When I talk about training firefighters,I often get asked, where do I start? After I accepted my position as chief of training with the Lewisville Fire Department, Chief Lasky and myself identified the training subjects that we believed where most important to our success. We wanted to focus on the "basics"; the subjects that we wanted our firefighters to master. Five subjects were identified and the monthly training calendar was built around drills that focused on one or more of these subjects. The goal was to conduct at least one four hour training session on each topic, each quarter. The five subjects are:
SCBA / PPE
Firefighter Rescue / Survival
At least four times each year a hands-on exercise is conducted so that companies can apply the knowledge and skills they have trained on, in a simulated event.
It doesn't matter what your five subjects are. Combine your Big 5 with a monthly Line of Duty Death Drill, a First 5 Minutes Drill so that strategy and tactics are reviewed at least monthly and an EMS Drill and you will be providing a pretty good training foundation. Specialty training can be added in as needed to mix thing up a little.
What we are finding out is, that as the troops begin to master the basics, other critical thinking and tasks seem to fall into place. My personal conclusion on this is that, as basic skills become second nature, firefighters are able to concentrate more on their overall situational awareness; reading conditions, room orientation, communications etc.
If we look at past line of duty deaths or close calls, we see that it's not how tasks are performed that actually cause the event, it's the information that is not recognized or realized that get firefighters into trouble while they are performing basic fire ground evolutions. Be Safe