Georgia Smoke Diver Association
The Georgia Smoke Diver Association is a 501(c) nonprofit organization. Eligibility for membership is limited to certified Georgia Smoke Divers. The organization conducts advanced firefighter training known as the Georgia Smoke Diver course. The association allows Smoke Diver instructors a philanthropic platform to improve the fire service. No member of the association receives any compensation for their work and each member is required to cover all or part of their expenses related to the delivery of the Georgia Smoke Diver course.
To prevent death and injury by training firefighters to be adaptable and to develop critical decision making skills in high stress environments.
Competence · Honor · Integrity
Mental Toughness · Servant Leadership
The Georgia Smoke Diver course is a six-day, 60 hour program designed for the experienced firefighter who desires realistic training in self-survival, firefighter rescue, advanced search & rescue, thermal imaging, emergency procedures, teamwork, discipline, team leadership, situational awareness and decision making as well as how to function within the elements of the Incident Command System.
The program condenses and replicates the extreme demands that may be placed on firefighters at any incident. Emphasis is placed on the day-to-day challenges firefighters face at structure fires, multiple-alarm fires and multiple fires within a single shift. These same principles can be applied to the performance of duties at natural disasters, catastrophic events and acts of terrorism. The course is a physically demanding and mentally challenging program. Its design allows each candidate to understand and manage their physical and mental limitations under safe but stressful realistic conditions. Coupled with constant situational awareness drills and forced decision making, the candidate gains condensed experience and therefore is able to operate more efficiently and safely at incidents. The program has a long history of improving the lives and careers of Georgia firefighters, as well as firefighters throughout the nation, through the emersion of servant leadership principles. The course is continually updated to stay on the leading edge of firefighting technology and firefighter safety while the core mission remains the same as developed in 1978.
This unique course is conducted by the Georgia Smoke Diver Association. Due to the rigorous schedule, demanding scenarios and the physical and mental demands of the course, all nutrition and fluid intake is monitored and documented. A licensed physician's verification of the candidate’s ability to participate in the course is required. All participants are required to utilize lodging arrangements provided, for the accountability and safety of the candidate.
The Smoke Diver's Creed
If I persist, if I continue to try, if I continue to charge forward, I will succeed. I will not hear those who weep and complain, for their disease is contagious. The prizes of life are at the end of each journey, not near the beginnings, and it is not given to me to know how many steps are necessary in order to reach my goal. I will never consider defeat, and I will remove from my vocabulary such words as quit, cannot, unable, impossible, failure, and retreat, for these are the words of fools and cowards. When my thoughts beckon my tired body homeward, I will resist the temptation to depart. I will try again. I will make one more attempt to close with victory, and if that fails, I will make another. When others cease their struggle, then mine will begin, and my harvest will be full.
Georgia Smoke Diver Training Philosophy
Old training methodologies are proving ineffective for our new generation of firefighters. While this new generation comes to us smarter and having been exposed to more information, they lack a specific skill set in being adaptable. As the fire service continues to expand its mission it has diluted training in an attempt to turn every firefighter into an emergency service generalist instead of a specialist. Our training course was founded with the philosophy that we can provide condensed experience. We now know that when firefighters are faced with critical decisions we use a process call Recognition Primed Decision Making. Experience builds expertise and expertise leads to better decision making. Today’s firefighters are getting seriously injured and killed because of failures in decision making, because of a lack of situational awareness, or lack of orientation to the environment. In order to become better at these skills we believe that a strong set of skills must be practiced in realistic scenarios that allow the student to adapt with changing conditions all while under extreme physical and mental stress. These skills cannot be learned with PowerPoint presentations and checklists; they must be applied in the field. The key to this process is a powerful group of instructors who are experts in their field and are extremely adaptable. They are disciplined enough to know that it is better for the student to experiment and learn a solution instead of being told how to do it. This philosophy proves valuable to both the student and the instructor and proves that the learning process in continual.