B.C. Structure Firefighter Competency & Training Playbook

The concepts in the British Columbia Structure Firefighter Competency and Training Playbook (PDF) are designed to ensure that appropriate minimum levels of training are established so firefighters are effective and safe. The previous standard, established January 1, 2003, is no longer in effect.

Playbook Training Requirements

The Playbook establishes a process under which training requirements are explicitly linked to the level of service being provided. As a fire department develops, or its services expand or evolve, the level of training required will also increase. The selected service delivery level needs to be reflected in the policies guiding the fire department and its training, including where services are provided by a society or other responsible entity.

Where there is no local government involved in the delivery of the fire service (e.g., an industrial fire brigade), the entity providing the service must establish such policies. We refer to the party responsible for setting such policies as the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ).

Request Training Materials

Requests for Playbook training materials for Exterior Level, Exterior Level (train the trainer), Interior Level and Team Leader curriculum must come from the Fire Chief. All parts of the form MUST be completed and sent to OFC@gov.bc.ca.

Instructions

  1. Download the request form (PDF) 
  2. Indicate which curriculum level is required
  3. Final two boxes must be checked to be eligible
  4. If approved, you will be contacted directly to arrange access to the training materials

Commonly Asked Questions

Background 

Created in 2014 and revised in 2015, the Playbook was created in recognition that many fire departments provide a level of service to their communities that does not require the complete NFPA 1001 level training. The broad scope and application of the previous minimum training standards set by NFPA left many communities in a position of not being able to achieve these standards. The Playbook is a direct response to the recommendations of the Fire Services Liaison Group (FSLG) report.

  • Fire Chiefs Association of BC (FCABC)
  • BC Fire Training Officers Association (BCFTOA)
  • Office of the Fire Commissioner (OFC)
  • Training Providers – Justice Institute of BC (JIBC), College of the Rockies (COTR), Vancouver Island Emergency Response Academy (VIERA)
  • Consultation with a variety of other stakeholders during the development process

Responsibilities 

The Office of the Fire Commissioner, as outlined in the Fire Services Act (section 3), has legislated responsibility.

WorkSafe BC is another provincial agency that could enforce certain safety and training aspects outlines in the Playbook.

It continues to be the responsibility of the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ), such as a local government, to determine what level of fire service will be provided:

  • Exterior Only,
  • Interior, or
  • Full Service.

Compliance 

As the Playbook has been in force and effect since 2014, the AHJ must ensure its due diligence in being compliant with its declared service level.

The Playbook permits the local government to clearly identify the specific training that is associated with their chosen level of service. This further allows a more accurate assessment of the resources needed for that service.

As stated in the Playbook (page 4), the AHJ is responsible for ensuring compliance.

The Office of the Fire Commissioner may periodically conduct reviews to provide recommendations and assistance where necessary.

The Minimum Standard was established pursuant to the authority of the Fire Services Act and a failure to comply may result in potential legal liabilities for the AHJ. If you are unclear on your declared level of service or whether you are meeting your declared level of service, contact the Office of the Fire Commissioner.

Training 

This will be dependent upon the level of service and the methods of training selected by the AHJ for training delivery.

The level of training is dependent upon level of service. The AHJ determines which level of service is to be provided, and by extension, the level of training.

The AHJ’s decision should consider factors affecting that community, which may include:

  • local conditions
  • level of service desired by community
  • consultation with representatives of local fire service delivery organization
  • availability of resources and the ability of those resources to respond; the realities of the community in terms of demographics, travel distances, fire hall locations, and staffing models
  • the ability of the jurisdiction or organization to financially support the operations of a chosen service level and meet all applicable safety and operational requirements
  • Justice Institute of BC (JIBC)
  • College of the Rockies (COTR)
  • Vancouver Island Emergency Response Academy (VIERA)
  • Local fire department with a training division

Contact the Office of the Fire Commissioner for other questions (i.e. Train the Trainer Program for Exterior Operations Level)

Contact the BC Fire Training Officers' Association or the Office of the Fire Commissioner to obtain the materials necessary to become a qualified Train the Trainer instructor.

Accredited training/certification levels that are completed with a recognized provider agency should have no issues from province to province based on the NFPA 1001 criteria.

Non-accredited training may transfer but should be checked for each circumstance.

WorkSafeBC Regulations state that records should be kept of all training and evaluations by the lead fire service authority in each AHJ.

The Playbook addresses the role of base firefighter skills for all the specific service levels. There are other specialty roles related to safety on the fire ground that are also required in some manner and are the responsibility of the local jurisdiction/fire department to identify and train to using outside or internal resources and expertise.

As defined in the Playbook;

Team Leader – a firefighter or officer trained/qualified to lead a team of firefighters in the undertaking of a fire ground task, or set of tasks, as applicable to the operational service level provided by the department. Team Leader qualifications are not based, nor necessarily applicable, to a department rank. Requirements are set out in the Standards and Requirements sections of this document.

Incident Safety Officer – a trained firefighter with fire ground experience and education in identification of incident hazards before they become issues and capability of generating solutions or direct actions to avoid such hazards.

Risk Management Officer – an administrative position created within this Playbook framework to ensure that External Operations Level fire services are identifying and managing the risk and safety aspects of their operation. Areas of concern include: training program design, training records management, Bylaw management, Operational Guidelines, adherence to applicable regulations and standards, and other non-fire ground administrative matters related to safety and risk.

Service Levels 

As with any service that is provided, the AHJ should have a bylaw or policy statement that clearly expresses the specific service level to be delivered for the community. This service level must be recognized and included in any guidelines or procedures provided to the fire department. It is the responsibility of the AHJ to ensure this takes place. Contact the Office of the Fire Commissioner for further assistance.

Interior Operations is the next service level up from Exterior Operations and includes entry into structures and objects with the purpose of controlling and/or extinguishing the fire. This training includes all competencies outlined in Exterior Operation plus the use of specialized protective equipment and procedures not covered by the training provided in relation to Exterior Operations Service Level. Interior Level operations are restricted to simple structures, and isolated more complex ones with an existing, documented and comprehensive pre-incident plan that has been trained to and practiced by all members who would make entry.

As with any incident, you are limited to the terms and conditions of WorkSafe BC regulations for firefighting and the qualifications outlined in the Playbook in terms of what action can be undertaken at the scene. If you don’t have enough Interior trained personnel to affect an interior attack, then you must revert to defensive operations.

 

Updated October 2019