program will be a stand-alone program and will provide the required education and training for firefighters based on the level of fire service a community is required to declare they provide.
- Firefighters that complete IFFO will receive their NFPA 1001 Fire Fighter Level I certification with IFSAC and ProBoard seals. Firefighters that complete FSFFO will receive their NFPA 1001 Fire Fighter Level II certification with IFSAC and ProBoard seals.
- Additionally, these new training programs will align with, and ladder into, JIBC’s Fire Fighting Technologies Certificate (FFTC). This will provide firefighters an opportunity to obtain academic credit for their education, which can be used towards further education to advance in their career. (For example, the FFTC ladders into the Fire & Safety Studies Diploma, and the diploma ladders into the Bachelor of Public Safety Administration).
Details about the transition into the new programs will be shared as they become finalized. While the changes are significant, it is the goal of the FSD to ensure the transition into the new programs is as seamless as possible.
A FAQ document will be made available to provide answers to the common questions about the upcoming changes to FSD programming.
In the meantime, please note:
- Firefighters/students currently in the process of completing training modules within existing JIBC firefighter programs are strongly encouraged to work with their departments to complete their modules and write their exams as soon as possible.
- Following completion of JIBC’s internal post-secondary approval process, once the new programs are approved, there will be a transition period for firefighters/students in existing programs to change into the new program. Though a date for this transition period has yet to be determined, ample notice will be provided and the FSD will help fire departments through the transition. Also note that once the transition to the new program starts, JIBC will suspend all new applications to the old “Basic Fire Fighter,” “BC Fire Fighter I” and “BC Fire Fighter I/II” programs and will accept applications into the new program moving forward.
- JIBC’s programs will use the 3rd Canadian Edition of Jones & Bartlett’s Fundamentals of Fire Fighter Skills as their primary reference text for instructional materials and course exams. Note, however, that for evaluation purposes, all firefighter textbooks that reference the NFPA 1001 Standard can be used for reference and studying purposes.
- Firefighters/students who have not completed all their requirements within existing JIBC firefighter training programs will still receive appropriate academic credit towards completion of a relevant new program.
- A document containing a matrix outlining the requirements to bridge between the old and new programs will be provided to students in the coming months.
- Firefighters that have been taking courses and writing exams in existing programs within the past 12 months will automatically be enrolled into the applicable new program.
- If it’s been more than 12 months since you’ve taken a JIBC course or written an exam, you will need to re-enroll and re-apply through your department, and provide documentation about previous courses/programs completed in order to receive academic credit towards completion of a relevant new program.
- JIBC’s Evaluator and Training Officer programming will also be updated to align with the Playbook.
New Program Delivery Options
In addition to the changes in JIBC programs, fire departments and individual firefighters will have a number of delivery options available to them to complete their JIBC-accredited training:
- They can enroll in JIBC’s online courses to complete the knowledge portion of their program, and then finish their practical training at a JIBC-authorized facility, such as the Maple Ridge Campus.
- They can enroll in JIBC’s online courses to complete the knowledge portion of their program and finish their practical training in-house using JIBC’s practical skills lesson plans and evaluation tools.
- They can use JIBC lesson plans and evaluation tools as the basis to complete both the knowledge portion and practical portion of their training, which they can complete entirely in-house.
- They can complete the knowledge and practical training completely in-house, and use JIBC’s evaluation tools for both the knowledge and practical portions of their training to receive JIBC credit.
While these improvements to JIBC’s training programs are significant, we believe they provide a meaningful opportunity for firefighters and fire departments in B.C. to more effectively and efficiently meet the new training requirements established by the Office of the Fire Commissioner. The changes will provide greater instructional support for in-house delivery of training, eliminate repetition of concepts within programs and the gaps that exist between programs, and provide greater support for Training Officers with new resources and tools.