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Christopher Huston's Blog (29)

Owning Training

Two phrases heard frequently in the Fire Service, "We will never" and "We have always", are ignorant statements and are just not true. In a profession that constantly encounters new situations, why do we speak in absolutes?

In the previous post, I discussed Training Warning Flags. The first posed question was, Does your training staff (Training Officers, Instructors, and Senior Firefighters) feel responsible for the performance of their students?

This is such an…


Added by Christopher Huston on January 29, 2012 at 1:30pm — 5 Comments

Training Warning Flags

Training is an issue in any department. At some levels the firefighters cannot get enough training. Whereas some, well, we know how they act. We tend to decide if a training was successful or not by getting those “other guys” to step up and train with us. Could we be missing something though? Are we capable of detecting Warning Flags in training? Do we always have control over those warnings? Let us look at some self-diagnosis.

  • Does your training staff (Training Officers,…

Added by Christopher Huston on January 22, 2012 at 11:34pm — No Comments

Are you ready for the Mayday?

Most Firefighters understand what a mayday is and are familiar with Rapid Intervention Crews. What you may not know is that the NFPA has a standard for the qualifications and training "to save our own." Over the weekend, I attended a NFPA 1407 implementation course. This 8-hour session concentrated on the standard and ways to integrate it into our training so we meet the standard for RIC. Rather then get into my own thoughts and knowledge of the subject; I would rather publish a simple list…


Added by Christopher Huston on January 22, 2012 at 3:57pm — No Comments

We have a physical job

For this week's blog entry, my goal was to discuss the physical rigors of Firefighting. Looking at my notebook of one liners and random babble, it occurred I already have a well written piece on the subject. A cohort of mine operates a website, actually a movement, called FIRE SERVICE WARRIOR. If you haven't checked out that site you should, then buy his book. {insert plug here} "The Combat Position" Fire Engineering Books {end plug}. So the guys that have taken the reigns have really received… Continue

Added by Christopher Huston on January 17, 2012 at 4:26am — No Comments

Failure equals success

Edison may have quoted "I have not failed 700 times. I have not failed once. I have succeeded in proving that those 700 ways will not work. When I have eliminated the ways that will not work, I will find the way that will work." In our line of work we must succeed the first time and it’s usually “trial by fire”. How we can always be successful is that we learn from both our failures and successes.

Recently my company was dispatched to a chimney fire. It was the typical M.O. We…


Added by Christopher Huston on January 8, 2012 at 10:00am — 1 Comment


Life Safety Initiative #4 “All firefighters must be empowered to stop unsafe practices” could be the single most effective initiative that we can put into place. This initiative is one that firefighters from all levels, backgrounds and types of department can embrace.

The question regarding this statement is “Are they lacking the power to speak up or are they lacking the knowledge of what an unsafe act/practice truly are?

All across the country, we have seen “that guy”… Continue

Added by Christopher Huston on December 26, 2011 at 7:46am — 1 Comment

Firefighter Fundamentals

Within the culture of the American Fire Service, we have sub-cultures. There are those who seek to be professionals in their chosen trade. Then there are individuals who simply seek entitlement. No matter where you align yourself on that scale, this trade has minimum requirements. You must position yourself within the team and carry out the duties you are assigned. Our business has been forged through blood, sweat and tears. Even if you care not for the sense of pride and accomplishment…


Added by Christopher Huston on December 20, 2011 at 9:40am — 2 Comments

Are you a Coach?

Fire service professionals appreciate that our trade is built on teamwork. At the foundation of any successful team is a coach. Depending on your staffing levels your coach in the field may be the Chief all the way down to the Company Officer. The informal leader may even be a Senior Firefighter. No matter what rank or title the individual holds, they must take on the role of Coach when responding. This coach must be able to call the plays in accordance with department standards and what…


Added by Christopher Huston on December 16, 2011 at 11:30pm — 1 Comment

Train Today for Tomorrow

As a Training Officer, with 2012 staring at me, there are decisions that need to be made. Specifically twelve months of training that needs to be prepped, planned and scheduled. A primary step in this process is to decide what training will be correctional and what will be developmental. The old adage of ‘two steps back , one step forward’ applies. Let’s take a look at each.

Correctional training is looking at the behaviors and attitudes of our people rather then skills. Complacency…


Added by Christopher Huston on December 13, 2011 at 1:30pm — No Comments

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