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What are the 5 top issues facing you this year in training. If you've identified any solutions for your top 5, please share them to help others who are probably facing similar ones. Here's a few that might help get you started:

Performance Based Training Systems
Officer Training Programs
New Driver and On-going training for drivers (don't forget the pumping part)
Probationary periods
Return to Duty Programs

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Replies to This Discussion

All of the suggested issues are good ones. An issue my department faces is a training location. The cost of sending firefighters to other agencies and state facilties (such as Oklahoma State University) has made it very difficult. A way that we have managed this is to work with other departments and team-up to tackle the problem. Tulsa Fire has helped tremendously by extending thier resources and training facilities. When working with management on training, more specifically, training budgets, remember "no" means no today, not tomorrow.
Probationary periods we have reviewed and revamped our program over the last six years. Our probationary period used to be one year, however city legal changed it to six months. It was not our choice and out of our hands.
First the Firefighter on Probation (FFOP) wears an ORANGE tradtional carins 880 with a paul conway orange front (Trainee, Merriam, 61). They are now a pumpkin head for six months. We do not issue badge or collar brass until the period is completed. We also set clear expctations and review what is required.
Next we have a book called the Getting Started Handbook. This book contains check-offs about policies, procedures, fire ground operations, fire equipment operations, pratical skills review, and training drills/OJT. It is a very indepth book and we also include important Safety Articles 50 ways to live and die by Chief Dunn, K-750 saw operation guide ect. We require KS State FF I and II to even apply for our career FD, the FFOP reviews IFSTA Essentials Manual and takes a test after each chapter. At the end of the six month period we have a compresensive exam over all the above and a pratical skills exam. The pratical exam is not state firefigher testing, it is real fire ground operations. We evaluate there ability to accopmlish the task safely and effeciently. Once completed sucessfully we have a cake, badge pinning, and issuing of a RED carins 880 tradtional (Department Issued) or Carins Leather New Yorker (purchased by the FFOP). Stay Safe, Rick
Our biggest problem that will start this year and bleed into next year is keeping our training fresh. I started doing our training four years ago and have a fairly good routine built. However, the fire service is not roitine and I need to get my butt in gear and freshen up what we are doing. I still have to do most of the same skills but what I nned to find is a new or fresh way to do them. I don't want to loose the members to boredom!
How to cram (with quality) refresher training on our 350 hours of basics plus new things that come along (both good stuff and the stuff we have no choice in doing) into the time allocated.

How do I outdo myself for the next drill? I don't mean to act like I'm some great instructor, but when you put great effort into a drill and have a great outcome how do you keep that momentun going? I cannot manage to do 30 hours of prep time for a 3 hoursdrill every month. If you burn a hour this month but next month you arrange a hose drill in the middle of a parking lot the romanace and appeal just are not there. It's easy to say "we need to do this" but reality is the same effort on the part of the members is just not there.
Getting buy in, into the drills we do - we do we have to do this again...
Managing both career and volunteer training
Getting all the "MANDATORY" stuff on top of the important stuff (currently tackling this stuff using web-based training)
Compentancy of new volunteers after they exit the academy
Getting other instructors to prepare for a drill (or atleast spending a little time preparing)
Mastering the basics
Company and chief officer development
Meeting ISO Class1 requirements
Training for the future
Our biggest challenge is not having a full-time training officer for the past 5 years (132 person department). We are also losing several of our senior company officers to retirement so the mentoring and training of new officers will also be a challenge.
Hey Scott;
Check out the weekly drills at, I just started posting a new series on developing a basic skills bootcamp. See what you think.
Due to retirement our department is getting very young. My concerns:
1. Apparatus driver/operator
2. Officer development
3. Training to bridge the experience loss
4. Training to bridge the experience loss
5. Training the "why "to go along with the "how to"
As a battalion chief I go over lots of the why in our post-incident review. It is working, I just don't know how to do it any faster or more efficiently.

I agree with you 100% my department is facing the same problems. We told the city for years it was comming and now it is here, what to do training, training, training. Some of the new firefighters just do not have the zest for training that many of us still have. Really sad just a differnet group.

Stay Safe Brother,

Our problem with "zest for training" apears to be opposite yours. The younger ones want to train more than the compny officers wish to take them out. I have a path worn in the carpet from younger people asking for information on fire schools.
I would agree with Jay, we definitely have a ZEST for training. We had over 21,000 hours of training with 69 guys last year. Our issue would be getting everything else done (inspections, truck checks, house chores) and still conducting a quality training over quanity of training. I still say Instructor Preperation on the part of the Company Officer is our biggest issue.


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