If you can’t tie a knot, tie a lot.
Sage advice my good sir, but I think I’d rather tie a knot. There is a list of knots that every firefighter is supposed to know. The list includes Bowline, Clove hitch, assorted Eights, A bend of some type, Overhand safety, Half hitch.
I’m not going to lecture about the virtues of one knot over the other or that one doesn’t go here or there. There are many knots and variations, too many to have in the front of your mind at 3AM on an icy embankment.
KISS- Keep It Simple Stupid
Find a knot you like and bend it to your will. I’d recommend mastering the family of 8’s because you can fill most needs with variations of the same basic shape. Having a solid knot in a less than ideal situation is better than having a pile of spaghetti anywhere. It looks professional and it looks like you know what you’re doing (even if you don’t). If you are a one trick pony when it comes to knots, that’s fine, you’ll have a knot that you can trust. When someone ties the Confused Worm knot to the apparatus so you can make your way to a rolled over car in a ditch, that knot is going to be another thing you have to worry about.
Do yourself a favor, go to http://www.animatedknots.com/ pick your pony and practice it. Practice with a 6′ piece of rope. Then when you think you’ve got it mastered bring that rope on a call at 3AM and see if you can do it then. If you can congratulations, you’re halfway there. Now tie it blindfolded, then teach someone else. Drill it into your head, muscle memory is the best type. Practice, practice or you will lose the ability to tie it.