Little Falls Fire Department Second Assistant Chief Dakota Lynch in front of Engine #111. Photo credit: Scott Kinville.

By Scott Kinville

The life of a firefighter requires him or her to spend long hours away from their family and friends. To advance through the ranks in the fire service means even more hours away for schooling to become qualified to lead their department through anything that comes along. Second Assistant Chief Dakota Lynch of the Little Falls Fire Department (LFFD) has completed his Front Line Supervisor Training Program at Fort Totten in New York City after his recent promotion.

Lynch has been a Little Falls firefighter for over 15 years and was promoted to Second Assistant Chief in December of 2023. Before his promotion, Lynch completed his New York State Paramedic training, as well as certification in swift water rescue, trench collapse, and confined space, and is a SWAT team medic, among other qualifications.

When a Little Falls Fire Department firefighter is promoted to Assistant Chief, they are sent to the New York City Front Line Supervisor Training Program. The course is conducted by members of the FDNY, with both classroom and hands-on instruction. According to Lynch, about a dozen instructors from the FDNY taught at the school. Topics covered include:

  • Fire dynamics.
  • Fire tactics.
  • Thermal imager camera.
  • Mental Preparedness Initiative (MPI).
  • Gas and electric scenarios and concerns.
  • Communications.
  • Leadership.
  • Personal safety systems.
  • Fire investigation.

The new assistant chief was able to take the accelerated program, as he already holds Fire Officer One and Training Officer One certifications. Lynch said he enjoyed his experience in New York City.

“They cram a lot of experiences and a lot of knowledge within that short period of time,” he said. “And now they run like a well-oiled machine.”

Little Falls Fire Department Chief Robert Parese expanded on the importance of the Front Line Supervisor Training Program.

“FLIP school (as the program is sometimes called) is in New York State law,” Parese said. “Once you get promoted to your first promotion, you’re required to go to New York and participate in their frontline supervisor program. We had a glitch back in the COVID days where nobody could get in, they downsized the classes, and then the waiting list became so long”.

Parese also noted what makes Lynch such a good firefighter.

“His activity, his participation, his knowledge in firefighting, his aggressiveness in firefighting, his ability to retain what he learns and be able to add that or take that and transpose it over into your hands-on stuff,” the chief noted.

Being away from his family for that long was certainly difficult, but it was an experience Lynch will never forget. He has nothing but praise for the FDNY and its Front Line Supervisor Training Program.

“The FDNY is a good program, and they take good care of you down there.”

Photo submitted - Front Line Supervisor Training Program in New York City.

Photo submitted – Front Line Supervisor Training Program in New York City.