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I am the training officer at a small POC dept. We have a relatively young and new Chief and I am the new Training officer. The old Chief believed that if he thought it was right, it was right. Even though it might be wrong. Now dont get me wrong, he did the best with what he was given, and he is an outstanding guy. I am not singleing out any one member or trying to lay blame anywhere, I just need to know how to fix it. The problem I am having is that formal training was not on his agenda and so since he retired, the current chief,{who assigned me to training officer}, and I are left with a mess. 25 guys, 100 year history, and only 4 that are trained at basic firefighter level. Our line officers have no idea what their role is even after I train them on it they still will not absorb any information. A few think they know, but really dont and have no formal training whatsoever. They dont even wear PPE and have to be pulled back out of the hot zone repeatedly. Our Asst chief has no formal training whatsoever and causes more chaos than i have time to explain. Now the new chief and I are trying our best to get formal training in here and are exposing the guys to more in depth looks at the fire service and our mission. But the older guys, ie..Line officers and captains, simply display no willingness to accept anything at all. I just need help soon because I cant be at every incident and I dont want these guys to get someone hurt. I am not one of those guys who bashes people verbally when they arent around, but I need help and I know you all will not let me down. We have got alot of good guys that can be led, but by officers, not children.

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Glad to see another training officer from Illinois. Your problem is not unique. Others have faced the same problems. I would start by setting an example. As training officer, and I assume an officer, get as much training as you can get. You are just a few hours from the Fire Service Institute in Champaign. Take some Fire Officer classes as well as Instructor I. Also take the Training the Training Officer class put on by the Illinois Society of Fire Service Instructors. That's a lot of good info. Also consider joining them. Secondly, assess the training needs of your department. Once done, come up with a training schedule. I have a yearly schedule but you can have a six month to 18 month schedule. Thirdly, make the training revelant to what your department does, as well as the basics. Contact me if you want some examples of what I have mentioned. Good luck and stay safe.

There have been other people that have posted on other groups and the discussion page about this. I know that there were a lot of good ideas from the other posters and I don''t want to re-write the bible here. The main things to remember are:

One; How deep is your pool of talent (can you tell the people that won't wear PPE, "you aren't going".) The Chief of my Vollie dept drove past the scene of an MVA where one FF was not wearing a vest. When asked, the Capt. said that the FF didn't have one. The Chief said "put him in the ditch". Now everyone keeps the vest on their turnout coat and pulls it if we go to a fire. We have some people that won't shave, they run IC or do traffic, they don't go into the IDLH. If you can do that, you should.

Two; Get (download) stuff from the web. There is some great stuff on FE. The last webcast of All Hell breaks loose; and now you're out of Air. Good info about what kills us on the fire ground. Video of bumpers taking off, badly vented fires, no PPE at car fires, house fires, Flammable-Explosive gas calls. You have probably seen a share. Down load them and ask your members, "do you want to die or come off the job with burns or organ damage?" If they say yes, tell them you don't need them.

Three; Only part of the job involves what you know or how you work on the fire ground. Another big part is how you follow orders. If you can't deal with direction from above, you are a freelancer. Have a nice life and please clean your stuff before you turn it in. If command is telling firefighters to operate within the system and the firefighters are saying "we don't want to", there is no control of the incident. Fire officers from Vollie depts. are getting sued for not working inside of NIMS. If the thought of your kid's collage fund going to some dumb a** (or the family of the dumb a**) who wouldn't follow orders doesn't make your Officers listen up, nothing will

The bottom line is this, you have basically two jobs at every scene, mitigate the incident and keep your people safe. If you loose a member because of a preventable, you have failed big time. The fact that they were off doing something that they shouldn't have been won't be an excuse. They are your responsibility. Show some tough love; get them in hand or kick them loose.

Hey John,

I read some of the great ides that have been posted. I want to make a few recomendations that I realy feel may help you.

1. Define each role & responsability (wriiten) to include the training requirements assoisiated. This can of course be done as an SOG. have the chief or power to be approve a MINIMUM standard of trainin and knowledge required to meet the position. Volly or not, firefighters and officers have a responsability to each other and them selves to fullfil their role so we can all make it home at the end of the day.

2. Assess current staff: it can take a little time and has to be prioritized in order of most important to least, but this will give you an idea of the training needed and the priority that it needs to be done in. If company officers lack in incident command skills and understanding then that is set on a prioty list and the training is handled in an orderly efficent manner.

3. Most important: Make sure that you are leading by example. Do your homework and get the appropriate training the allows you to fulfill your duty as a traininng officer so your sabordnates never have to question your level of training or ability to do your job.

I honestly feel that the bigest battles in these arenas are the communicatin between the chief and training officer. The chief has to support the goals and vision that you have established for the department, if he doesnt or you cant come to an agreement you will have a TOUGH battle ahead. Best of luck to you brother, seeking info from others speaks mountains of you!!

Pabel Troche
Smyrna Fire Rescue
Contact the Illinois Fire Service Institute and apply to have some of the cornerstone classes taught at your department. They are free (right now, with the mess in state government there is a budget issue but I am told this will be resolved). Sometimes having the "experts" tell your guys what you are telling them is what it takes to make the change. Also, maybe contact the IL Dept. of Labor and ask for a courtesy inspection. They will review your operations and write up what is needed-no fines or penalties attached.
Finally, don't fight every battle! I tried that 30 years ago and it does not work. What I would suggest is to write out 3-4 scenarios/evolutions. NFPA 1410 has some (and you can get theses forms from the IL Fire Service Instructors online). But without knowing your department, here are a few basic evolutuons you could start with:
-Don gear and SCBA, advance and charge preconnect, then advance charged line to fire.
-Don gear and SCBA, advance and charge line, then perform basic search of building.
-Water supply evolution: Tanker sets up folding tank and dumps load while pumper sets up and drafts OR pumper connects to hydrant and switches over from booster tank to hydrant water.
-Tanker nurse operation: Tanker feeds engine.
Hey John -

Just reading your post, and not sure if the problem has been fixed yet, but I wanted to offer another point of view.

Being the TO in my dept along with being a line officer, our problems are two-fold: first, getting ALL of the department to buy it is a MUST. It is easy for your guys who report to you to buy in, they are a captive audience. But getting the rest of the dept is tough. One of the solutions we used were monthly training topics that all officers have to sign off that their respective shifts have completed. Those reports get copied to the chief and filed into our files.

Secondly, all of our members are REQUIRED to take the training, case closed. All of the training is offered at the fire station when they are on duty. The "required" part has to come from above, which means the Chief must enforce the regs, period. Without the bite, there isn't any enforcement.

Third, take the first few months to review the talent you currently have, and adjust your lessons accordingly. For instance, we just ran a state FF 2 Exam, and the #'s show we need work in building construction and EMS. So you know what to focus on for the next few months.

Good luck....



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