Training is Not Optional

The level of dumb ass in society today is a source of constant amazement to me. Each and every day a new story appears on the television news or in my local paper.


The level of dumb ass in society today is a source of constant amazement to me. Each and every day a new story appears on the television news or in my local paper. Each of these gives me pause to ponder the mental capacity of some people in our society. It seems to be at a low point in the ebb and flow of history.

Just the other evening on the Tonight Show, Jay Leno shared another one of his "stupid criminal" stories with America. It seems that a certain individual was arrested by his local police department and charged with possession of a small pistol. Of course the man denied any knowledge of said weapon. Unfortunately for him, his undoing proved to be the fact that he just happened to have a tattoo on his leg of that particular weapon, as well as the serial number.

Boy was that dumb. Let me give you another example of the dumb ass. I am making reference to those legions of fire departments which fail to train their people to do the job they are sworn to do. There was even a fire chief at a seminar in Pennsylvania not too long ago who spoke up at a seminar and said that he did not want too much training imposed on his department.

His reason for this statement stopped everyone in their tracks. That person said he did not want his people to know more than he did. If you don't believe me on this one, ask Ron Siarnicki of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. He recently shared that story with a number of us at a seminar here in New Jersey.

I can hear the moaning now. The "we've never done it that way warriors" will be leading the cheers. Harry is on a training tear again. Yep, you are right. Let me suggest a few versions of the moans we all might hear:

  • Who in the heck are you to tell me anything?
  • Get off our case Harry, we train.
  • If you don't believe me Harry, just check my records.
  • We don't need to train Harry, we go to a lot of fires.
  • We don't need no stinking training. (Ala Treasure of the Sierra Madre-1948 or Blazing Saddles-1974)

There are other people who play a part in my life for whom fire service training is also a passion. My friends up at the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy in Massachusetts stand representative of the best in fire service training. They recently sent me an email version of a really neat article from the Boston Herald that speaks volumes about the bad things that can happen when you fail to train your troops. They asked me to share it with you. This is a good example of what can happen when people do not take training seriously.

It seems that there was a serious incident involving a private sector construction worker in a local Massachusetts community. The individual in that instance was attempting to disassemble a crane for movement to a job site. According to the Boston Herald article, "a