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Making the Grade Higher Education In the Avon Fire Department

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					      MAKING THE GRADE: HIGHER EDUCATION

            IN THE AVON FIRE DEPARTMENT




                 EXECUTIVE DEVELOPMENT




             BY:    Michael J. Lynch, Division Chief
                    Avon Fire Department
                    Avon, Indiana




An applied research project submitted to the National Fire Academy
          as part of the Executive Fire Officer Program.



                         December 2002
                                                                                       1

                                          Abstract

        The problem is that few employees of the Avon Fire Department have an

education beyond their high school diploma. The purpose of this research project is to

identify methods of promoting post secondary education within the fire department. This

was a descriptive research project. The research questions were:

        1.) Why is post secondary education so important to the fire department’s

        success?

        2.) What incentives have fire departments made available to encourage

        employees to pursue post secondary education?

        3.) How have hiring practices within the fire service been effected by the

        emphasis on higher education?

        4.) How have departments modified their promotional processes to reflect the

        value of higher education?

        5.) What are organizations doing outside the fire service to promote post

        secondary education?

        The procedures involved surveying a convenience sample of 38 members of the

Avon Fire Department during the time period of this study. Their responses to the

research questions were tabulated numerically and by percentages.

        The results indicated that more than 97% (37) of the department members

surveyed believe that obtaining a college education would benefit the fire department in

the future.

        The recommendations, based on this study, were as follows:

    •   Increase the current educational requirements, after the current hiring process, for

        firefighter applicants to an associate’s degree.
                                                                                   2


•   Develop and implement a tuition assistance program, whereby employees may

    take any college course and receive monetary support from the fire department.

•   Implement higher education requirements on a graduated scale for officer

    positions in the following manner: Lieutenant – Associates Degree, Battalion

    Chief – Associates Degree, Division Chief – Bachelor’s Degree, Assistant Chief

    and Chief – Master’s Degree. A reasonable timetable should be developed to

    implement these requirements in order to allow employees to acquire the

    necessary status for promotion.

•   Reward employees that fulfill their educational goals with incentive bonuses. I

    would recommend paying members with an associate’s degree an additional

    $1,500 annually and members with a bachelor’s degree (or higher degree) an

    additional $3,000 annually.

•   Allot educational time off to allow employees to attend college courses.
                                                       3

                              Table of Contents




Abstract                                           1

Table of Contents                                  3

List of Figures                                    4

Introduction                                       5

Background and Significance                       5

Literature Review                                  7

Procedures                                        21

Results                                           23

Discussion                                        31

Recommendations                                   33

References                                        35

Appendix A                                        38

Appendix B                                        40
                                                                              4


                               List of Figures

Figure

 1       Higher Education Model                                          16

 2       Education level within the department                           26

 3       Number of respondents that would consider going back to college 27

 4       Incentives the respondents would like the department to offer   28

 5       Bonuses for degrees                                             29

 6       Appropriate education level                                     31
                                                                                          5

                                       Introduction

       The problem is that few employees of the Avon Fire Department have an

education beyond their high school diploma. The purpose of this research project is to

identify methods of promoting post secondary education within the fire department. This

is a descriptive research project. The research questions are:

       1.) Why is post secondary education so important to the fire department’s

       success?

       2.) What incentives have fire departments made available to encourage

       employees to pursue post secondary education?

       3.) How have hiring practices within the fire service been effected by the

       emphasis on higher education?

       4.) How have departments modified their promotional processes to reflect the

       value of higher education?

       5.) What are organizations doing outside the fire service to promote post

       secondary education?

                               Background and Significance

       The Avon Fire Department, Indiana serves a 36 square mile rapidly growing

suburban community outside of Indianapolis. Established in 1964, the Avon Fire

Department has quickly grown from a completely volunteer department to the present

full-time career department. Today, the fire department protects approximately 30,000

residents and over 700 businesses through the dedicated work of 48 sworn firefighters

and 4 non-sworn civilian employees.     The Avon Fire Department staffs two engines,

one 75-foot ladder truck, two ambulances and one command vehicle out of two fire

stations. In the spring of 2003, the department will begin construction on a third fire
                                                                                        6

station, hire 18 additional firefighters and accept delivery of two new engines, a 100-foot

ladder truck and a heavy rescue truck. The rapid growth of our community has left us

struggling to keep up with increasing demands. The need for fire department members to

have a college education is one of those demands.

       Currently, only 35% of Avon Fire Department employees have an education

beyond their high school diploma or GED (survey). While 22% of department

employees have an associate’s degree, only 13% have a bachelor’s degree (survey).

Currently, no one in the organization holds a master’s degree or Executive Fire Officer

Program certificate. In fact, the department does not have any incentives in place to

encourage its members to pursue a college education. Dr. William Rivenbark and

George H. McCall wrote in Fire Chief magazine that “the National Fire Academy (NFA)

and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) have both made it clear that higher

education is an important ingredient in the career advancement of fire department

personnel and that higher education is critical to managing the complexities of the fire

service. The NFA strongly supports professional development programs that encourage

both associates and baccalaureate degrees” (Rivenbark, 2000). The authors went on to

say that “the fundamental issue is to raise the organizational capacity of fire departments.

In other words, fire personnel must possess the necessary skills to function in a changing

environment” (Rivenbark, 2000). This research project will discuss the educational

levels required of firefighters in order “to promote within communities a comprehensive,

multi-hazard risk reduction plan led by the fire service organization.” (United States Fire

Administration Operational Objective).

       This Applied Research Project (APR) also relates to the organizational culture

unit in the Executive Development course of the Executive Fire Officer Program (EFOP).
                                                                                          7

“The climate or culture of an organization is analogous to the mortar in a brick wall. It

can be so incredibly strong and supportive to the reason for the wall, or near a state of

failure in need of change or repair. The effective leader is one who can assess, shape, and

manage this mortar – to be a social architect” (Burkell, 2002). This project will enable

administrators of the Avon Fire Department to “assess, shape, and manage this mortar” to

promote higher education throughout the department.

                                     Literature Review

       The purpose of this literature review is to set the foundation for this project and

answer the five research questions. First, why is post secondary education so important

to the fire department’s success? Second, what incentives have fire departments made

available to encourage employees to pursue post secondary education? Third, how have

hiring practices within the fire service been effected by the emphasis on higher

education? Forth, how have departments modified their promotional processes to reflect

the value of higher education? Lastly, what are organizations doing outside the fire

service to promote post secondary education?

