Like most TR Instructors I know, I’ve fielded my share of questions from people who either have (or are working toward) TR certification about the new standard – NFPA 1006 2013 edition.  Some questions are simple confusion, but others are so far off base that you have to wonder who is spreading this layer of manure.  This is a good time to tell you what is actually going on.

First, we need to remember that things change: we don’t train like we did in 1980 because we don’t face the same hazards, we don’t use the same equipment, and we understand better the long-term effects of some of the (sometimes stupid) practices that used to be prevalent.  It is more than a little disingenuous to suggest that we don’t need to learn anything new – to do so means your “twenty years of experience”  is more likely “five years of experience four times”.  NFPA revises standards every five years for a reason, and NC has to step up if we’re going to remain current – and “remaining current” is not just an ego thing: it’s a safety, liability, and professional thing.

The new standard puts NC in line with the current NFPA 1006 requirements and removes the requirement that you essentially take ropes twice.  Rope is a huge part of every TR regimen, and if you have the Ropes Specialty, you duplicated a lot of the work you did in TR General Ropes.  And guess what – the new standard is better, especially since it requires that practical skills actually be performed instead of simulated, and aspiring instructors to prove they have the requisite skills to teach the subject material.  It also removes the necessity of explaining to a lot of TR students that they are still not a TR, even though they completed General.

If you care about this job (whether an Instructor or not), you routinely practice your skills, and stay on top of your training and abreast of changes that make your job safer, easier, more efficient, and more professional.  In my experience, the people that get the maddest about updates are ones that are afraid someone is going to figure out just how much they really need to learn.

So here’s the “411” on what the new standard means to you – Many thanks to Kim Williams and OSFM for information and for making sure that what is written here is correct (the TR requirements, that is  – not my editorial comments).

  • If you have TR VMR and General Certifications by the end of December 2015, you will have VMR certification to the NFPA 1006 2008 edition.  You are, and will continue to be, VMR certified to the 2008 edition.   The “new” is an edition change/update.  It will be titled TR Vehicle and will be to the NFPA 1006 2013 edition.  If you desire the new 2013 edition you will have to take anything that has been added.  In the case of vehicle, it would be Health and Wellness course, TIMS course and you must have the TR (combination of Ropes and General) to gain the new edition (2013). See the crossover link from OSFM below to see what it will take to get to the new standard, if that’s where you want to go.
  • If you are currently qualified to teach only TR General, but do have the Ropes specialty certification before the end of 2015, you can qualify to teach the 2013 standard if you complete the qualification process before the end of 2017.  You will not have to wait the normal 5 years in order to qualify.  *IMPORTANT* Make sure you complete any upgrades that are required for your current qualifications before the end of this year.  Note you are not eligible for the waiver if you complete Ropes in 2016.
  •  If you are currently a qualified TR Ropes or VMR instructor and have taken the upgrade classes that will be offered through the end of this year, you will be qualified to teach the new 2013 standard.

I’ve had conversations with people who have heard that OSFM was going to throw out existing certifications and/or require you to take all of the classes in order to keep what you already have.  The bottom line is this: OSFM will only take your certification or qualification if you do something that proves you didn’t deserve to have it anyway.  They are in the business of making us more professional, not less.  To look at them as an adversary not only does a disservice to a lot of hard-working and dedicated people, it reduces the resources and relationships that you have available to help you perform and/or instruct in an environment that gets more complex each day.  If you are desperate to be angry about something, be angry at the TR that thinks a certificate on the wall indicates that he or she has nothing more to learn – or the instructor that somehow wound up with qualifications they really should not be trying to teach.

Luke Steele

Captain – REDS

OSFM Links

Don’t take my word for this – here are the links to OSFM.  If you are still confused after reading the above and checking out the links, then email me or FB message me and I’ll get you an answer.

NC Technical Rescuer Re-Qualification

Technical Rescuer Crossover List

Vehicle Rescue Crossover List