On Thursday, December 13, 2012, 32 fire service personnel from 32 communities graduated from the 20th offering of the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy’s Chief Fire Officer Management Training Program. The thirteen-week program was developed in accordance with National Fire Protection Association Standards for chief fire officers, and is delivered jointly by the University of Massachusetts Collins Institute Center for Public Management and the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy. It is a comprehensive course providing training in the non-fire suppression aspects of managing fire department organizations.
State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan said, “These fire service leaders are committed to continually developing their management and leadership skills in order to provide the highest level of service to the communities they protect.”
Graduating from the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy’s Chief Fire Officer Management Training Program is Springfield’s own Acting Fire Commissioner Joseph Conant. He participated in a curriculum that covers a spectrum of topics considered essential for effective public sector management. It includes human resource management, group dynamics, leadership and legal issues, governmental and organization structures, information management, customer-focused strategic planning, legal aspects, budgets and public finance, community awareness and public relations, and labor relations.
The Chief Fire Officer Management Training Program expects to help fire officers improve their ability to lead and manage personnel and the department, to provide skills to understand employees’ needs and problems, to promote personal productivity, to increase the capacity to manage both human and technical resources, and to increase inter-agency cooperation.
Participants are required to write a formal research paper, identifying a current problem or challenge faced by their organization and proposing a viable solution. The officers must then present their proposal to a mock panel of municipal officials for their consideration.
This program prepares students to take the certification exams for Fire Officer III and Fire Officer IV. Coan said, “Certification to this level is a prestigious milestone and can assist the chief fire officer in securing a national designation from the Center for Public Safety Excellence and the Massachusetts Fire Service Commission’s Fire Chief Accreditation.”