Higher Educations Importance

       First, “in this day and age when college education has become commonplace, to

employ and retain a firefighter or a fire officer who is educationally inferior to the

citizens they protect and for that matter those in government…appears to be impractical”

(Harper, 1997). Harper goes on to say “a college education helps to foster qualities

which are essential in today’s firefighter and fire officer, including leadership, intellectual

curiosity, analytical ability, articulateness, and an ability to cope with many routine

situations encountered in fire protection work” (Harper, 1997). Kilbury agrees by saying

that “the knowledge, skills, and abilities required of all members of the fire service have
                                                                                          8

grown beyond the motto of ‘put the wet stuff on the red stuff.’ To complete for the

limited funding available to the fire service, the fire service as a whole needs better

educated individuals to communicate its needs and functions” (Kilbury, 2001).

       In fact, the need for highly educated fire service professionals was first identified

at the Wingspread conference in 1966 (Clark, 1993). Dr. Burton Clark stated in his

article Higher Education and Fire Service Professionalism that “professionalism begins

with education” (Burton, 1993). Thirty-two years later, The Fire Service and Higher

Education: A Blueprint of the 21st Century was published outlining the 25 biggest

challenges to higher education programs in the fire service. Included in this list were:

           •   acceptance by fire service managers of fire science educations,

           •   the mentality, ‘Books don’t put fires out’,

           •   placement: credentials vs. certification at hiring,

           •   advancement: the importance of the degree in promotions, and

           •   the lack of motivators such as tuition reimbursement, educational

               incentives, time off for attendance, etc. in pursuing higher education.”

               (The Fire Service and Higher Education, 1998)

       America Burning Revisited states that “we must recognize that the future of the

fire service is with its younger officers, and their continuing education will be one of the

primary challenges facing the fire service in the 1980’s and 1990’s” (1987). “It’s critical

that Generation Y firefighters develop and maintain the ability to read and write at the

college level, because the bachelor’s degree is replacing the high school diploma as the

minimum to function in the information age” (Kemp, 1999).

       Chief Jay Reardon, 2002 Career Fire Chief of the Year, states that “if you don’t

have a degree, the rest of society doesn’t know how to catalog you, but if you have a
                                                                                          9

bachelor’s or a master’s degree, that’s accepted universally regardless of the profession

or the discipline you’re dealing with” (Dell, 2002). One of the International Association

of Fire Chief’s foundations state that future fire and emergency managers must be

prepared to work on an equal academic footing as architects, engineers, government

officials, and healthcare professionals (Kemp, 1999). Dr. Burton Clark sums up the need

for well educated fire service professionals best by saying that “the benefits of college

and graduate-school education are an innate part of what makes a profession a profession.

If the fire service takes its own professionalism seriously, it should do more to promote

fire science as an academic discipline” (Brawner, 1998).

Incentives

       “Our leaders now know that it’s necessary to create an atmosphere which

encourages and rewards the higher education of their firefighters. The problem now lies

in ensuring that programs are available for firefighters who wish to participate in college

classes and finding ways to motivate those who lack the desire to go to school” (Little,

2002). The lack of motivators such as tuition reimbursement, educational incentives, and

time off for attendance in pursuing higher education are among the top 25 challenges that

face higher education programs in the fire service (The Fire Service and Higher

Education, 1998). Managers must implement educational incentives to demonstrate to

their employees that the organization does value higher education.

       There are numerous incentives that a department could implement to encourage

its’ firefighters to go back to college. However, regardless of incentives, without the

support of the fire chief, firefighters would most likely not pursue higher education

(Rivenbark, 2000). William Little believes that “it’s absolutely necessary for a fire chief

to seek ways to increase the educational level of a department’s members” (Little, 2002).
                                                                                      10

“The old adage, ‘build it and they will come’ is very true within the fire service. The

programs must be in place before anyone can take the courses” (Little, 2002). “The

investment we make now in the growth of fire personnel will pay off handsomely when it

comes time to select those who will lead us into the future” (Brawner, 1998).

       Chief Martin Kemp, Clovis Fire Department, completed a study on the

educational incentive programs of 71 fire departments in January 1999. Chief Kemp

found that a majority of the departments (87%) had some type of incentive program in

place to encourage firefighters to go back to college (Kemp, 1999). Tuition assistance

programs were the most popular programs in the fire departments surveyed (Kemp,

1999). Fire departments offer varying degrees of tuition assistance. For example, the

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department offers two distinct tuition assistance

programs: Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) for non-uniformed employees and the other

Career Development Program for uniformed personnel (SOP 7.0.01, 1994). TAP allows

non-uniformed personnel to attend one course per year of their choice, for a maximum

dollar amount equivalent to the in-state tuition rate for one three-hour course at George

Mason University. The Career Development Program for uniformed personnel is

designed to assist them in taking the required college classes for promotion. Here they do

not have a choice as to what classes to take; they are pre-selected courses (SOP7.1.01,

1994). Instead of compensating employees based on a per credit hour basis, the City of

Springfield, Missouri compensates their firefighters for any passing grade with a flat

$3,500 per fiscal year (www.ci.springfield.mo.us, 2002). The St. Petersburg Fire

Department, Florida provides not only tuition assistance, but educational leave and

scholarships through a private trust to those pursuing a degree (Burton, 1996).

       Another incentive a fire department can offer to encourage employees to go back
                                                                                       11

to school is incentive pay. According to Chief Kemp’s study this was the second most

popular method of providing educational incentives (Kemp, 1999). Little states that

“giving incentive pay to members who complete their college requirements can

encourage participation” (Little, 2002). Kemp states that some departments offer a

percentage pay increase based on the degree of education achieved. While other

departments offer a flat stipend for achieving various levels of higher education. (Kemp,

1999).

         A third incentive that can be provided to firefighters going back to college is time-

off. Allowing employees time-off to attend class can be a great motivator. This is

especially true if the department doesn’t make the employee “pay back” the time. Dr.

William Rivenbark completed a study in May of 1997, distributing 54 surveys to fire

chiefs in South Carolina with more than 20 full-time firefighters (Rivenbark, 2000). This

survey showed that 58% (27) of the departments offered their employees time off to

attend class. While 32% of these departments allowed the employee to take the time off

to attend class without being required to make-up the lost time. However, the remaining

26% of the departments surveyed required employees to make-up any time that they took

off to attend class (Ravenbark, 2000).

         Kemp stated that more than half of the departments in his study only offered one

incentive to its employees. More than one third of the departments provided at least two

incentives and more than one tenth of the departments provided three educational

incentives to their employees (Kemp, 1999). Flexibility is the key to encouraging

members of the organization to go back to school. Whether it’s in the form of paying

their tuition, paying them a stipend for obtaining a degree, or giving them time off to

attend class, Little believes that the fire chief should “promote an atmosphere that shows
                                                                                      12

education is important to your organization by developing incentives for completing

educational goals” (Little, 2002).

Hiring Processes

       The National Commission on Fire Prevention and Control published a report on

the fire problem in the United States titled America Burning in 1973. One of the

recommendations included in this study was that “the Nation’s fire departments

recognize advanced and specialized education and hire or promote persons with

experience at levels commensurate with their skills” (America Burning, 1973). Walter S.

