Fire Department Training

The Petaluma Fire Department provides manipulative training and classroom education for all department personnel. Training is conducted by developing, assigning, delivering, and evaluating all aspects of manipulative skills and classroom education.

Monthly Training

The training division issues a quarterly training schedule to all companies (aka, units within the fire suppression division). The training schedule allows the training officer to ensure that state and federal training mandates are being accomplished. It also assigns subject areas that have been identified by the department as training priorities. Examples of these training priorities include:

  • multi-casualty incident exercises,
  • firefighter survival skills,
  • incident command system,
  • wellness,
  • swift-water rescue,
  • emergency medical technician, and
  • coordinated fire attack.

Department members receive - on average - 625 hours of formal training per person, per year under this format.

Recruit Training

Recruits must complete an 18-month training program, including a basic three-week fire academy. The program is broken into 6-month blocks and covers all aspects of firefighting and emergency response. The recruit-training officer, in conjunction with the recruit's company officer, administers the program. The successful training of our recruits is one of our highest priorities.

Outside Training

In order to stay abreast of accepted industry practices, selected personnel are required to attend classes and seminars outside the assigned training schedule. Typically, these are classes that will allow our personnel to become certified as an instructor, or the classes required subject areas that we cannot provide to personnel. Examples of outside training are:

  • all of the urban search and rescue disciplines,
  • advanced leadership and incident command system, and
  • program development techniques.

Annually, these additional outside training classes account for approximately 600 accumulative hours of classes and seminars. This fiscal year, the Department also hosted 3 large scale seminars. Hosting topical seminars allows PFD personnel to receive current information through classes offered locally at little or no cost to the City.

All Fire Department managers are required to attend at least one outside 40-hour class annually.

  • Training Categories Utilized - 112
  • Total Training Sessions - 796
  • Average Training Hours per Firefighter - 625
  • Percent of On-Duty Time in Training - 21

Rescue Systems Equipment & Training

The Fire Department continues to train monthly in urban rescue disciplines. Using both City and grant funds, the department updated and replaced equipment needed for rescue operations and training. The department received additional rescue equipment funded by a Federal Homeland Security grant obtained by Sonoma County Officer of Emergency Services. Fire Department personnel attended certified, rescue training in Rescue Systems-I, Rescue Systems II, Confined Space Operations, and Swift Water Rescue.
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Regular training keeps our skills sharp so that we can respond to community members whenever they need us.

by Fire Chief Leonard Thompson

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