Founded in 2015 Vigilant Fire Service Training was created with the intent of providing conference quality annual fire training to fire departments across the country no matter their size or staffing type. Founder and CEO Todd Smith has more than twenty five years of fire service experience with the past eighteen of those years serving as Training Officer. Smith has worked and trained with departments of all shapes and sizes from FDNY to a 15 member volunteer fire department in the heart of rural America.
Smith started his fire service career in a small volunteer fire department in upstate New York in 1992. Eagar to learn and turn his passion into a career Smith began taking state and county classes at a feverish pace. Before long Smith had become one of the higher educated members of the department and was assigned a role in training as an instructor in 1997. By 1999 Smith was an Assistant Chief in charge of training in his 50 member department.
In 2003 Smith was hired as a fulltime firefighter in a combination department near Rochester NY. By 2008 Smith had become a New York State Municipal Fire Instructor and began teaching drills and classes for his career department while continuing to serve as Training Officer in his volunteer department. It was around this time that the idea for Vigilant Fire Service Training was born.
The intention of the business at that time was to provide the highest quality training possible to as many departments as possible. “We had witnessed the impact of how a great training program can have such a positive effect on a department and we just wanted to share that” Smith said in a recent interview. The initial business idea was to physically perform training for area fire departments whose training programs favored the weaker side. Before long Smith was working with a variety of departments big and small however if they were truly going to make an impact on as many fire departments as possible the approach would have to change.
In 2015 the break through idea the business needed came like a lightning bolt. During a multi-agency training meeting between Smith’s volunteer department and several of their neighboring departments, Smith introduced his training plan for the year. While most of the other departments in the room had training schedules and ideas for drills laid out Smiths plan went well beyond that. As the departments Training Officer Smith, had organized all of the training requirements national, state, PESH and intra-department into a matrix that identified what annual training contained the needed material and who needed to receive it. The matrix was then broken down into a plan that described the; who, when, where and how the training would be conducted. The plan identified the lesson plan to be used, the presentation to be taught and listed the evaluation process for each of the lesson skills. The other training officers in the room were so excited by the plan presented that some of them offered to pay Smith to produce something comparable for their own departments. “That was our ah-ha moment” Smith said. “From that time on we knew that training plans would be the way to meet the masses”.
In 2016 Smith was promoted to Training Lieutenant of his career department and immediately put his training plan in to place there as well. After being initially accepted with skepticism, the training plan became an immediate success with average training attendance doubling in less than three months. The same was happening in the departments that Vigilant was hired to produce plans for as well. That reputation has begun to spread and the demand for Vigilant’s services are increasing substantially.
The mission of Vigilant Fire Service Training is provide fire departments across the country with the tools necessary to train their firefighters to perform safe and effective fire ground operations in order to mitigate any emergency as efficiently as possible. Vigilant’s main product line is their Annual Training Plan. This plan provides the training officer with a road map for one calendar year of training. The plan identifies what lesson is to be taught when by who and the package includes twelve lessons. Also included with each lesson is a presentation and or drill, an instructor’s guide to giving the lesson, a Job Performance Evaluation and a record of the conducted training.
Vigilant also provides a wide variety specific topic training plans as well as training program consultation including the building of complete custom training programs specific to your department. For more information contact Vigilant via email; firstname.lastname@example.org