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What’s the value of Values-Based Leadership Training for firefighters?

21 Aug 2017 2:48 PM | International Public Safety Association (Administrator)

By Columbia Southern University, an official IPSA Supporter

For men and women in the fire service, leadership is a necessary skill to save lives—from fellow firefighters to citizens to those facing deadly flames. For firefighters, planning and careful decision-making is a regular part the job, however, there are a lot of times when firefighters must make critical decisions very quickly.  

For firefighters seeking to advance in their careers, academic and workshop training is necessary to becoming a strong leader and reliable fire officer. This can be done in many ways, particularly as it applies to the subject matter or job position or the individual seeking to learn. Whether it’s classes in fire science, organizational leadership or business administration, firefighters can learn a great deal about what it takes to make a department function smoothly.

Administrative leadership functions

A formal education can also teach students the aspects of work that they may not have been exposed to along the way including budgeting, evaluations, metrics, scheduling and staffing. These are just a few of the behind-the-scene responsibilities for firefighter leaders. In fact, according to the National Fire Protection Association’s 4th Needs Assessment of the U.S. Fire Service staffing is a vital area of concern.  

Workshops and training opportunities such as webinars or specialized seminars are areas of academic learning that allow firefighters to commit to learning a concentrated topic. These classes are handy for students who already have a fire science or appropriate academic degree but are interested in becoming leaders. One popular workshop is Columbia Southern University's Company Officer Academy.  

“What we do is provide the attendee with the knowledge and information to not just lead better, but to be a better company officer through real life and values-based leadership training,” said Rick Lasky, veteran fire chief and author who is also one of the instructors for the academy.

Lasky, along with John Salka, also a retired fire chief and author, guide attendees through various discussions of some of the key issues in leading a firehouse. From performance evaluations to disciplining to mentoring, the academy covers a broad range of topics to help fire officers become effective leaders.

In addition, the CSU also features online continuing education classes that offer CEUs to help aspiring fire leaders gain valuable information. Workshop/training opportunities such as this provide ways for firefighters to learn about leadership from experienced officers. Combined with academic degree instruction, firefighters can gain the necessary skills and knowledge to become a successful fire officer.

About Columbia Southern University

One of the nation’s pioneer online universities, Columbia Southern University was established in 1993 to provide an alternative to the traditional university experience. CSU offers online associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees such as business administration, criminal justice, fire administration and occupational safety and health. Visit or call (877) 347-6050 to learn more. Members of the IPSA receive a 10% Tuition Discount to Columbia Southern University.


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