Over the last few weeks I have seen on social media and many other outlets a growing frustration for the lack of making training a priority. I share in the frustration of others when it comes to the mindset that may be out there when it comes to this. I have a very experienced Captain who I am grateful to be working alongside. He has close to, if not over 30 years of service. He has said that with the drop in fire duty we have to close that gap. We have to make sure we are always doing something to make sure we are ready. To think we will get everything we need by simply showing up and running calls won’t cut it. We have to make training a priority.
I mentioned the mindset that we have to be in when it come to the value behind the training we should be doing. I can tell you where mine is at as a Company Officer. I take the job of making sure my firefighters are prepared at all times very seriously. It is our duty as company officers to make sure they are always ready and able to perform when the brass hits. I will always rest my head easy at night knowing that I have given my best to make sure that I have increased their chances of survival on the fireground. I do this by providing the best training that I can, and by fostering an environment that welcomes them to start their own training and come up with new ideas that will make us all better. I will never be in a position where I have to look myself in the mirror and say, I should have done more for them. That will not be me and I refuse to let it happen. I refuse to have to explain to a family member that I should have done more if god forbid something tragic were to ever happen.
One thing I grow tired of hearing is people making excuses for not training. Now sometimes this attitude toward training could stem from the type that is being delivered, or how it is being delivered. If you are going to plan training, do it right. Put the time into making sure the information is valuable, applicable, and the learning environment is positive and open for two way conversation. The last thing anyone wants to do is sit there and listen to a condescending instructor. Sometimes we know firefighters will make excuses just because they feel like they don’t need to train whatsoever. Sadly, I have heard several excuses, or justifications in their minds: “I already have my system, I don’t need to learn another”, “I’m not changing what I do and don’t need to learn anything”, “we aren’t ever going to do this anyway”. The list can go on and on. Below is a picture of a few others that some of you may be familiar with.
The question I ask is this, and this is the question you should ask those in your firehouses who marginalize the importance of training. This is the question you should ask of someone who is telling you that you are out there training too much.
What would your family say to these excuses if you were seriously injured or killed on the fireground?
I am quite certain that your wife, husband, sons or daughters would not be ok with these. I know my family wouldn’t be. We are better than that; we are professionals.
As leaders of an organization that don’t support training, would you feel ok with telling your people that they are training too much, and then watch what could have been a successful operation crumble due to lack of training? Or worse maybe the event turns tragic. I would hope that none of us would ever want to be in that spot.
I saw a quote that read “you can’t train too much for a job that can kill you”. That is 100 percent true. You can certainly train too little and we all see it around us. It is time that all of us understand the importance of getting out there and conducting quality training. We can only crawl around in bunkrooms and bays so much before we start to lose people. Keep it interesting. We have no one to blame but ourselves for not taking it as seriously as we should. If you are in that firehouse where you are the minority because you like to get out and train, keep doing it. If all you do is something by yourself every shift, eventually one person will come out and watch, and possibly even jump in there with you. That domino effect will continue and hopefully before you know it, you have half the station out there. Will it be because you shamed them into it? Maybe, but they might pick something up that will increase their chances of survival and keep them going home to their family.
REaL Fire Training LLC