Booth says that “there’s no more fundamental way for a fire department to define itself

than through the personnel it hires” (Booth, 1999). Therefore, a fire chief that wants to

develop an atmosphere encouraging higher education should require higher academic

standards for firefighter applicants.

       Unfortunately, most fire departments continue to require a high school diploma or

GED for firefighter applicants. Chief Brian Crawford believes that most fire departments

“seem opposite to the rest of the world” (Crawford, 2002). Chief Crawford explains that

the fire service often hires inexperienced individuals to be firefighters and then spend a

lot of money to train them. While the “rest of the world” hires individuals that already

have the training (i.e. nurses, managers, electricians). “Many departments still hire off

the streets whereas most professions of similar complexity require a minimum amount of

training or education prior to application” (Harper, 1997).

       Booth claims that he has seen the entry level educational requirements increase in

the past few years. “While many fire departments require an educational level of only a

high school diploma, the actual practice is to hire above that level. For large and

medium-sized departments, almost 80% of the people hired over the past two years have
                                                                                       13

had either some college or an associate’s degree” (Booth, 1999). The Avon Fire

Department continues to require only a high school diploma or GED to apply for a

firefighter position. However, more and more of these individuals have some college

experience.

       Requiring a college degree brings many questions about fairness to the forefront.

How would women and minorities be affected by this new requirement? To Booth’s

surprise, he states that raising the academic standards have decreased the overall number

of applicants, but “in relatively the same ethnic and gender percentages as when the

educational standards were lower” (Booth, 1997). Crawford states that these increased

educational requirements cut down on the number of applicants that aren’t sincere

(Crawford, 2002). Many fire departments report a large number of applicants turn out to

apply for firefighters positions. By increasing the educational requirements, departments

can decrease the number of applicants, without negatively affecting women and

minorities, and save money on smaller hiring processes.

       The Police Executive Research Foundation has conducted a study and established

17 reasons that a college education benefits employees in the protective services:

   •   Develops a broader base of information for decision making,

   •   Provides additional years and experiences for increasing maturity.

   •   Inculcates responsibility in the individual through course requirements and

       achievements.

   •   Permits the individual to learn more about the societal and historical forces that

       shape our country.

   •   Engenders the ability to handle difficult or ambiguous situations with greater

       creativity and innovation.
                                                                                        14


   •   Develops a greater empathy for minorities and their discriminatory experiences

       both through coursework and interactions in the academic environment.

   •   Engenders understanding and tolerance for persons with different lifestyles and

       ideologies.

   •   Leads to less rigid decision making.

   •   Helps individuals communicate to the service needs of the public in a competent

       manner.

   •   Makes individuals more innovative and flexible when dealing with complex

       problems.

   •   Allows individuals to better perform tasks with little or no supervision.

   •   Helps individuals develop better overall community relation skills.

   •   Engenders more “professional” demeanor and performance.

   •   Enables individuals to better cope with stress and to be more likely to seek

       assistance with personal or stress-related problems.

   •   Enables individuals to adapt their styles of communication and behavior to a

       wider range of social conditions.

   •   Tends to make individuals less authoritarian and less cynical.

   •   Enables individuals to more readily accept and adapt to organizational change.

                                                                             (Booth, 1999)

       Brent Harper conducted a series of studies at the National Fire Academy

surveying a total of 94 Executive Fire Officer (EFO) students. In his research, he asked

the EFO students if they would “like to see all new recruits with at least a two-year

college degree?” (Harper, 1997). It was interesting to see that 68% (64) of the EFO

students would like to see all new recruits have at least an associate’s degree. Compared
                                                                                     15

to a recent survey conducted within the Avon Fire Department, only 21% (8) of its

members felt that a high school diploma was not a sufficient minimum standard to be a

firefighter.

        In June of 2001, a group of college professors and fire service leaders joined

together to discuss the educational needs of the fire service. It was determined that there

was a need to standardize college fire science programs throughout the nation. From that

meeting they developed the Higher Education Model (Figure 1). This model shows the

proposed education continuum for the fire service. As you can see basic and advanced

firefighting and emergency medical skills, as well as, specialized skills would be taught

in the first stage of the Higher Education Model. Individuals completing this section

would obtain an associate’s degree. The middle section is noted as an officer and career

development section. Individuals completing this section would obtain a bachelor’s

degree. Lastly the strategic decision making section is reserved for executive

development training, which would result in a master’s degree.
                                                                                        16


                       Higher Education Model
 Basic FF &    Advanced   Specialized     Officer & Career    Multi-Risk      Executive
 EMS Skills    FF & EMS     Skills         Development       Interagency     Development




    Training Centered                    Education Centered                   Strategic
  Education Preparation                    Applied Training                Decisionmaking
  Suited for Certification              Suited for Certification              Centered




        Associates Degree                    Bachelor’s Degree              Master’s Degree




  Allied Professions, Doctoral Programs, Supporting Disciplines

                                    Time
              (Figure 1 – www.usfa.fema.gov/dhtml/fire-service/nfa-high3.cfm)

       If this model is followed, college graduates for these programs won’t only have a

degree, but will hold required certifications to become a firefighter. Harper states that “a

college education does not necessarily make good firefighters or fire officers, but it can

make good firefighters and officers better” (Harper, 1997). Little states that “requiring

new recruits to have completed college hours before becoming firefighters creates triple

benefits for the department” (Little, 2002).

Promotional Process

       Chief Clay Phillips believes that “it is imperative that we develop leaders within

our profession capable of directing the fire service into the twenty-first century” (Phillips,

1994). Chief William Little says “It’s also our leaders’ responsibility to make sure that

their departments will have educated candidates ready to assume leadership positions”
                                                                                       17

(Little, 2002). How have promotional processes for company officer been modified to

reflect the value of higher education in the fire service?

       The educational requirements have become one way in which promotional

processes have changed for company officer. Fire Departments like Miramar Fire

Rescue require their candidates for company officer to hold an associate’s degree prior to

sitting for the exam (Matty, 1998). Phillips says that “the fire service is beginning to

embrace the idea of higher education requirements and higher training standards for entry

and promotion within the fire service” (Phillips, 1994). Walter S. Booth discusses his

survey results on higher education requirements in promotional processes in Raising the

bar for promotions. His nationwide survey was sent to 408 fire departments with more

than 100 career personnel. He received 166 responses, representing 41% return rate.

“The survey indicated that 43% of the departments had established minimum educational

requirements for their promotional positions” (Booth, 1999). His survey found that over

one-third of respondents required some college classes for company level officers, an

associate’s degree for battalion chief positions, and a bachelor’s degree for assistant chief

positions (Booth, 1999). It is important to note that these are minimum educational

requirements to test. Booth says that most of the candidates that test for the promotions

exceed the educational requirements (Booth, 1999).

