The purpose of the Fire Ground Survival program is to ensure that training for MAYDAY prevention and MAYDAY operations are consistent between all fire fighters, company officers, and chief officers. Fire fighters must be trained to perform potentially life-saving actions if they become lost, disoriented, injured, low on air, or trapped. These training exercises must be consistent throughout the fire service. Funded by the IAFF and assisted by a grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security through the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, our comprehensive Fire Ground Survival training program applies the lessons learned from Fire Fighter Fatality Investigations conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and has been developed by a committee of subject matter experts from the International Association of Fire Fighters, the International Association of Fire chiefs and NIOSH.
IAFF Fire Ground Survival Awareness
This program is suitable for all rank and experience levels. The Fire Ground Survival course is a comprehensive curriculum developed using near misses, close calls, and fire fighter fatalities to address the critical elements of fire ground survival. Information from NIST, NIOSH, IAFF, IAFC, UL, USFA, NFPA and the military was used to develop the five part curriculum consisting of: 1.) Mayday Prevention, 2.) Being Ready for the Mayday, 3.) Self-Survival Procedures, 4.) Self-Survival Skills, and 5.) Fire Fighter Expectations of Command During a Mayday.
Successful completion of this course requires the study of actual near misses and fatalities to reinforce learning of each of the five parts. Students will listen to presentations, view videos of simulated Mayday incidents, and read documentation supporting how best to prevent a Mayday, as well as how best to prepare for, and handle an actual Mayday. Students will learn the specific actions a fire fighter must perform to assure the highest degree of survivability when things on the fire ground go wrong.
Students will also learn the specific actions the Incident Commander, Dispatchers, and others on the fire ground must take to assist in the fire fighter’s rescue. Mastery of the concepts will be evaluated using a post-test for each section.
This FGS Awareness Course is a pre-requisite for participation in the FGS Instructor Training (Train-the-Trainer/TtT) Course.
Click here to begin the IAFF Fire Ground Survival Awareness Course.
IAFF Fire Ground Survival Program Delivery Methods
IAFF Fire Ground Survival Operations Course – Direct and Indirect
There are two options in providing IAFF FGS Operations Courses to a fire department. The training can be provided directly by IAFF Master Instructors or by IAFF-Certified FGS Instructors.
Direct Delivery Operations Course
This option is hosted by a fire department for its own members, utilizing IAFF Master Instructors.
- Accessibility – All IAFF Local affiliated fire departments will be allowed to host an IAFF FGS Direct Delivery Operations Course.
- Instructors – The IAFF provides six Master Instructors for this three-day (24-hour) course.
- Student Prerequisites – Successful completion of IAFF FGS Online Awareness Course.
- Cost – A fire department may be a host site for up to 30 candidates at a fixed fee of $35,000.
- FGS Certification – Members successfully completing the IAFF FGS Direct Delivery Operations Course will receive an IAFF FGS Operations certificate from the IAFF. Members achieving this certification are NOT eligible to provide training to any other members.
Indirect Delivery Operations Course
This option is hosted by a fire department for its own members, utilizing their department’s IAFF-Certified FGS Instructors and where needed and so trained, FGS Assistant Instructors.
- Accessibility – All IAFF Local affiliated fire departments that have received an IAFF FGS Full License will be allowed to host an IAFF FGS Indirect Delivery Operations Course.
- Instructors – A minimum of two IAFF-Certified FGS Instructors are required if the training is done in stages (i.e. not done in simultaneous training exercises as is done in the three-day IAFF FGS Direct Delivery Training Course). Fire Departments that have more than two instructors (in pairs) will be permitted to conduct simultaneous exercises depending on the number of IAFF-Certified FGS Instructors. Fire Department Assistant Instructors are permitted to assist the IAFF-Certified Instructors in delivering this course.
- Student Prerequisites – Successful completion of IAFF FGS Online Awareness Course.
- FGS Certification – Members successfully completing the IAFF FGS Indirect Operations Course will receive an IAFF FGS Operations certificate from their fire department. Members achieving this certification are NOT eligible to provide training to any other members.
IAFF Fire Ground Survival Train-the-Assistant Instructor Course
IAFF FGS Train-the-Assistant Instructor Course is hosted by a fire department utilizing IAFF-Certified FGS Instructors and is designed to train selected members from within IAFF-affiliated fire departments from the ranks of fire fighters, company officers, and chief officers to become FGS Assistant Instructors. These Assistant Instructors are permitted to provide training to the FGS Operations Level Course within their fire department and only under the supervision of the IAFF-Certified FGS Instructors. The FGS Assistant Instructor position is an option for a fire department that has at least two IAFF-Certified FGS Instructors. This position is created by the fire department’s IAFF-Certified FGS Instructors after identifying individuals that have mastered their skills and are capable of assisting the IAFF-Certified FGS Instructor. Local-affiliated fire departments can host a four-day FGS Train-the-Assistant Instructor Course at anytime; but must register and pay the required per student fee with the IAFF prior to the commencement of training.
