One Skill, One Drill, One Hour: The Busted Drill


There are days where nothing seems to go right and this was one of them. The drill had been planned weeks in advance, permission received to use the local high school and lesson plans were written. Then Sunday came and with it was rain. Not just pleasant showers but the type of rain that sends weathermen to their almanacs and preachers to their bible to look for comparisons. It was epic, and your drill was busted.

Still, you have a firehouse full of members looking to you for a drill, and they don't want excuses. The last thing you want to do is waste their time; that would be bad for your image and their morale. Bringing the firefighters out and having nothing for them to do is a good way to lose their respect and any chance of ever getting them out of bed again early on a Sunday morning. Don't even think of popping in a movie. They will know you are just wasting time. You need a drill that can be put together fast, be done indoors and have value. What do you do?


This is where having some reference material comes in handy. The IFSTA book entitled "Essentials of Firefighting", or the Delmar publication "Firefighters Handbook" are both filled with ideas that can be incorporated into a fast and worthwhile drill. The IFSTA book calls them "Skill Sheets" while the Delmar book calls them "Job Performance Requirements." Whatever they are called, they are valuable skills well worth practicing. I'm sure there are other text's out there but these are the best that I have found. (If you have no books, just look around your apparatus for some pieces of equipment that you haven't used in a while.) Pick four or five of them and set them up in the engine room in a circuit and run the firefighters through them in small groups. Make sure each group visits each station, and recruit older members, or those on limited-duty to watch over the station; they will explain what each group is expected to do at that station.

On a recent Sunday I asked the members to do the following:


The beauty of this type of drill is its ease of setting up and its adaptability. You can have four stations or 14. You can modify it to your company to focus on weak areas, or the little used equipment that gathers dust for months on end. Members with special skills or knowledge can be asked to contribute to the drill. It can be done indoors or out. It can be used as an addition to a regular drill to keep busy those members who might otherwise be standing around waiting their turn. It can turn a rainy Sunday morning into a valuable learning experience. Remember how precious drill time is. Don't waste a minute of it.