The last few weeks have been busy. Vehicle accidents, one with hazmat involved, lots of EMS calls, working both jobs in addition to duty, and doing training classes. Training is an aspect of the fire service that I’m beginning to really get into. I’ve come to learn that the training that is done at the academy,or basic classes is not adequate for the world we operate in. The training for new people coming into the Volunteer fire service starts the day they become a member, not 3 months later when they start their official training classes.
I recently reconstructed my department’s ‘New Member Training’ that was originally put together approximately 15 years ago. In the last 3 or 4 years the department has gotten away from conducting this training relying on duty crew officers to make sure that the necessary information is taught. It’s been apparent that this isn’t happening though. Members not knowing what officer is in charge of what, where and how to use map books, or major streets in our first due area is a problem. A problem that can begin to be solved with proper education.
Beyond the initial training/certification of members, it is necessary for all of us to continue training. This training can consist of attending new and higher certification classes, or crew level training honing your skills in the basics – throwing ladders, stretching hoselines, extrication….. The low frequency tasks. When your crew/department trains, is it all classroom with no practical application of skills, or do you you get out and practice the skills that are rare for us to do?
In the past, my department has focused more on the classroom than the actual skill, however,now that I’m in charge of training this year I’m focusing on changing that. I hope to update (and seek advice) as we progress this year…
If you live in southwest Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky – be careful tonight and into tomorrow,as they are forecasting 4 – 8 inches of wet snow in the Roanoke area through Monday morning.