Simple and Inexpensive Hands-on Training Drills

Take a few minutes to look around your station and you can find materials for props from ice rescue to water supply to self-survival. Michael Daley offers a number of ideas that can be the basis for your next drill.

Water/ice rescue: We are at the mercy of Mother Nature for proper weather conditions at the training site. Instead, our department took the advice from a fellow rescue instructor and constructed our own floating ice prop. The prop is a two-section raft assembly, connected by two hard links that provide flexibility and movement between both sections. A large hole is cut and reinforced from the underside, simulating a hole within the ice (See Photo 9). The prop is floated into position and members have to make their way out to the “ice” to retrieve the victim. 


Difficult economic times can result in limitations in department operations, and training is usually the first division to see budget cuts. That being said, it is still possible to create quality hands-on skill sessions that can benefit the members of your department with limited resources. The above are a few examples that can be developed with little to no monetary investments. A little creativity and imagination can go a long way towards a successful training program, and your department will reap the benefits time after time.

Until next time, stay focused and stay safe. 

MICHAEL P. DALEY is a lieutenant and training officer with the Monroe Township, NJ, Fire District No. 3, and is an instructor with the Middlesex County Fire Academy, where he is responsible for rescue training curriculum development. Mike has an extensive background in fire service operations and holds degrees in business management and public safety administration. He was named a Master Fire Instructor from the International Society of Fire Service Instructors. Mike serves as a rescue officer with the New Jersey Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 1 and is a managing member for Fire Service Performance Concepts, a consultant group that provides assistance and support to fire departments with their training programs and course development. You can reach Michael by e-mail