Train Every Day
Chief Jake Rhoades
The fire service has a tendency to make even the most
obvious things very difficult.
Training is a great example as there are some individuals as well as
entire departments who will make more effort to get out of training than it
actually takes to complete the training.
There are even stories of individuals refusing to complete department
training. The importance of
training is increasing as the fire service evolves; more response capabilities,
higher community expectations, a decrease in the level of experience, and an
increase in the number of “other” calls than fires.
Training is the simplest and most necessary things that
members of the fire service should be doing every day (I can also argue
prevention and education but those are conversations for another day). Regardless
of what type of training that you do, it will ultimately allow you to deliver
better service on a daily basis and even more importantly keep you and your
crew safe. Be it company training,
hands-on training, classroom training, pre-planning does not really matter,
just go train. This means you and
every member of your crew, without exception or excuse. If you are reading this, we probably
have a similar mindset when it comes to the importance of training. Does everyone on your crew have the
same mentality? Does the crew from
the 2nd due station have a training mindset or train with you? Most importantly, does your department
have a training program to meet your needs?
Hopefully your department has a structured, comprehensive training
program that ensures that you are training every day but unfortunately in
today’s fire service that is not always the case. Today’s fire service has taken on a tremendous amount of
other responsibilities and duties and training programs have to ensure that you
and everyone in your department is prepared to meet these challenges. Often times, these other duties are
allowed to take precedence over training and chief officers allow that to
happen without question and often by their bidding. I agree that ancillary duties have to be completed; apparatus
maintenance, inspections, facility cleaning, etc… but how many of these duties
AND training can be accomplished with good planning and time management. Planning takes effort and the
development of an Annual Training Plan can make a tremendous difference in time
management and the completion of training as everything is scheduled and
accounted for. The only real
factor to the disruption of training should be emergency calls.
An Annual Training Plan can account for everything that you
want to or need to train on throughout the year; CEU’s special operations,
basic and advanced training, pre-planning, officer development…all it takes is
planning and development. This is
how programs are implemented and an established schedule allows company
officers to plan their days and training that they want to accomplish with
THEIR crews. These is the key to
any training program, training on all levels and buy in from members as each
realizes their strengths and weaknesses within their firehouses and what they
need to train on. You department
must have a plan but that is not enough, it’s never enough.
As a veteran of the fire service, training has always been
very important and issues like this have a special place in my heart as we must
all overcome any and all of our individual or department challenges when it
comes to training. Do not think
you are alone in your frustration and stress as every department has the same
issues, they just have to be solved in a different way due to the unique
dynamics and culture of each of our departments.
Know what is expected of you when the bells go off. My oldest son is a college athlete and
has aspirations of joining the fire service for his career when he graduates. We were talking about training
requirements and what recruit training and company training was going to be
like. I told him what some
departments do for their recruits and what some of the training entailed. He was engaged in the conversation but
also expressed his trepidation about the world of fire department
training. He stated he was not
sure what to expect or how he would perform. This sums up the fire service and many individuals in the
fire service, how are you going to perform when the bells go off? What are your strengths and
weaknesses? Do you have
trepidation about any of the responses that you are going to make?
If you do, fix it by getting out and training. Make sure your department has a
current, comprehensive training program that meets your needs and more
importantly the needs of those around you because those weaknesses, fears,
nervousness, trepidation will come find you and unfortunately when it does,
someone’s life is going to depend on it.
Train every day like someone’s life depends on because in reality, it