       The Fire Service and Higher Education: the Blueprint for the 21st Century lists

“the importance of the degree in promotions” as one of the 25 biggest challenges to

higher education in the fire service (The Fire Service, 1998). Dr. William Rivenbark

concluded in his survey of 54 South Carolina fire chiefs that “68% of them reported that

college-educated employees were stronger candidates for promotion when compared with

employees without higher education” (Rivenbark, 2000). In addition, 74% of the
                                                                                       18

company officers surveyed at the Arlington, Texas Fire Department agreed that some

level of college should be required prior to being promoted to company officer (Brawner,

1998). Little says that many experts agree that the minimum educational requirements

for company officer should be an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree for battalion

chief positions, and a master’s degree for the fire chief and upper management.

       These assumptions closely correspond with the findings of a recent survey

conducted within the Avon Fire Department. The survey found that 40% of department

members believe that company officers and battalion chiefs should have at least an

associate’s degree for promotion. All administrative positions heavily weighted towards

receiving a bachelor’s degree, except the fire chiefs position. In this case, 42% of

employees thought the fire chief should have a bachelor’s degree, while 34% thought a

master’s degree was more appropriate.

Outside the Fire Service

       America at Risk, an overview of the findings from America Burning:

Recommissioned, stated that further study needed to be conducted on the management

and customer service issues associated with the evolution of the fire services not only as a

profession, but also as a business (America at Risk, 2000). Chief Michael L. Brown,

Reno Fire Department, says that “in the past, fire management has been looked upon as

uneducated and backward. To change this, managers should be required to have ongoing

formalized education in management and this education needs to be recognized and

supported by the organization. We need to stop telling everyone how we can’t operate

like a business because we’re different and start taking the best of the innovative business

world and make it our own” (Brown, 1997).
                                                                                      19

       So what does the business world do to promote higher education among their

employees? A 1999 nationwide survey of 445 companies conducted by Warehousing

Education & Research Council found that 68% of companies surveyed offered a tuition

reimbursement program (Reaping Rewards, 1999). Another survey titled Work and Life

Benefits Provided by Major U.S. Companies in 2000 reported that 77% of the 1,020

companies surveyed offered tuition reimbursement programs (Fletcher, 2001). Fletcher

quoted Cathy Saka, a work/life consultant, saying that “tuition reimbursement programs

can help cement relationships between employees and employers (Fletcher, 2001).

       The United Parcel Service (UPS) has developed a program called Earn and

Learn. Since its’ inception in 1999, it has helped more than 21,000 students attend

college (Gunsauley, 2001). “UPS has a long tradition of promoting from within (much

like the fire service). Boheler believes the Earn and Learn program is helping them

develop future full-time employees as the participating part-timers gain valuable on-the-

job experience and get promoted to supervisory positions” (Gunsauley, 2001). The Earn

and Learn program has also proven to retain workers (Gunsauley, 2001).

       United Technologies Corp. (UTC) has developed an Employee Scholarship

Program to encourage its employees to seek a college education. This program pays

100% of the students tuition, books, and fees for an employee to pursue any degree they

choose (Elswick, 2001). In fact, UTC has invested $184 million since the programs

inception in 1996 (Elswick, 2001). UTC’s Chief Executive Officer George David has a

lofty goal; to become “the best educated workforce on the planet” (Elswick, 2001). UTC

reports that 96% of graduates remain with the company after graduation. The company’s

commitment to education is so strong that they allow each employee to take up to an hour

and a half paid time off per week to study (Elswick, 2001). In addition, once employees
                                                                                      20

obtain an associate’s degree they receive $5,000 worth of company stock. If they receive

a bachelor’s degree they are rewarded with $10,000 worth of company stock (Elswick,

2001). It really pays to go back to school if you work for UTC. Lee Dailey, UTC’s

director of executive and management education, says that “if you think education is

expensive, try ignorance” (Elswick, 2001).

        Even the military uses tuition assistance programs. The United States Department

of Defense has offered its’ men and women tuition assistance in an attempt to use it as a

recruitment tool. Recently, RAND’s National Defense Research Institute conducted a

federally funded study to examine how this tuition assistance program has affected

recruitment and retention within the Navy and Marine Corps (Buddin, 2002). This study

found that more than 60% of new recruits cited the tuition assistance program as a

primary reason for joining the armed forces (Buddin, 2002). However, it was determined

that due to the external influences of the GI Bill, many members did not reenlist based on

the tuition assistance program (Buddin, 2002). If tuition assistance programs can be

successful in attracting young adults into the armed serves, it would definitely benefit the

fire service.

        Corporate Classrooms: A Learning Business states that “education is as much a

business need as running a laboratory or a plant (Eurich, 1985). Corporate businesses

have long known the benefits to well educated employees. “Like other critical

investments, quality personnel are not cheap. Just as most printers would not buy the

cheapest press just based on price, they should not look to skimp on the human resources

of their organization” (Myers, 2002). “Tuition reimbursement is an excellent way to

recognize the value of these employees to the organization” (Myers, 2002). Roger

Williams said it best in his book, “What if you train your employees, and they leave?”
                                                                                      21

He replied with a more important question, “What if you don’t train them, and they

stay?” (Myers, 2002).

                                       Procedures

       A number of procedures were utilized to arrive at the results of this study.

Literature Review

       A literature review was completed to gather available information to answer the

five research questions:

   1. Why is post secondary education so important to the fire department’s success?

   2. What incentives have fire department’s made available to encourage employees to

       pursue post secondary education?

   3. How have hiring practices within the fire service been effected by the emphasis

       on higher education?

   4. How have departments modified their promotional processes to reflect the value

       of higher education?

   5. What are organizations doing outside the fire service to promote post secondary

       education?

       The sources of information included; periodicals, texts, journals, research papers,

and internet research. Resources were gathered from NFA’s Resource Center, the

Indiana University Purdue University of Indianapolis (IUPUI) library, and on the world-

wide web. Once sufficient resources were gathered for each research question, the

researcher evaluated each source for pertinent information.

Feedback Instrument

       A feedback form (Appendix) was developed to poll the members of the Avon Fire

Department concerning the importance of higher education in the fire service. The
                                                                                      22

feedback form was evaluated by three individuals (Mike Jackson, Julie Keaffaber, and

Kelly Mikesell) for clarity and understanding prior to being approved by the fire chief for

distribution (M. Lynch & D. Little, personal communication, November 27, 2002). The

first question on the feedback form was for demographic information only. The

remaining nine questions were used to answer the five research questions.

