CONTINUING EDUCATION Lt. Loren Hughes recently completed the Managing Officer Program at the National Fire Academy in Emmitsburg, Maryland. The two-year-program included on-site and off-site classes, as well as a final project. Hughes’ project was based on Mt. Lebanon’s Knox Box program, which requires all local businesses to have boxes containing keys to the business so firefighters can access the building after hours in case of an emergency.
For the project, the Mt. Lebanon Fire Department checked all 326 boxes and found that 56 of them contained either old keys or had keys that were improperly labeled, Hughes says. The department relabeled and color coded each of the keys to make it easy to find in an emergency.
The program allowed Hughes to spend 28 days with 20 other fire officers, to learn from each other. “You get to be with other lieutenants and other captains who are facing the same issues,” he says.
The program is free to Mt. Lebanon and is paid for by federal tax dollars through the Department of Homeland Security. Hughes says fewer than one percent of fire service employees ever get to go to this top-level training but many of the Mt. Lebanon officers have attended. Selection criteria include a high level of training and professional certifications, fire leadership experience and college level work.
The program exists to help fire leaders grow professionally, get national perspective on development and create personal networks of others in fire service. Class topics include emergency response to terrorism, National Incident Management Systems, risk reduction, safety leadership, decision making tools and training.
ACCREDITATION CONTINUES The Mt. Lebanon Fire Department in March received its re-accreditation from the Commission on Fire Accreditation International. Only about 200 agencies in the country have received the honor.
The department was first accredited in 2012, but the application must be redone every five years. The application includes 257 performance indicators the department must document.
The re-accreditation was awarded at a hearing in Orange County, California. Two volunteers and six staff members attended, with the volunteer company paying for four firefighters to make the trip.
The Mt. Lebanon Fire Department is now in the upper 9/10THs of one percent of the departments in the United States.
BE CAREFUL OUT THERE It’s summer again. To stay safe, remember to cross at crosswalks in the business district, cross with the signal and wait your turn. The lights are timed to accommodate traffic flow on Route 19—not pedestrians. So just hitting the button won’t necessarily give you a walk signal right away. Police will be enforcing both vehicle and pedestrian laws to keep people safe.