[Webinar] Instruct-o-Gram Live: Establishing a Field Training Officer Program

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The ISFSI Instruct-o-Gram Live webinar series brings a recently published Instruct-o-Gram alive with the author presenting key topics on implementing the material in your department. This month we are discussing the purpose and reasoning for a fire department to have a field training officer program and the benefits to the success of probationary firefighters and the long term investment these programs make for the fire department. 

The primary goal of a field training officer program is to serve as a “bridge” between the training a firefighter receives while assigned to the fire academy and the completion of the firefighter’s probationary period. 

The program should address two specific areas: 

  • Provide ongoing training with the skills and policies that are necessary for a probationary firefighter to succeed on the department. 
  • Provide each probationary firefighter with an additional support network. This support network would allow the FTO to serve as a mentor and educate the probationary firefighter about the traditions, lifestyle, and overall culture associated with being a member of the fire service. 

All firefighters graduate from the fire academy with a standard amount of basic training in fire and EMS skills. The challenge is to take this basic knowledge and learn how to apply it to the day to day activities that occur in the performance of his/her duties. 

The goal of any FTO selection program should be to recruit, select and retain experienced firefighters of the highest caliber to serve as Field Training Officers. The goal also includes phasing probationary firefighters into the department and creating solid foundations on which to build their career.


Eric Dreiman is the Division Chief of Training at the Indianapolis Fire Department. He started his career in 1990. Eric serves as an adjunct instructor to the Indianapolis Fire Academy and IFD’s Officer’s Development Program. He is a Licensed Paramedic and holds several state and national fire service related certifications. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from Indiana University. Eric also serves on several fire service committees and boards for the State of Indiana. He teaches a wide variety of fire service courses both in Indiana and around the country.

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