Safety and Training Division

Healthier, Safer, Better

The training division is led by Division Chief Joe Bruni. Under his command are two training lieutenants, and an office systems specialist. Together they support an extensive training program. The training program consists of three distinct categories: recruit training, in-service or continuing education and specialty training. Recruit training is guided by the requirements established by National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 1001. Examples of in-service training include subjects such as: fire suppression, human relations, public education, fire prevention, emergency medical training, search and rescue, auto extrication and ventilation. Specialty training consists of programs for EMT and paramedic, hazardous materials technician, technical rescue, company officer and driver/operator.

The Safety and Training Division oversees the continued training, health, and safety needs of the organization. The delivery methods include a three-year Joint Apprenticeship Training Program (JATC), multi-company drills, multi-agency drills, classroom studies, and professional development programs. These programs help to ensure the continued competent and professional services that our customers have come to expect. The department has entered into a unique partnership with the apprentice segment of the Pinellas County School System. This partnership provides instructors, staff support, curriculum, and facilities at little or no cost. This partnership is being used as a model for other fire service agencies.

The division facilitates the higher education of both firefighters and officers via continuing education classes. These classes are provided by the Pinellas Technical Education Center, St. Petersburg College, Eckerd College, the National Fire Academy, and a host of other institutions.

The division coordinated 23,791 hours (2008) of training programs presented department wide. Training is provided by our fire company officers, multi-company drills, and night drills are provided for our personnel on a wide variety of subject matter.

The two Training Lieutenants and field training specialist conduct an eight-week orientation for new firefighters as they embark on their new career. This intense program consists of over 30 separate courses on firefighting skills, EMS skills and an overview of fire prevention/public education during the six week orientation. The orientation is followed by 10 months of extensive training (apprenticeship) while performing as a firefighter.

The Safety and Training Division is responsible for the certification (40 hour class) of driver/engineers who operate engines, rescue, and aerial apparatus. This process involves classroom and field training, approval from the supervising company officer, a written and practical examination, and a review of the candidate's driving record.

The safety and Training Division, with the support of the Employee Relations Division, conducts promotional examination processes. These processes may include structured interviews, written exams, assessment centers, file reviews, or a combination of the above. The division creates and administers a promotional exam every year for the rank of Lieutenant or Captain (2 year promotional list).

The Safety and Training Division is also tasked with responsibilities for the recruitment and employment processes for new firefighters. This process involves actual recruitment, written test, physical abilities test, a background investigation, peer interview, polygraph examinations, and a medical examination.

Once the selection process has been completed and employment has been attained an eight-week orientation process begins the learning process of all St. Petersburg Fire Rescue employees. The orientation process encompasses an advanced level of training to better prepare the candidate for a career with St. Petersburg Fire Rescue.

The Safety and Training Division is involved in a host of services concerning occupational health and safety and efficiency. They are outlined as follows:

  • Research and Development - The Division is responsible for conducting research and the evaluation of new products, technology, and available services. These range from design and purchase of fire apparatus to firefighting, rescue, and specialty team equipment. The development of new procedures and techniques is required to keep the department on the cutting edge of health, safety, and technology.
  • Health and Safety - The division shares the responsibility with every member of the department to ensure safe working and living conditions. The training chief is the designated department safety officer and health and safety program manager. The division issues and inspects all protective clothing, and is involved in the departmental compliance with a variety of federal and state standards. Members of the division are frequently designated as an incident safety officer upon arrival at an incident scene and are charged with the health and safety of personnel. The division manages the health and safety program department wide.
  • Emergency Management - Upon activation of the city emergency operations center, extreme weather, or a large and complex incident, the St. Petersburg Fire Rescue Department may activate its Sub-Center. It is the responsibility of the Safety and Training Division to staff and coordinate the operation of this Sub-Center.
  • Apparatus Testing - The Division conducts and/or supervises the annual service testing of all pumping and aerial apparatus. Testing will also occur after any significant repairs have been completed to apparatus.
  • Reference and Video Library - The division maintains, updates, and supplies both stations' and headquarters’ libraries. This ever changing inventory is kept up-to-date to provide personnel with the latest information available. Video and editing equipment are maintained in the division to provide training and evaluation of techniques.