Company Level Training: Be more than a Badge

Firefighters often times don’t know the effort and thought that it really takes to make a great training session happen. As firefighters we are argumentative and our way is surely the right way the other guy is just and idiot right? Well your WRONG! In another article we will discuss the difference between Drilling and Training but for now lets stick to the training aspect. My question to you what is training and how do we make each session a home run every time. The answer for me is preparation it means having a plan A,B,and C because we all face the phone call first thing in the morning of; I did not get around to tell you last shift but you all are due at the training academy this morning for a few hours and your going to be doing live fire evolutions or something to that effect.  Now I don’t know many firefighters that don’t want to see some flame and get a little smokey but you had it all planned out that you needed to address a issue of Laddering that you encountered from the last fire you ran a shift ago. You do not have to let your training go, but you should most likely in my opinion drop the hands on portion of the session for today.

So whats left? I’m glad you asked. Company level training tends to skip over pieces like the technical information on a subject that is needs to be reviewed: Ladder maintenance, Ladder parts, Ladder weights for your manufacture or even if you have a mix of Ladders within your department, and even proper lifting techniques meaning (ergonomics).  You could even view a few videos that you know things were done right and things were done wrong to reinforce what you are trying to explain.

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Photo by Author

Components of company training

Realistic– How does this apply to them if the bell rings right now

Relevancy– Does this training come from basics skills training? Did it come from someone’s own personal experience and etc..

Repetitive– Ensure that evolutions are done over and over again. Sure your going to get the griping but they will thank you later when their performance on the fire ground even surprises themselves

Clear– Are your objectives clear on what you are trying to accomplish or are you all over the place grabbing at straws

Concise– Just because you can does not mean the training should last all day, ensure your objectives are clear yet and again and when they are completed critique the training and be done. Whether it last 30 mins or 8 hours did the company grow from it?

Courteous– Everyone is not going to know everything or be proficient as you believe they should so avoid statements such as ” You didn’t know that ”

Most of all don’t confuse training with a drill. Training is just as it says you are training someone for a task, you are teaching them giving them factual information and sharing your experiences good or bad. A good training causes members to ask lots of questions and will actually help you to decide and develop future training sessions.

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Photo by Author


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