Training Tip: The Sunday Paper
Lt. Brad French
Sundays in the firehouse at my department are the best days of the week: Sunday brunch, football, and some down time from the hustle and bustle of all the other “business” days. However, remember that to truly be effective as a company, every day (even Sunday) should be a training day. At least for a little bit…
One of the most simple and cost-effective training aids for a company-level drill on a Sunday morning is the local newspaper. Beyond headlines and sports scores, the company officer should focus in on one particular area: the real estate section. Most Sunday newspapers, either for your own city/town or for the nearest major metropolitan area, have a real estate section filled with property transaction records, street names, pictures of houses, interior layout diagrams, apartment building descriptions, and other items of interest that can be turned into a simple but effective company-level review. And the best part is, these are REAL houses in YOUR first-due jurisdiction. These aren’t theoretical houses and potential interior layouts that a training officer dreams up to practice “reading” a building. By using the local real estate section, you can provide your firefighters with realistic scenarios that you could literally respond to that same day. Here are some quick tips for using the Sunday paper:
So take your next Sunday morning coffee table discussion and toss in some realistic scenarios for actual houses that really exist in your own first-due jurisdiction. Drawing pictures on the white board or using fire photos from a trade magazine is ok, but nothing matches the direct impact of looking at your own buildings that you could respond to on today’s shift. Keep the training coming hard, and stop at nothing to make your engine company the best it can be.
Brad French is a Lieutenant with the Dayton (OH) Fire Department, assigned to a downtown engine company. He is a 15-year member of the fire service and holds degrees in Fire Science and Fire Administration. He is a lead instructor at the Dayton Fire Department Training Center and Sinclair Community College, and also serves as an instructor in the ISFSI "Principles of Modern Fire Attack" program. Contact Brad at firstname.lastname@example.org.