Training is not just for the drill ground or the classroom. We need to look for learning moments and practice opportunities whenever we can.
We recently responded to a fast-food joint for a fire in the kitchen. I was on overtime and we were on the engine that was second in. The first in company used a Type-K extinguisher to put out the small grease fire on the grill.
The first due captain indicated that the fire was small enough that the suppression system above the grill did not activate and it did not appear that there was any extension above the grill.
But, for obvious reasons we needed to get a look at the roof to ensure we didn't have any problems up there.
This is a small buidling with a flat roof and a parapet wall all the way around the roof line. I radioed to the interior officer that our unit would check the roof.
I told my operator to drop the ladder rack so we could get to our ladders. He immediately told me there was an access ladder on the back side of the building. Hmmmm.......I just told to go ahead and drop the ladder rack.
We had time, there was a very high likelihood that there was nothing shaking out on the roof. I knew that there was an access ladder on the rear of the building, I saw when we pulled in. But, I wanted to use our 35 foot extension ladder; it had been a while since I had used it, especially since that was not my normal apparatus.
It was a great opportunity to raise a 35 foot ground ladder and to use our roof ladder to get over the parapet wall, something none of us had done in a while.
Did it take a little more time? Yes. Was there some re-remembering a few things about our ladder rack? Yes. Was it good practice at a building with a situation we may not see again for a while? Absolutely!
The point is this; take advantage of the opportunities when they come around. Don't always take the easy way when you can practice a skill or technique that might take a little time. It could be argued that a little time at these moments may buy you time at the next call.
Identify and utilie these moments. Our crew discussed why I had them do what we did. They were cool with it and it provided some great discussion the rest of the morning.
Train hard and always lookf or those little moments and opportunities to train. They might not be on the training ground.