- Accessibility – Only licensed IAFF Local affiliated fire departments will be allowed to host an FGS Train-the-Assistant Instructor Course and only those departments that have IAFF-Certified FGS Instructors.
- Prerequisites – FGS Online Awareness Course; be a fire fighter, or employed by a fire department and involved in a fire service training program; demonstrated ability to assist IAFF-Certified FGS Instructors
- Cost – There is a $200 fee for each member who is being trained as an FGS Assistant Instructor. The IAFF will provide all the required training manuals and resource materials.
- FGS Certification – Members successfully completing the FGS Train-the-Trainer Assistant Course will receive an FGS Assistant Instructor certificate.
IAFF Fire Ground Survival Train-the-Trainer Course
IAFF FGS Train-the-Trainer Course is hosted by a fire department utilizing IAFF FGS Master Instructors and is designed to certify FGS Instructors by the IAFF from within IAFF-affiliated fire departments from the ranks of fire fighters, company officers and chief officers. These IAFF-Certified FGS Instructors will have the ability to train their fire department’s recruits and incumbents who have completed the FGS Online Awareness Course. IAFF-Certified FGS Instructors enhance these training sessions and increase retention by utilizing the FGS Classroom Instruction in addition to the FGS Online Awareness Course materials. IAFF-Certified FGS Instructors are also certified to deliver the FGS Hands-on Skills Training. Additionally, IAFF-Certified FGS Instructors are certified to train selected members as FGS Assistant Instructors from their fire department to assist in delivering the FGS Operations Course. IAFF-affiliated fire departments can host a four-day FGS Train-the-Trainer Course by scheduling through the IAFF Occupational Health, Safety and Medicine Division. The fire department host will determine class dates and location in coordination with IAFF staff. IAFF FGS Master Instructors shall teach the FGS Train-the-Trainer Course.
- Accessibility – Only licensed IAFF Local affiliated fire departments will be allowed to host an IAFF FGS Train-the-Trainer Course. Course dates, locations and fire department hosts will be listed on the FGS website. Depending on space availability as determined by the host fire department, the IAFF FGS Train-the-Trainer Course can be attended by fire fighters from different fire departments by registering on the IAFF’s FGS Website.
- Prerequisites – FGS Online Awareness Course; be a fire fighter, or employed by a fire department and involved in a fire service training program; at least one year of teaching experience; demonstrated ability to teach from prepared materials; and certification to the NFPA Instructor I level or equivalent.
- Cost – A fire department may be a host site for up to 30 candidates at a fixed fee of $45,000.
- FGS Certification – Members successfully completing the IAFF FGS Train-the-Trainer four-day Course will receive an IAFF-Certified Instructor Certificate which will include date of completion and identification of hours trained (32 hours for FGS Train-the-Trainer Course).
Host Site Requirements
Click here for Fire Ground Survival License Information.
Contact the IAFF and inform them of your desire to become a host FGS workshop and examination site. Workshop and administration sites affiliated with the IAFF will be given preferential treatment as host sites.
- The dates requested will be honored based on instructor availability. However, a workshop date will only be established three months after the minimum of 30 candidates is met to enable all candidates to prepare for the workshop and examination. The host site will be consulted on all details before the date is finalized.
- Your site must have a classroom with desks and chairs to seat a minimum of 30 students. The room must be free of distractions and at a comfortable temperature for the students.
- The site should also have the following instructional resources: LCD projector, computer with external speakers to utilize with the projector, printer, copy machine and five dry erase boards or easel pads.
- The site will be required to assemble the provided training props (at their own expenses) prior to the start of the workshop according to the plans provided.
- Tower drill requirements click here.
Host Site Costs
A fire department may be a host site for up to 30 candidates at a fixed fee of $45,000. As part of this fee, the IAFF will provide durable, fabricated props for the Upper Floor Egress, Disentanglement, and Reduced/Low Profile Wall Breach. Durable signage for all props and training stations will also be provided. These props and signage will remain the property of the host site and the IAFF will provide vendor information for the purchase of additional or replacement props. The IAFF will provide all the required training manuals and resource materials. Each student for the IAFF-Certified FGS Instructor Program will be required to have these teaching aids. As part of this fee, the IAFF-Certified FGS Instructor will be registered with the IAFF and will receive all updated training materials and continued information regarding the FGS Program. Payment must be received 90 days prior to the start of the workshop. If payment is not received prior to the start of the workshop candidates will not be authorized to attend.
If you do not have a minimum of 30 candidates, you may also consider:
- Conducting the workshop with a smaller class size for the $45,000 fixed fee. While such an option will cost you more per candidate, it will give each FGS candidate more individual time with the IAFF FGS certified instructors. Additionally, it will enable you to immediately establish a date.