Population

       A convenience sample was used to conduct this survey. Members of each shift

were polled on the following days: A-Shift Monday 12/02/2002, B-Shift Tuesday

12/03/2002, and C-Shift Wednesday 12/04/2002. The administrative staff was polled

between 12/06-12/09/2002. The department employs 45 operations and 7 staff personnel.

A total of 38 surveys were returned to the researcher representing 73% of the department

(13 members of A-Shift, 10 members of B-Shift, 10 members of C-Shift, and 5 members

of the administrative staff). It should be noted that the researcher, as a member of the

administrative staff, did not complete a survey.

Statistical Analysis

       The survey posed ten questions to learn how department members felt about the

value of higher education in the fire service, educational incentives, increased educational

requirements to be hired, increased educational requirements for promotion, and the

appropriate level of education for various ranks. This feedback instrument also gave us

each respondent’s current education level. The responses to these questions were

recorded both numerically and by percentage.

Limitations

       There were three limitations to delivering this feedback instrument. First, that the

respondents understood how to answer the survey questions. Second, it was assumed that
                                                                                      23

each respondent was truthful in their responses. Third, this feedback form was delivered

to a convenience sample and no attempt was made to get all members of the department

to complete the survey.

                                           Results

Research Question 1

       Why is post secondary education so important to the fire department’s success?

My research found that the profession of firefighting has changed dramatically in the past

few years. No longer does the job entail pulling hose and fighting fire everyday, but it

requires firefighters to have knowledge about sprinker systems, fire alarm systems, and

they must know how to speak in public. The need for more highly educated fire service

professional was first identified at the Wingspread conference in 1966. Since that time,

the National Fire Protection Association and the National Fire Academy have also stated

that higher education is important to the success of the fire service.

Research Question 2

       What incentives have fire department’s made available to encourage employees to

pursue post secondary education?

       Fire departments have begun to see the advantages to higher educated employees.

Many of them offer various incentives to encourage their employees to attend college.

These incentives take many forms like: various levels of tuition reimbursement, paid time

off to attend class, bonuses for achieving a degree, and points towards promotional

exams. An organization that wishes to encourage its’ members to pursue an advanced

degree should lay the foundation for them by implementing some, if not all, of these

incentives.
                                                                                       24

Research Question 3

       How have hiring practices within the fire service been effected by the emphasis

on higher education?

       While the norm may still be to hire anybody with a high school diploma, the

movement to require higher education is on its way. Booth says that there is no better

way for a fire department to define itself than by the people it hires (Booth, 1999). Many

sources have stated that college educated applicants tend to do better on hiring and

promotional exams than non-college educated applicants. Harper’s study of 94 Executive

Fire Officer Program students confirms that the associate’s degree requirement is

becoming a reality. More than 68% of those surveyed stated that they would like to see

all new recruits have at least an associate’s degree (Harper, 1997).

Research Question 4

       How have departments modified their promotional processes to reflect the value

of higher education?

       Many fire departments, like Miramar Fire Rescue, require that their company

officers have at least an associate’s degree to be eligible to sit for the promotional exam

(Matty, 1998). Phillips says that “the fire service is beginning to embrace the idea of

higher education requirements and higher training standards for entry and promotion

within the fire service” (Phillips, 1994). Dr. William Rivenbark’s survey of 54 South

Carolina fire chiefs found that “68% of them reported that college-educated employees

were stronger candidates for promotion when compared with employees without higher

education” (Rivenbark, 2000). Requiring at least an associate’s degree for new company

officers will help make the fire department successful.
                                                                                      25

Research Question 5

       What are organizations doing outside the fire service to promote post secondary

education?

       Organizations like UPS and UTC have had a longstanding commitment to higher

education. Both organizations have successful tuition assistance programs that help to

recruit and retain employees. Some companies have even implemented more than one

educational incentive to show that they truly support higher education. Some of these

incentives include tuition assistance, paid time off to study, stock bonuses for achieving a

degree and increased opportunity for advancement.

Feedback Instrument Results

Survey Question 1

My level of education is:
      A.) High School Diploma or GED
      B.) Some college courses
      C.) Associates Degree
      D.) Bachelors Degree
      E.) Masters Degree or greater

       My research data reveals that currently, 65.79% (25) of all respondents do not

have a formal degree above their high school diploma. While only a high school diploma

or GED is required to be a member of the Avon Fire Department, 47.37% (18) of the

respondents have taken at least some college coursework. However, only 34.21% (13) of

the respondents actually hold a degree. Currently, only 13.16% (5) respondents stated

that they have a bachelor’s degree. At this time none of the respondents noted that they

had a master’s degree.
                                                                                     26


                       Higher Education within the Department
                                                                   H.S. Diploma / GED
                 20                 18

                 15                                                Some College
                                                                   Coursework
     Number of
               10                          8                       Associate's Degree
     Employees                7
                                                 5
                  5
                                                                   Bachelor's Degree
                                                       0
                  0
                                  Level of Education               Master's Degree


                      (Figure 2 – Education level within the department)
Survey Question 2

Do you believe that a college education does/would benefit you as a firefighter in

today’s changing world?

       More than 94% (36) of respondents believe that a college education would benefit

them as a firefighter in today’s changing world. Only 2 (5.26%) respondents stated that

college education would not benefit them. One wrote “not as a basic firefighter” under

his response while the other did not comment.

Survey Question 3A

Should the fire department reimburse employees for college coursework?

       Again, a high percentage (94.74%) of respondents felt that the fire department

should reimburse college tuition to fire department members. One of the two respondents

that answered “No” stated, “only (reimburse the employee) if they were to sign (an

agreement) stating they would stay with the department for a (certain) number of years.”

Survey Question 3B

If yes, should the employee be limited to certain types of classes?

       The second part of question three asked “should the employee be limited to

certain types of classes?” A 67.57% (25) of respondents stated “No”, while 32.43% (12)
                                                                                       27

stated “Yes” and one respondent abstained. Most of the respondents that stated “Yes”

said that classes should be limited to fire science, management, and general studies

courses.

Survey Question 4

If the department had a tuition reimbursement policy would you consider taking a

college course?

       This response surprised me, 92.11% (35) of all respondents stated that they would

consider going back to college if the department had a tuition reimbursement policy.

Only 7.89% (3) respondents said that they would not consider going back to college.

                    If the department had a tuition reimbursement policy
                         would you consider taking a college course?

                                         8%




                                                92%

                                          Yes   No


     (Figure 3 – Number of Respondents that would consider going back to college)
Survey Question 5

What incentives do you believe the fire department can offer to encourage current

firefighters to pursue a college education?

       A majority of the respondents (94.74%) answered this short answer question.

