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When I joined my fire department, geez 12 years ago, even though we are in Alaska, I felt that we were right on par and training at the national level.  However, in the last 10 years, I'm amazed at how ways have changed in the fire service.  Rehab is highly emphasized more now.  RIT is now a common term.  2 in 2 out is an everyday occurance instead of a dirty word.  There are thermal imagers, emergency egress technics.  All kinds of new extrication and hybrid vehicles are becoming common, even here.  Now, I realize after 10 years, I feel like we are sadly behind the curve.  Almost to a reckless degree. 

 

This article discusses lack of proper training and how litigation can occur if the public servant doesn't treat the citizen properly and within their rights.  My question is, when does the lack of training become an issue for the firefighter himself.  You know darn well that if a firefighter dies today because they didn't know how to disconnect the battery system on a hybrid, or know, to even check for where the air bag cylinders in a car are, the family could, and SHOULD sue the department if they have NEVER trained or discussed this. 

 

Technology has advanced firefighting so quickly, that I don't think Chiefs can have the luxury to overlook things as a "fad" anymore.  They can't say we've done it this way and it's never been a problem.  Or we haven't had a need to bail out of a second story window.  Even saying we can't fit in any new training CANNOT be allowed as an excuse anymore. 

 

How do you suggest we need to step up training without receiving resistance?   I'm so worried right now that our training is SO inadequate, that someone will get injured because we aren't performing training in new areas, or with new methods, and we will find our volunteer organization and the municipality in litigation. 

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Replies to This Discussion

-Litigation is nothing new in the fire service. Just because we live in such a litigious society is no reason to loose sleep at night.

-Training is something no FD does enough of; period.

-I still agree with the timelessness of Tom Brennen in his emphasizing the basics. If the basics are performed properly the operation can build and develop.

-One of the most glaring reasons for rehab is today's staffing levels which seem to touch everything the fire service does.  We all know what safe staffing levels must be and yet we continue to do more with less, and therein lies the reason for rehab.

-Staffing levels prior to 1985 were three times what they are today in most communities. Furthermore, firefighters are carrying more weight in the form of wearing fully encapsulating bunker gear which is causing core body temperatures to rise. Couple that with increasing the man's work load and it is easy to see why rehab is an important issue so as to avoid cardiac issues.

-The cardiac issues being experienced by firefighters, who are healthier today than ever before, have been demonstrated to be directly linked to low staffing and increased work load. 

-The TIC is a nice tool but just that, one tool in the tool box and not the end all/be all device for firefighting, neither does it replace good solid basic firefighting tactics. It's all about the basics. Does your FD understand and practice good, aggressive ventilation tactics? Can members properly estimate distance and stretch the appropriate length and size line for conditions? Do apparatus operators understand hydraulics calculation? Are ladder operators capable of operating the apparatus quickly, efficiently and safely? Do drivers and officers understand proper apparatus positioning, with ladders in front and engines parked past the building, so that the fire scene doesn't look like the last scene from the Blues Brothers?

-RIT is a vital component on the fire ground today, but as Brennen touched on in Random Thoughts, does the department have the staffing for RIT or are operational firefighters being removed from the mix, hamstringing the firefight even further and, ultimately precipitating the very event RIC exists to intervene on?

-No one trains enough. But when you do train... train on the basics. Train for what you respond to. Practicing high rise firefighting when there aren't high rises in district is silly. Train like you work. Spend most of your time training for what you see most of the time. Basics, basics, basics. Firefighters hate to hear this yet far to many can't perform the basics properly. 

I agree with you Michael and see it too often in my area.