- Contacting your neighboring departments and if additional outside participants attend, the fee is $1,500 per candidate from those departments, which can assist in offsetting your $45,000 cost.
- Depending on circumstances, the IAFF may be able to work with departments if there is a potential for less than 30 participants and the $45,000 payment cannot be made up-front. Based on IAFF discretion and if this option is offered to a host fire department, if 30 participants do not register by the beginning of the course, the host department must cover the slots not filled, which equates to $1,500 per slot. For eg… If the course has 25 participants, the host location must pay for the remaining 5 slots not filled, totaling $7,500. remove highlight here.
All registered candidates, as part of the fee, will receive the FGS manuals, including Instructor Guides, PowerPoint Presentations, FGS Instructional Videos, Plans for Prop Construction, Practical Skill, Evaluation Sheets. All materials will be sent immediately after registering with a valid credit card, verifiable fire department purchase order number, or department check. If a credit card payment is declined, the individual or department will be notified and their slots will be removed and study guides will not be sent until a valid payment is received by the IAFF.
Payment must be received prior to the start of the workshop. If payment is not received prior to the start of the workshop candidates will not be authorized to attend.
The host site fee provides for six IAFF FGS Master instructors.
Once a workshop date is scheduled, the class cannot be postponed due to a lack of registrants and the only cancellation exception would be due to an “Act of God.” If a workshop is postponed the host site can reschedule a future date. The IAFF will not be responsible for refunding airline or train tickets associated to the fire department, IAFF Local affiliate, or individual should a cancellation occur due to an “Act of God.”
The dates and locations of workshops and examinations will be posted on the IAFF web site, FGS_schedule.htm. For additional information you may contact the IAFF at (202) 824-1572.
Workshop Fee – Train-the-Trainer – $45,000; Operations Course – $35,000
All workshop and/or examination fees and purchase costs are in US funds.
We accept checks, money orders and credit cards (VISA or MasterCard only).
Checks or money orders, in US funds, shall be made payable to: IAFF – Health and Safety Department/FGS Program
There will be no refunds of the workshop, examination fees, or study materials. Emergency medical situations prior to or during a workshop may be reviewed by the IAFF but it will be up to the discretion of the IAFF to determine if a refund is warranted. All medical emergency reporting must include valid documentation or paperwork, otherwise possible consideration of a refund will not be granted.
The four-day Train-the-Trainer workshop has three main purposes. First, to review the online materials so as to increase the candidates’ knowledge related to fire ground survival. Second, to improve the candidates’ ability to deliver the prepared classroom lessons to fire fighters from their department, and lastly, to improve the candidates’ ability to demonstrate and teach the practical survival skills that are part of the FGS curriculum.
The workshop will focus on Preventing the Mayday, Being Ready for the Mayday, Self-Survival Procedures, Self-Survival Skills and Fire Fighter’s Expectations of Command.
Workshops will be taught by IAFF Fire Ground Survival Master Instructors.
The workshop will begin at 8:00 am and end at 5:00 pm on most days provided that all of the learning objectives for that day are covered. One hour will be given for lunch.
Workshops will be taught using small group learning methods, which encourages student participation.
Students will spend part of the time in a classroom setting and the rest of the time performing practical self-survival skills while wearing full protective equipment (PPE), including SCBA.
The IAFF currently has 25 IAFF certified FGS Master Instructors. Prospective instructors for the four-day FGS Train-the-Trainer and three-day FGS Operations Training Courses must meet the following qualifications. If you are unsure if you meet the following criteria, please describe any / all fire service, survival training, and instruction-based experiences in two or three detailed paragraphs.
- Employed by a fire department.
- If there is an IAFF affiliate associated with the fire department, authorization from the IAFF Local President.
- At least three years fire service teaching/training experience (preferably in fire ground survival).
- Successfully completed the IAFF FGS online Awareness Course and the IAFF FGS Train-the-Trainer Course.
- The requirements of NFPA Instructor I level or the equivalent.
Interested individuals who meet the above criteria must provide the IAFF with the following:
- A written request, including their name, home address, e-mail and home and work telephone numbers.
- A brief (1-page) resume or other description of their background and qualification.
- A video of actual instruction of at least a 15-minute lecture class.
- A letter of recommendation from their local Union President and Fire Department Official. The letter should reflect the individual’s potential as an instructor.
- This information must be sent to the IAFF.
All Master Instructors are appointed by the IAFF General President and work as independent contractors to the IAFF. The IAFF General President retains the right to cancel this appointment at any time for any reason. All Master Instructor appointments are reviewed annually and are renewable consistent with IAFF priorities and budget requirements.
FGS Certification Program Contact Information:
International Association of Fire Fighters
Attn.: Health and Safety Department
1750 New York Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20006-5395
Phone: (202) 824-1572
Fax: (202) 737-8418
Web Address: www.iaff.org
FGS E-mail: Courtney Benedict – [email protected]