Training As A Road Map to a place called “prepared”.

If training is the road map and the basis for making things happen in your department where the hell are you headed? You should be headed for a place called “prepared”.

I have been having many discussion with lots of folks and what I am seeing disturbs me. I see that in many departments the training officer might be the junior guy (or gal) who has a lot of zeal and zest but gets put into this position by default.

I see a lot of departments that are “pencil whipping” training programs. That is to say that they have written procedures which require training hours per day or per shift or before riding and they are complying but there is no real meat. I also see “pencil whipping” in the fact that departments today are attempting to train only for the sole purpose of complying with some regulation and conducting a mandatory training will relieve them of some liability or make them comply with some regulation.

In some states there are other benefits to training that become more important than the training itself. In some states firefighters receive EMS re-certification credit for attending fire training. In the last seminar I ran I had a department call me and ask me if there were EMT recert credits being issued. I said no. That department chose not to send anyone to the training. I guess training is only good if it prevents me from having to go to any other training??????

Departments are also becoming too trendy with their training. Please do not mistake me we should be aware of the hazards that surround us and we will certainly be the ones responding on the front line, but should we make this the priority or should we insert it into our training plan or road map as one of our regularly scheduled stops on our trip for knowledge.

We seem to plan our trip for knowledge to our destination a place I will call “prepared” and every other week we keep getting side tracked on this journey.

I believe that sightseeing is good on vacation, and once you arrive at your destination you should take little side journeys, but what I am seeing is all of the sightseeing is going on along the way.

A small department with limited resources should be able to REACT to an incident of terrorism. I m not sure if any fire service agency is going to PREVENT one.

Let us make sure we know what could happen, let us preplan and Targets we have have in our response district and let’s do a whole bunch of what ifs.. but also lets us do post incident reviews of our current responses and make sure we are doing what we do every day correctly.

Our road map should start with making sure we know what we are doing in the first place.

Look at your current responses and decide what categories they fall in.

Look at what things and responses you handle really well.

Look at how well your department’s sops are being followed on routine emergencies. ( I know I know nothing is routine, don’t get hung up on semantics on me now….see you were getting lost again, back to the map now!)

Plan your training to get your members to that place you call prepared and maintain a steady course and a time frame for arrival.

The training officer is the travel agent, and the firefighters are the passengers on a trip booked by the chief.

As the travel agent remember the following:

You won’t please every passenger.

You should be well prepared yourself and keep to a schedule.

The journey should be interesting, exciting and involve all.

As the tour director (training officer) fill your own tank frequently and you won’t run out of gas. (Make sure you keep going to training yourself so you are current)

Decide what is nice to see and what must be seen.

Never every tour group is ready to climb mount Washington!

(Figure that one out yourself!)

Passenger safety is always important.

Don’t keep changing directions it makes the passenger motion sick!

It is OK to change modes of transportation. (Slides, hands on, field trips, PowerPoint, simulation etc.)

Proper preparation prevents time delays and breakdowns.

Training should be the road map that your department follows on it;’s journey to prepared.

There I fueled you about, you are now free to move about the website!

Have a safe trip!

Pete Lamb
Copyright 2013