Frequently Asked Questions Construction | Fire Service | Fixed Industry

Fire Service

Question: Complying with training commensurate with duties and responsibilities.

I am a training officer for a local fire district. How do I know if our Department's training programs meet the "commensurate with duties clause"? Also our officers and instructors are required to have more training but many simply have more experience does that meet the intent of 305-05503(9) Do you know the answer?


Great timing on your questions! Labor & Industries has recently issued citations to several Fire Departments addressing these very issues.

First, let me respond to the question of training commensurate with duties and responsibilities. This requirement is found in WAC 296-305-05501(1) "Fire training".

Today, most Fire Departments are training their members to the level of FF1 and perhaps even testing and certifying them. While this addresses structural fire fighting competancies how do your members reach competency in confined space?, high-angle/low-angle, heavy lift, swift water, USAR, accident investigations, station inspections?

I recommend that Fire Departments identify their members' scope of duties and responsibilities and then perform a 'needs assessment' for each category. Remember that while this is a lot of work initally, once it is done you don't have to recreate it each time you go back to conduct an evaluation or audit of how you are doing.

I created a document that outlines most of the more common training requirements found in both the 305 and other applicable WACs. You may wish to use this as an audit tool when creating the scope of duties and responsibilities.

Regarding your question of whether experience equates to training: this really needs to be addressed on a case-bycase basis. Typically, the longer a member has within fire service the more training they have received. However, the real intent of this requirement is that your trainer and officers have a greater level of training. This means more hours of theory, drills, application of knowledge.

Example: an inhouse swift water trainer may be a department member that is a current Water Safety Instructor and who is an avid white water rafter. This member might be given the opportunity to attend more advanced levels of swift water training in a train-the-trainer format.

Example: Company officers may recieve MCTO training with members and then have break-out sessions with their BC. During the 'break-out' the BC might emphasize accountability, communications, or other specific command and control issues. It is important to document these breakout sessions and topics

I will revise my training document to reflect the new WAC 305 in 2010.

Please don't hesitate to call and talk with me. I'm happy to answer your questions. And yes, I'm always available to consult with your Fire Department.

Here is the link to the document I created that summarizes the fire fighter training requirements as outlined in 305 and other applicable WAC's.

305 Training Requirements


Question: Roof Top Ventilation Drills and Fall Protection

I am a training officer for a fire department. We were discussing roof-top ventilation training for fire fighters today and weren't sure if "fall protection" for fire fighters is the same as the construction industry or if working off a hooked roof ladder would suffice. Do you know the answer?

I realize our job is different than contraction workers, however in a training environment we would strive to offer more protection for our personnel than we do on the emergency scene. On the other hand, fall protection for construction workers could get in the way of a FF on a roof trying to operate a chain saw.


You are allowed to provide roof top ventilation training without conventional fall protection e.g. ropes, as long as you use the IFSTA system that incorporates working from a roof ladder with your buddy present, behind you on the ladder and in contact. You may use saws and tools during this drill. You do not have to be tied-off with ropes or use other additional fall protection systems as long as both employees are following the IFSTA system. This drill must be in written format, Fire Fighters must be trained and follow the protocols. This does not apply to any other member on the roof during the drill.

I want to emphasis that this allowance doesn’t pertain to other roof props that are not designed for the use of a roof ladder. Many Departments have these other roof props that are built more than four (4) feet off the ground and use no secondary means of fall protection when drilling from these props. This is not an acceptable practice.

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