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Lately, my department has been having the problem of firefighters complaining that drills are getting boring and stale. We are a volunteer dept. that trains once a week, and one of our main problems is firefighters getting complacent at drills; which made lead to complacency on the fireground. I also believe that by taking firefighters out of their "normal" element, they will be able to take more knowledge and skills away from a drill.

I was looking for any ideas of fun training evolutions that will force firefighters to be out of thir element. We recently did a follow the hoseline drill through a playground, with obscured vision, to imitate a search/evacuation. The idea also came up of a "capture the flag" of "manhunt" kind of game at night, but using only the TIC.


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Have you done the NFPA 1410 drills? I have had competition between our 3 shifts and our volunteer/paid-on-call staff in seeing who had the best time in the drills. It added a bit of flavor (competition) to the drills while accomplishing water supply and hose advancement drills. Post the times for everyone to see and watch the competitiveness of the firefighters take over. The best part is that the guys got proficient at hitting hydrants and pulling hose lines and had fun doing it!

No we have not, but I will definately look into it.

I like the idea of healthy competition while training. I feel like, like you said, it adds to the proficiency while having fun.

One possible avenue is to get them involved in the training process itself, by having them spot possible incidents and bringing it in for training discussions.

To help in this regard, we introduced a new free mobile tool (Android) for taking pictures of structures in your first due and setting them on fire, to practice communications, command, etc. skills. The tool is free on Android and low-cost on Win/Mac, with iphone/ipad coming soon.  The tool is called SimsUShare Mobile.

You could tell your guys and gals to go out and capture possible situations and then bring them back for discussion and training--of course once you filter all the sims they make of blowing each other up and making smoke and fire come out of various body orifices :-)


I get a lot of notes from training officers who are using the Training Minutes videos and say they are getting amazing responses!



What I have been doing lately is building on basic skills by using scenario based drills. 


Most recently I used a forcible entry prop in conjunction with an entry, hose line advnace and PPV vent scenario.  I had the first 2 crew members force the door and another crew of three advance the hose around the trucks in the bay out the front bay door and knock down a cone with the stream.  In the meantime the forcible entry crew set up and operated the PPV fan.


Another drill included an engine crew stopping at the hydrant laying in 200 feet of 5 inch.  The hydrant man made the connection to the hydrant, one crew member made the connection at the engine.  While the water supply was being established another crew member went up on top by the deck gun and operated the gun while pump operated fed it.  They had to knock down 3 cones and then shut down the gun.  As soon as the supply was established we had the pump operator switch over and fill the tank.  With a 5 person crew we would have the 5th person pull a 200 foot pre-connect to simulate mopping up, once the blitz was done, and the water supply established we had the hydrant man join the hose team and move up to knock down 2 remaining cones. 


To me the scenario based drills tie together all the skills and set in motion in firefighter's minds how all those actions, many going on simultaneously all tie together on the fire ground.

Elliot, have you considered the Fire Engineering Handbook? The handbook has a great additional resource call the Skill Drill book. You can use as a stand alone item or in conjunction with the Handbook's powerpoints and then go out and practice the skills.


Its a great resource for FFI and FFII however it can also be used to enhance those skills amongst current certified firefighters.



I am a big fan of timing drills. Adding the element of timing and certain set objectives allows firefighters to have some friendly competition and learn all at the same time. The important part of that is maintaining the objectives and not allowing individuals to just rush through an evolution.

What I did was assign each member of my crew a  fire realted topic to discuss for a minimum of 30 minutes. I gave the options of classroom, computer assisted, H.O.T. or any combination of those. I also required a basic format to build on of intro, body, conclusion to the speaking.

That way we all get training on research, speaking publicly, hands on instruction, and presentation building. Small steps to build leadership among my crew members. A plus is them picking the topic that they are most passionate about hopefully will make a good presentation. Next month I get to pick the topics...hahaha!

Good luck! 

Some really great ideas can be found in the firefighter training books and DVDs found at

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