There was no limit to how many answers each respondent could note; therefore the

number of responses (50) is higher than the number of respondents (36).
                                                                                         28



                                                               Paid time off to attend
                                    18                         class
                    2                                          Information on classes
    Types of
                                         22
   Incentives                                                  Tuition Reimbursement
                                                     34
                                                               Bonus pay for obtaining a
                              12
                                                               degree
                                                               Points towards
                                                               promotional exam
                0        10         20          30        40

       (Figure 4 – Incentives the respondents would like the department to offer.)
Survey Question 6

To submit an application for firefighter with the Washington Township/Avon Fire

Department an applicant must have a high school diploma or a GED. Do you

believe these educational requirements are sufficient?

        The survey results show that 78.38% (29) of the respondents thought that a high

school diploma or GED was sufficient to apply for a firefighter’s position with the Avon

Fire Department. However, 21.62% (8) felt that a high school diploma or GED was not

sufficient to apply for a firefighter’s position.

Survey Question 7

Do you believe that promotional processes for officer positions should consider

previous college education?

        A majority of respondents, 86.49% (32), felt that college education should be a

factor when conducting a promotional process. One respondent wrote “having a college

education shows initiative.” However, 13.51% (5) respondents do not believe that

previous college education should be considered during a promotional process.
                                                                                     29

Survey Question 8

Do you believe members of the department should receive bonuses for having a

college degree?

       Again, respondents showed favor to providing the educational incentives for

completing a college degree. Seventy percent (26) of the respondents thought that

members of the department should receive a bonus for achieving a college degree.

Meanwhile, 29.73% (11) respondents felt that these individuals should not receive a

bonus for achieving a degree.


                      Do you believe members of the
                    department should receive bonuses
                       for having a college degree?

                          30           26
            Respondents
             Number of




                          20
                                                                  11
                          10

                           0
                                    Yes                       No

                               (Figure 5 – Bonuses for Degrees)
Survey Question 9

Do you believe that obtaining a college education would benefit the fire department

in the future?

       Tabulating the responses to this question, I found it interesting that 97.37% (37)

respondents agreed that obtaining a college education would benefit the fire department

in the future. Only 2.63% (1) of the respondents disagreed with that statement.
                                                                                      30

Survey Question 10

Using the choices on the right, match what you feel are the appropriate degree

requirements with the following positions. You may use each letter more than once

or not at all:

       ____      Fire Chief                           A.)   High School Diploma or GED
       ____      Assistant Chief                      B.)   30 hours of college coursework
       ____      Division Chief                       C.)   60 hours of college coursework
       ____      Battalion Chief                      D.)   Associates Degree
       ____      Lieutenant                           E.)   Bachelors Degree
       ____      Chauffer                             F.)   Masters Degree
       ____      Firefighter                          G.)   Doctoral Degree

       The tabulation and documentation of these responses was a challenge. All

respondents listed which level of education they thought was most appropriate for each

position. Examining the responses to the fire chief’s position; I found that 42.11% (16)

respondents thought that the fire chief should have at least a bachelor’s degree (see figure

6). However, 34.21% (13) of the respondents thought that the fire chief should hold a

master’s degree. Some of the respondents, 10.53% (4), decided that the chief should only

be required to have a high school diploma or GED. On the other hand, 7.89% (3)

respondents believe that the fire chief should posses a doctoral degree.

       The majority of the department members surveyed, 55.26% (21), believes that the

individual in the Assistant Chiefs position should hold a bachelor’s degree. An additional

15.79% (6) of the respondents feels that a master’s degree is more appropriate. When

examining the Division Chief’s position, we see that the members are split between

requiring a bachelor’s degree (39.47%) or requiring an associate’s degree (34.21%). The

responses towards the educational requirements of the Battalion Chief were somewhat

clearer as 42.11% (16) respondents stated that an associate’s degree is best suited for this

position. However, 23.68% (9) believe that Battalion Chiefs should have a bachelor’s
                                                                                        31

degree. The lieutenant’s position appears to be a transition point on educational

requirements. The members of the department were extremely broad in their educational

requirements of the Lieutenants. However, the majority, 84.21% (32), of respondents

agree that the lieutenant should have more than a high school diploma or GED. A strong

39.47% (15) of department members stated that the lieutenant should have an associate’s

degree. Only 26.32% (10) thought that at least 30 hours of college courses was

sufficient. More than 50% of the respondents claim that the individuals in the

chauffeur’s position should have at least 30 hours of college courses. Lastly, a firm

78.95% (30) of the respondents stated that a high school diploma was the appropriate

level of education for a line firefighter.

               H.S.        30         60     Associate’s Bachelor’s Master’s Doctoral
              Diploma     hours      hours     Degree       Degree    Degree Degree
                            of         of
                         College   College
Fire Chief    10.53%       0%       2.63%      2.63%        42.11%    34.21% 7.89%
                 (4)                  (1)        (1)          (16)      (13)   (3)
Assistant      7.89%      2.63%     2.63%     13.16%        55.26%    15.79% 2.63%
  Chief          (3)        (1)       (1)        (5)          (21)       (6)   (1)
 Division      7.89%      7.89%     7.89%     34.21%        39.47%     2.63%    -
  Chief          (3)        (3)       (3)       (13)          (15)       (1)
Battalion     10.53%      7.89% 15.79%        42.11%        23.68%        -     -
  Chief          (4)        (3)       (6)       (16)           (9)
Lieutenant    15.79%     26.32% 13.16%        39.47%         5.26%        -     -
                 (6)       (10)       (5)       (15)           (2)
Chauffer      47.37%     28.95% 13.16%        10.53%            -         -     -
                (18)       (11)       (5)        (4)
Firefighter   78.95%     10.53% 5.26%          5.26%            -         -     -
                (30)        (4)       (2)        (2)
                             (Figure 6 – Appropriate Education Level)

                                             Discussion

        Research has shown that the fire service is well on its way to increasing its

intellectual capital. Advances in technology, both in the fire service and in society, has

demanded that we increase our basic level of knowledge. Ninety-four percent of the
                                                                                        32

Avon Fire Department members surveyed stated that obtaining a college education would

benefit them as a firefighter. Booth supports this finding, by stating that in the past two

years more than 80% of career firefighters hired have had either some college or an

associate’s degree (Booth, 1999). Our study concluded that firefighters have mixed

feeling about requiring a college degree to be a firefighter. Ninety-seven percent of

firefighters surveyed believe that a college education would benefit the fire department in

the future. However, when asked to list the most appropriate level of education for a

firefighter, 78.95% (30) of the same respondents listed a high school diploma over higher

education. Creating an atmosphere that encourages intellectual grow is key to convincing

the firefighters that higher education is valuable to the fire service.

        As a result of the literature review, I was able to identify a number of incentives

that could be used to encourage firefighters to pursue a college degree. Among those

incentives were tuition reimbursement, paid time off to attend class, extra points on

promotion exams and bonuses for obtaining a degree. It was interesting to note that

bonus pay for obtaining a degree was the number one choice, by 34% (17), of firefighters

surveyed at the Avon Fire Department. Firefighters ranked the incentives: extra points on

promotion exams (24%), tuition reimbursement (22%) and time off to attend class (18%)

in that order.

