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Hello? Is anyone listening?

I have been worrying a bit lately. About training. I know, I know, thats all the training officer EVER worries about!

But follow me on this one guys. Are we really keeping up with the times? When we teach building construction at our recruit academies, are we still talking about balloon construction and bowstring trusses? Lathe and plaster? Or are we teaching about the current building methods and practices?

A mix of both would be best, but for most of the instructors out there today, most of their experience is with the older types of construction. Most of the newer buildings have not had an issue yet, so the experience isn't there. Are we as instructors pushing ourselves to get out of our comfort zones and seek out new information or are we regurgitating the same material year after year?

Have we polished our presentations, and added our little funny clips from youtube, until we feel it is as good as it can be?

Or are you looking for new material to present, reading articles in Fire Engineering, Firehouse, the many excellent blogs?

I know I am FAR from knowing it all, and I try to do all of the above. I have been VERY blessed to have a great resource in a little group of folks known as the IACOJ. I have learned as much if not more from these Jakes online just gathered around our cyber kitchen table, as I have learned at any class.

I hope to continue to learn until I am utterly spent in this life. Right up to the last I hope to be able to teach others what I have learned. My goal is to be an empty vessel when my time here is done. I hope that I will have taught everything I know to someone coming up in the fire service, that the knowledge I gained will not be lost to the community.

I am no giant of the fire service, just one man trying to do the best I can with the gifts I have been given.

Are you doing your best as an Instructor to be your Brothers keeper? Are you always trying to improve your knowledge so that you can teach someone else? Knowledge that you gain, but then keep to yourself is useless in many ways. It is also the most selfish thing you can do.

We have a higher duty as fire service educators folks. We may not be in charge when the bell rings, but the lessons we teach, and the example we set, sets the stage for the success or failure of our students on the fireground.

We set the tone, with our behavior when it comes to learning. If our students see that we are students like they are, and always trying to improve, it should register that they need to do the same.

I hope that my rambling, barely coherent rant strikes a chord for at least one of you. I hope that we will become better instructors and mentors. Future fireground results will be the judge of how well we did our jobs..................

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Comment by Wayne Zeman on April 4, 2013 at 12:56pm

Thank you for featuring my blog post! I am honored that my middle of the night ramblings were recognized by you.

I really hope to be at FDIC Thursday, I will have the time off work, but I have to squeeze the pennies together to make it happen! My department is far from flush with cash to send me, so I will do it on my dime like always. I look forward to hearing your presentation and am looking forward to talking with you!
Comment by Wayne Zeman on April 4, 2013 at 12:52pm
Dave, thanks for the feedback. Our responsibilities as instructors goes beyond the classroom......
Comment by Bobby Halton on April 4, 2013 at 12:07pm

Wayne, I think you have an excellent point that it is important that we continue as instructors to strive to understand where our current tactics policies and procedures came from as well as integrate them with all of the changes that each generation has to face. It can be a daunting task to keep up with all of the building construction, fire behavior, fuel loading information that is out there but as long as someone keeps honestly striving they will always be a good instructor. I am speaking about the importance of instructors to the institution of the fire service on Thursday at FDIC at the main program, if you can make it I would surely appreciate any feedback. Thank you again for a great blog! Bobby

Comment by Dave Werner on April 4, 2013 at 8:57am

Amen!!! We have a huge responsibility as instructors to set the tone for all of our students. Whether we realize it or not our students look up to us and typically seek to emulate our actions and behaviors. Like you said, if we broadcast a habit of constantly seeking out knowledge and improving ourselves the students will notice. Not only will it hit home with them, but ideally it will be infectious in their own departments. The instructor side of the fire service is no place for old fashioned tactics and mindsets. Not to say we shouldn't be teaching them the history and time honored traditions of our trade, but as you said we need to be keep our students on the cutting edge of the fire service. It is the least we can do for them. Thanks for what you are doing, keep up the good work!

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