As a new member of the Double Oak Volunteer Fire Department, you will be involved in many hours of training to prepare you for duty with the fire department. New members are required to complete several initial hours of training before being assigned a pager to respond on emergency calls. The “Pathway to Pager” is divided into four phases of training. After completing each phase, your responsibilities and abilities increase. The Pathway to Pager Program prepares you to have the skills that you will need before responding on your first call. It is designed to teach the new firefighter the skills he or she needs to know before responding to an emergency. After completing the first phase of this assessment and after approval by the Fire Chief and Training Officer, the new member will be assigned a pager and will be allowed to respond on emergency calls as an observer only. The new member is not eligible for firefighting duty until completion of Phase III which coincides with completion of 70 hours of training. More on the 70 hour Intro to Firefighting training is described in the next paragraph.
The Double Oak Volunteer Fire Department strictly follows the training requirements of the Texas State Fireman's and Fire Marshals Association (SFFMA). The SFFMA requires new members who are not certified to undergo 70 hours of initial training for their Introduction to Firefighting Certification. This class covers the basics of firefighting and is designed to prepare the recruit for live fire training and operating at actual fire incidents. A member cannot participate in any interior firefighting operation until completion of this course. The DOVFD offers this class at least once each year for new members. Additional training dates are required because of the amount of hours needed for the course. Upon completion of the Intro to Firefighting Certification, the member receives certification from the State of Texas and from the DOVFD and is eligible for live fire training and to operate as an interior crew member at a fire scene. The DOVFD requires that all new members complete the Intro to Firefighting course within 6 months of becoming a member.
After completing the pager skills assessment and intro course, and being approved by the Fire Chief and Training Officer, the new firefighter is eligible to become an active member with the department. All active members wear black traditional style helmets and are issued firefighter badges. Training does not end here. Firefighting is a dangerous job and many hours must be spent to learn the skills needed to keep yourself and others safe. All members are required to attend our regularly scheduled Monday training nights and are encouraged to attend other special drills and classes. All training hours count towards certification with the SFFMA and participating in the extra drills are an excellent way to proceed at a faster pace during your training.
The DOVFD trains members in house towards Firefighter 1 and Firefighter II certification levels over their tenure with the department.
The Driver/Operator course takes approximately 5-6 months and is scheduled similarly to the Intro to Firefighting course where extra training days are required. The Driver/Operator course is designed to prepare firefighters to become safe and efficient operators of emergency vehicles and to be proficient at operating fire pumps. Members who complete the entire course are designated as Driver/Engineers and receive certification through the State of Texas and the department. In addition, dates are set aside several times a year for live firefighting training. These training sessions involve putting into practice all of the skills and training learned in our other training sessions in a live fire environment.
Every member has the opportunity to attend outside training classes that are paid for by the department. This includes classes at regional fire schools and EMT-Basic school if members desire to further their medical training. EMT-Basic school is reimbursed to the member upon successful completion of the school. Training is a very important part of firefighting and we make every effort to provide the best training to our members as often as possible.