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So, my issue is one that has been discussed on many occassions at my department as well as others, this is a first for me to post so be easy on me. The topic of discussion has ruffled feathers here at home on occassion and pushed a few buttons. My issue is one that has caused many many changes in not only tactics training but has gone all the way from hose loads to re-arrangement of apparatuss' lay-outs. I cannot seem to get my Firefighters to nail down the basics, we repeatedly have issues on deployment with a "Tri-Fold" after switching from a flat load that seemed to have caused even more issues, I am also haveing a great deal of trouble with not only my engineers but also my ground hands failing to remember the location of equipment on our apparatuss only finding what there in search of after several laps around the truck and repeated up-downs of the roll-up doors; as well as proper operating techniques of the tools we use on a regular basis. Ive been a Training Leiutenant for just under two years, however I am supported by a 22 year veteran of the service as a training Captain. I'm stumped and hunting ideas for "rote-memorization" and "muscle memory" when it comes to these issues. We both at times become very frustrated with the performance of some of the most basic skills taught in the fire service, our so called "bread and Butter", well our butters getting runny and the bread is growing Penicillin.

Please throw me some ideas and suggestions, not just quick fixes to avoid disaster but a long term solution that I can implement for years to come.

Thank you for your help,

Lt Chad A Baker

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I want to thank each and every one of you for your thoughts and ideas, most of which are thoughts and ideas I had contemplated and to hear them from others is a wonderful thing, knowing that my instinct as a young officer in the service is on the right track. I greatly appreciate all of you. I have talked with and am talking with several of my other company officers to find a resolution or a more effecient method of educating my my members.

Thank you again,

Lt Chad A Baker

To solve these issues in our department, I learned long ago that nudging, coaching, encourage work well with about 75% of your recruits. However, the other 25% need good old fashioned Ball Breaking as we refer to it. You have to make them understand who is the boss, and what the boss expects. You must make this very clear from the day they walk into your station. We have a meeting with each new recruit, the day they start work, and when we walk out of the office, there is a very clear understanding of what is expected of them. It's only fair that each of you understand what is expected.

The inventory problem has been solved by randomly walking in to the dayroom, picking out 1 individual, and heading to the apparatus bay for a little "Show and Tell". When they don't know where a certain piece of equipment is on the apparatus, they seem to learn quickly that if a ranking officer is checking up on these skills, maybe they better pick up the slack and learn them. The understanding of a ranking officer knowing, and them not knowing has been enough motivation for our dept so far. Hopefully it will continue this way!

Good Luck!

I used to be a full-time station resident at a busy suburban volunteer fire district and the way we handled people that don't know basic skills is to not let them be active. If you don't know your first due box, if you don't know the medbag or what compartments contain certain equipment because you don't do routine truck checks with the rest of the house - you don't run calls. Period. You are a danger to the public and to your crew. Or if it is an all hands event and every piece of apparatus is rolling out, you do the boring jobs on scene (backing up the man on the nozzle for an extrication, or rehab at a structure fire). You would be amazed how that lights a fire under some people to see other guys cutting up the car or putting out fire!

And we didn't just put it on the new guys to learn all of this stuff themselves. It was considered part of the station duties for residents to properly give drive time on the apparatus/set an example by performing truck checks properly AND to be available to answer any questions that the probie might have. Gradually we developed a culture that wasn't satisfied with being second best ... and damn it feels good to watch sister stations fumble with packs and crosslays while we dominate their first due calls.

I don't know whether this helps Lt but it sure worked for us
On memorization, I can remember as a rookie when they would play truck jepordy with me. They would ask me for a tool and I would have them follow me to the compartment it was in. This was a big help becouse you would walk around the truck on your down time trying to figure out where stuff was so you wouldnt look like an idiot. It also helped most of our trucks were set up the same, equipment wise, so you would know on another engine where you could grab something if needed. I agree with Joe as well, weekly inventories helped alot to.

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