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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 is the biggest factor. Everyday task become so overlooked that bad habits can form. For example, this is the Firefighter that only gives a certain percentage during training evolutions claiming to “give it all in the real thing”. This individual may be able to perform properly on the fire ground, but without training to maximum output, how can maximum fire ground out put be given? We have heard it all the time, “how you do it in training, is how you will do it in the real world”. Make sure training is realistic and to the tempo of the students. Most correctional training will be to revert back to the basics.

Developmental training is learning new skills. In every training session there is an opportunity to learn new skills. Consequentially this could even lend a hand to corrective action training. This type of training must also be based on the audience. A mixed group of skill level is best. The less experienced will benefit from the real world application from the senior performer. However, a watchful Instructor must keep the balance between tradition, progression, attitude and learning.

The following methods ensure corrective and developmental training is successful each calendar month.

Job Performance Requirements: The JPR is not a new measurement of skill, we simply added a twist. Our JPR is a single task i.e. inspects and dons an SCBA and is allowed to be practiced by personnel. Once they feel confident, the member will be challenged to successfully perform the task in front of a proctor. Any mistakes or issues will be discussed and relayed to Training. The Firefighter gets hands on practice while giving the Training Division an opportunity to review the program and its progress.

Task Performance Evaluations: Our TPE is the only pass/fail evaluation. This will be administered to any personnel that the administration feels needs remedial training. The TPE is based only on NFPA 1001 skills. To make this short, if the Firefighter cannot perform the 10 basic functions of their role within the department, action will be taken.

Company Drills: This is the level where new skills are taught. This informal setting allows for failure till success. Most of these sessions are peer taught. The younger Firefighters are allowed to bring training ideas to the table and work them out as a group. This creates ownership and allows for self development. All sessions are documented and reviewed to ensure department standards are met. Most of what we do as companies are from videos, websites and non-department sponsored hands on training.

Department wide training: The information in the departmental training is both corrective and developmental. These sessions are required and must be made up if absent. Typically this is the time where department SOP/SOG regarding operations are rolled out. Most commonly the topics are: new tools/equipment, apparatus, response, safety, tactics and strategy.

Take some of these methods and apply them in your own way. Firefighters are adaptive and creatures of habit. New skills can be taught and some old habits should be broken. Identify the needs of your members and use that to your advantage when they re-learn what they have already learned.

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