        Another factor in promoting higher education throughout the fire service is the

entry level requirements for a firefighter’s position. America Burning, published in 1973,

stated that “the Nation’s fire departments (must) recognize advanced and specialized

education and hire or promote persons with experience at levels commensurate with their

skills” (America Burning, 1973). “Requiring new recruits to have completed college

hours before becoming firefighters creates triple benefits for the department” (Little,
                                                                                          33

2002). “Clearly, the job of today’s firefighter can be recognized for its professionalism,

its public responsibility and its high risk. Raising the educational standard for firefighters

could be easily defended in most departments” (Booth, 1999).

        Examining the educational requirements throughout the organization, particularly

in the promotional process for company officer is important. Echoing the words of Chief

Clay Phillips, it vital that today’s fire service develop leaders within our profession

capable of driving the fire service to success in the future (Phillips, 1994). Eighty-six

percent of Avon Fire Department firefighters surveyed believe that college education

should be considered when testing for a promotion. In addition, 84.21% of the

respondents believe that firefighters should have more than just a high school diploma to

be a company officer. Acquiring a higher education shouldn’t stop with company

officers. Firefighters surveyed with the Avon Fire Department affirm this by selecting a

bachelor’s degree as the most appropriate level of higher education for all administrative

officers; including the fire chief.

        The fire service should look to the business world for ways to encourage

employees to pursue a college education. These businesses thrive from profit. If their

tuition assistance programs create that much success for them, why couldn’t the fire

service follow suit? This research question is best answered with Roger Williams

question, “What if you train your employees, and they leave?” more importantly, “What

if you don’t train them, and they stay?” (Myers, 2002).

                                      Recommendations

        The proceeding pages of this report demonstrate the need to promote higher

education throughout the fire service. My recommendations are as follows:
                                                                                     34


   •   Increase the current educational requirements, after the current hiring process, for

       firefighter applicants to an associate’s degree.

   •   Develop and implement a tuition assistance program, whereby employees may

       take any college course and receive monetary support from the fire department.

   •   Implement higher education requirements on a graduated scale for officer

       positions in the following manner: Lieutenant – Associates Degree, Battalion

       Chief – Associates Degree, Division Chief – Bachelor’s Degree, Assistant Chief

       and Chief – Master’s Degree. A reasonable timetable should be developed to

       implement these requirements in order to allow employees to acquire the

       necessary status for promotion.

   •   Reward employees that fulfill their educational goals with incentive bonuses. I

       would recommend paying members with an associate’s degree an additional

       $1,500 annually and members with a bachelor’s degree (or higher degree) an

       additional $3,000 annually.

   •   Allot educational time off to allow employees to attend college courses.

       These initiatives should assist the administration in developing a working

environment that encourages its’ employees to gain a college education.
                                                                                    35

                                        Reference

Baltic, Scott (2000). Life long learner (Electronic version). Fire Chief, November 1,

       2000.

Benefits of City Firefighters (2002). Retrieved August 8, 2002, from

       www.ci.springfield.mo.us/business/jobs/fire_ben.html.

Booth, Walter (1999). Many are called, but few are chosen (Electronic version). Fire

       Chief, May 1, 2002.

Booth, Walter (1999). Raising the bar for promotions (Electronic version). Fire Chief,

       August 1, 1999.

Brawner, L. (1998). Preparing Company Officers for Their New Role. Arlington, Texas:

       Executive Fire Officer Program, Executive Development.

Brown, M. L. (1997). Who hold the launch keys in your organization? Reno, Nevada:

       Executive Fire Officer Program, Executive Leadership.

Buddin, R. & Kapur, K. (2002). Tuition Assistance Usage and First-Term Military

       Retention. Santa Monica, CA: RAND.

Burton, M.T. (1996). Educational Motivations for Members of the St. Petersburg Fire &

       Rescue Department. St. Petersburg, Florida: Executive Fire Officer Program,

       Executive Leadership.

Cahners Business Information (1999). The 10 Most Common Retention Techniques.

       Industrial Maintenance & Plant Operation, 60 (12). Retreived November 9, 2002,

       from RDS Suite-IULIB_IUPUI.

Coleman, Ronny J. (2000). Fire service flowers show signs of stunted growth (Electronic

       version). Fire Chief, November 1, 2000.
                                                                                   36

Crawford, Brian A. (2002). Fair warning (Electronic version). Fire Chief, August 1,

       2002.

Dell, Stephanie (2002). Fully involved (Electronic version). Fire Chief, November 1,

       2002.

Elswick, Jill (2001). United Technologies Corp is committed to employees education and

       training; through the Employee Scholarship Program, employees can pursue any

       degree they like for free. Employee Benefit News, February 2001. Retreived

       November 9, 2002, from RDS Suite-IULIB_IUPUI.

Eurich, N.P. (1985). Corporate Classrooms: The Learning Business. Princeton, New

       Jersey: The Carnegie Foundation For The Advancement Of Teaching.

Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department (1992). Funding programs for training and

       education. Retrieved August 8, 2002, from www.dcdata.com

Federal Emergency Management Agency (2000). America at Risk. Emittsburg, MD.

       October 2000.

Federal Emergency Management Agency (1987). America Burning: Revisited. Tyson’s

       Corner, Virginia. December 2, 1987.

Fletcher, Lee (2001). More and more companies are offering their employees tuition

       reimbursement as a new benefit. Business Insurance, 35 (3). Retrieved November

       9, 2002, from RDS Suite-IULIB_IUPUI.

Gunsauley, Craig (2001). United Parcel Service is providing tuition and other financial

       assistance to part-timers. Employee Benefit News, 15 (7). Retreived November 9,

       2002, from RDS Suite-IULIB_IUPUI.

Harper, B. J. (1997). The Community College Role in Fire Service Education. Reno

       Nevada: Executive Fire Officer Program, Executive Leadership.
                                                                                     37

Higher Education Model. (2001, June 2-4). Retrieved December 9, 2002, from http://

       www.usfa.fema.gov/dhtml/fire-service/nfa-high3.cfm

Kemp, M. (1999). Advancing Higher Education For Fire Service Leaders. Clovis,

       California: Executive Fire Officer Program, Executive Leadership.

Kilbury, D. (2001). Higher education will enhance fire service (Electronic version). Fire

       Engineering, February, 2001.

Little, William (2002). Ready and willing, but are they able? (Electronic version). Fire

       Chief, May 1, 2002.

Matty, Dennis R. (1998). Fire Officer Training Program (Electronic version). Fire

       Engineering, February, 1998.