I can never get my department to train, its always truck checks or maintenance issues, which I understand needs to get done but at the cost of NOT having a drill that month always bothers me.  We meet at the firehouse every monday night; the first monday of the month is our meeting, the second is the fire commisioners meeting which takes the chief and squad captain away from drill so we usually do truck checks, then the next few nights are "Drill" nights, yet we always have a piece of equipment that needs fixed or a truck that has issues...Drill always gets pushed aside, and it reflects in the members when we have calls.  One of my first calls with the department that I recently transfered to was an MVA near my house.  Car off the road in a ditch.  I got on scene with only my fire coat and helmet on, assesed the car for any dangers like leaking fluids or fire, popped the hood and took the battery cables off than assesed the patient ( I used to be an EMT a year ago).  She was upset so I stayed with her and talked to her while an off duty nurse and one of our EMT's took care of her.  Our crew arrived and one guy who is a past Captain starts violently attacking the car with a halligan and hydraulic jaws, WITHOUT CRIBBING THE VEHICLE FIRST!!  The mutual aid paramedic pointed it out to me and I realised there was no officer on scene and this guy was just rocking and shaking the car and upsetting the patient.

Its all about the basics, and most of todays firefighter/EMT's are only about the glory of it all, getting the front page picture at the next fire or getting the awards and pats on the backs or promoted to officer quicker than the rest...and the basics are forgotten.

 

When we ever have a big county wide drill with school busses and air planes and trucks full of TNT that drive into schools and the bus full of nuns drives into the propane delivery trucks...Its always about the more ADVANCED techniques and never focuses on the basics.  I am trying now as Captain to deliver a training program that will cover the basics completely and will see how it goes.  Great topic, one we all should discuss deeper.

Stay Safe

Michael Bricault said:

-Litigation is nothing new in the fire service. Just because we live in such a litigious society is no reason to loose sleep at night.

-Training is something no FD does enough of; period.

-I still agree with the timelessness of Tom Brennen in his emphasizing the basics. If the basics are performed properly the operation can build and develop.

-One of the most glaring reasons for rehab is today's staffing levels which seem to touch everything the fire service does.  We all know what safe staffing levels must be and yet we continue to do more with less, and therein lies the reason for rehab.

-Staffing levels prior to 1985 were three times what they are today in most communities. Furthermore, firefighters are carrying more weight in the form of wearing fully encapsulating bunker gear which is causing core body temperatures to rise. Couple that with increasing the man's work load and it is easy to see why rehab is an important issue so as to avoid cardiac issues.

-The cardiac issues being experienced by firefighters, who are healthier today than ever before, have been demonstrated to be directly linked to low staffing and increased work load. 

-The TIC is a nice tool but just that, one tool in the tool box and not the end all/be all device for firefighting, neither does it replace good solid basic firefighting tactics. It's all about the basics. Does your FD understand and practice good, aggressive ventilation tactics? Can members properly estimate distance and stretch the appropriate length and size line for conditions? Do apparatus operators understand hydraulics calculation? Are ladder operators capable of operating the apparatus quickly, efficiently and safely? Do drivers and officers understand proper apparatus positioning, with ladders in front and engines parked past the building, so that the fire scene doesn't look like the last scene from the Blues Brothers?

-RIT is a vital component on the fire ground today, but as Brennen touched on in Random Thoughts, does the department have the staffing for RIT or are operational firefighters being removed from the mix, hamstringing the firefight even further and, ultimately precipitating the very event RIC exists to intervene on?

-No one trains enough. But when you do train... train on the basics. Train for what you respond to. Practicing high rise firefighting when there aren't high rises in district is silly. Train like you work. Spend most of your time training for what you see most of the time. Basics, basics, basics. Firefighters hate to hear this yet far to many can't perform the basics properly. 

It all comes back to whether the firefighter has a mandatory (law) for minimum criteria for continuing education. I will give the example of con ed for EMS.  Most states do not have ANY requirment for firefighter, some do but it is like 24 hours which is 2 hours a month. Either way, it falls onto the local fire chief to determine what amount, what level of service, and how much training is needed to operate safely.  If you are worried about being sued as a fire chief, well you probably should between criminal or civil lawsuits, no matter what level or number of training hours you have, it is possible and "highly likely" that a lawsuit can and may occur at incidents involving serious injury or death.

 

Now if you have absolutely no hours and never train, the percentages are definately higher for a lawsuit.

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