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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, Instructors, and Senior Firefighters) feel responsible for the performance of their students?
  • Does the administration empower the students to take ownership of their training?
  • Does your program allow for student feedback?
  • Do you have weaknesses with the conduct of training?
  • Are your trainers reinforcing department standards and expectations?


Some solutions:

  • Send your Instructors to non-fire service instructional method courses. New techniques and training standards will improve classroom presentations.
  • Allow for student involvement in the training development process.
  • Allow feedback and allow them to have input on what they want to learn. After all, they are the ones out doing.
  • Outline student expectations at the beginning of class.
  • Be consistent. Use a standard process for all training sessions. Use a PowerPoint every time to outline expectations and pre-evolution briefs, even when you are performing hands on skills.
  • Involve those students that excel in areas to help those who struggle. Being a part of the Instructors group goes a long way.


Over the past 2 years, I have been working on “restructuring” our training organization. Some lessons were learned the hard way while others hard taught. Use what is best for your organization but never settle for "good enough." Students, especially Fire students know when you are slacking. Set a good example and empower the people in your organization to be their best.


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