I find it interesting that the national fire service organizations (International Association of Fire Chiefs, International Association of Fire Fighters, National Volunteer Fire Council, and National Fire Protection Association) are all opposed to degree requirements for paramedics when they’ve been advocating for fire service personnel to earn degrees for years.
The U.S. Fire Administration established the Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education (FESHE) network of emergency services-related education and has established standards of excellence and model curricula for fire service- and emergency medical service-related degrees. FESHE’s mission is to “establish an organization of post-secondary institutions to promote higher education and to enhance the recognition of the fire and emergency services as a profession to reduce loss of life and property from fire and other hazards”1
In a 2016 article for the IAFC’s On Scene, Greg Barton, deputy chief of the Beverly Hills (Calif.) Fire Department and Western Division director at large for the IAFC’s Executive Fire Officer Section, wrote, “The fire service has always been respected for what firefighters do for their communities. However, one way to improve our desire for professionalism is to increase our formal education to stay on par with other professional organizations.”2
There are numerous articles in the fire service journals regarding the need for degrees in the fire service. A few of those are noted in the references.3–5 Yet the IAFC released a positon paper in August 2018 titled “Oppose Proposed Degree Requirements for Accredited Paramedic Programs.”6 And the IAFC, IAFF, NVFC, and NFPA released a joint statement in December 2018 entitled “Opposition to Proposed Degree Requirements for Accredited Paramedic Programs.”7 In addition, in January 2019 the IAFC’s EMS Section released a “tool kit of resources” to help fire services push back on the concept of degrees for paramedics.8
Why would the fire service support degrees for firefighters, then oppose degrees for paramedics? Let us know your thoughts!