Myers, Bruce L. (2002). Tuition reimbursement programs add value to human resources.

       Printing News, 148 (1). Retreived November 9, 2002, from RDS Suites-

       IULIB_IUPUI.

Phillips, C. (1994). Leadership: Where Do We Go From Here? Coppell, Texas:

       Executive Fire Officer Program, Executive Leadership.

Rivenbark, W. & McCall, G. (2000). Promoting Higher Education In The Fire Service

       (Electronic version). Fire Engineering, September, 2000.

The Fire Service and Higher Education: A Blueprint for the 21st Century (1998).

       Proceedings from the Fire Science Coordinators Meeting, National Fire Academy,

       August 7-8, 1998.

The National Commission on Fire Prevention and Control (1973). America Burning.

       USA: United Stated Fire Administration.
                                                                                    38

                                       Appendix A

                             Education Feedback Instrument

This feedback instrument was prepared as part of a National Fire Academy Executive
Fire Officer research paper. The purpose of this tool is to identify methods of increasing
the opportunity to a gain college education as an employee of the Washington
Township/Avon Fire Department.

1.)    My level of education is:
       A.) High School Diploma or GED
       B.) Some college courses in __________________________________________.
       C.) Associates Degree in ____________________________________________.
       D.) Bachelors Degree in _____________________________________________.
       E.) Masters Degree or greater in ______________________________________.

2.)    Do you believe that a college education does/would benefit you as a
       firefighter in today’s changing world?

       A.) Yes                                       B.) No

       How?_____________________________________________________________

3.)    Should the fire department reimburse employees for college coursework?

       A.) Yes                                       B.) No

       If yes, should the employee be limited to certain types of classes?

       A.) Yes                                       B.) No

       Why?_____________________________________________________________

4.)    If the department had a tuition reimbursement policy would you consider
       taking a college course?

       A.) Yes                                       B.) No

       If Yes, what type of classes would you be interested in______________________
       __________________________________________________________________

5.)    What incentives do you believe the fire department can offer to encourage
       current firefighters to pursue a college education?

       __________________________________________________________________

       __________________________________________________________________
                                                                                  39



6.)    To submit an application for firefighter with the Washington
       Township/Avon Fire Department an applicant must have a high school
       diploma or a GED. Do you believe these educational requirements are
       sufficient?

       A.) Yes                                   B.) No

       Why?_________________________________________________________

7.)    Do you believe that promotional processes for officer positions should
       consider previous college education?

       A.) Yes                                   B.) No

       Why?____________________________________________________________

8.)    Do you believe members of the department should receive bonuses for having
       a college degree?

       A.) Yes                                   B.) No

       Why?_____________________________________________________________

       _________________________________________________________________

9.)    Do you believe that obtaining a college education would benefit the fire
       department in the future?

       A.) Yes                                   B.) No

10.)   Using the choices on the right, match what you feel are the appropriate
       degree requirements with the following positions. You may use each letter
       more than once or not at all:

       ____   Fire Chief                         A.)   High School Diploma or GED
       ____   Assistant Chief                    B.)   30 hours of college coursework
       ____   Division Chief                     C.)   60 hours of college coursework
       ____   Battalion Chief                    D.)   Associates Degree
       ____   Lieutenant                         E.)   Bachelors Degree
       ____   Chauffer                           F.)   Masters Degree
       ____   Firefighter                        G.)   Doctoral Degree
                                                                                    40

                                       Appendix B

                         Education Feedback Instrument Results

This feedback instrument was prepared as part of a National Fire Academy Executive
Fire Officer research paper. The purpose of this tool is to identify methods of increasing
the opportunity to a gain college education as an employee of the Washington
Township/Avon Fire Department.

1.)    My level of education is:
       N=38
       A.) High School Diploma               18.42% (7)
       B.) Some college courses              47.37% (18)
       C.) Associates Degree                 21.05% (8)
       D.) Bachelors Degree                  13.16% (5)
       E.) Masters Degree or greater             0% (0)

2.)    Do you believe that a college education does/would benefit you as a
       firefighter in today’s changing world?
       N=38

       B.) Yes        94.74% (36)            B.) No         5.26% (2)

3.)    Should the fire department reimburse employees for college coursework?
       N= 38

       A.) Yes        94.74% (36)            B.) No         5.26% (2)

       If yes, should the employee be limited to certain types of classes?
       N=37

       A.) Yes        67.57% (25)            B.) No         32.43% (12)

4.)    If the department had a tuition reimbursement policy would you consider
       taking a college course?
       N=38

       A.) Yes        92.11% (35)            B.) No         7.89% (3)

5.)    What incentives do you believe the fire department can offer to encourage
       current firefighters to pursue a college education?
       N=36
                                                                                  41

6.)    To submit an application for firefighter with the Washington
       Township/Avon Fire Department an applicant must have a high school
       diploma or a GED. Do you believe these educational requirements are
       sufficient?
       N=37
       A.) Yes      78.38% (29)            B.) No        21.62% (8)

7.)    Do you believe that promotional processes for officer positions should
       consider previous college education?
       N=37
       A.) Yes       86.49% (32)          B.) No        13.51% (5)

8.)    Do you believe members of the department should receive bonuses for having
       a college degree?
       N=37
       A.) Yes       70.27% (26)        B.) No       29.73% (11)

9.)    Do you believe that obtaining a college education would benefit the fire
       department in the future?
       N=38
       A.) Yes      97.37% (37)            B.) No        2.63% (1)

10.)   Using the choices on the right, match what you feel are the appropriate
       degree requirements with the following positions. You may use each letter
       more than once or not at all:
               H.S.     30 hours      60     Associate’s Bachelor’s Master’s Doctoral
            Diploma         of       hours    Degree        Degree     Degree  Degree
                         College       of
                                   College
Fire Chief   10.53%        0%       2.63%      2.63%       42.11%     34.21% 7.89%
                (4)                   (1)        (1)         (16)       (13)     (3)
Assistant 7.89% (3) 2.63%           2.63%     13.16%       55.26%     15.79% 2.63%
  Chief                    (1)        (1)        (5)         (21)        (6)     (1)
 Division 7.89% (3) 7.89%           7.89%     34.21%       39.47%      2.63%      -
  Chief                    (3)        (3)       (13)         (15)        (1)
Battalion    10.53%      7.89%     15.79%     42.11%       23.68%         -       -
  Chief         (4)        (3)        (6)       (16)          (9)
Lieutenant 15.79%        26.32% 13.16%        39.47%        5.26%         -       -
                (6)       (10)        (5)       (15)          (2)
 Chauffer    47.37% 28.95% 13.16%             10.53%           -          -       -
               (18)       (11)        (5)        (4)

Firefighter   78.95%    10.53%     5.26%       5.26%          -           -            -
                (30)      (4)        (2)         (2)

				
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