Free Training, Valuable Lessons Come From Debriefings

How often do you spend some time talking about training evolutions and calls at their conclusion? Sometimes it's as simple as a tailboard talk or just sitting in rehab talking afterwards. This can be productive, but do people get as much out of these...


I like to use the following agenda as a guide. This same one can be found in many of our trade magizines.

  • Good observations: What was done right that can be done again in the same situation? This will set a positive tone for the session.
  • Operational issues: This is the area that will take up most of your time as firefighters tend to lump all problems into operational issues. Examples of items for discussion here are, apparatus placement, resource management, timeliness, and command issues. There are many other items that can go in this area as well.
  • Safety issues: What problems with safety can be identified? What risk was taken that may need reevaluation?
  • Additional discussion: After all these areas have been discussed members may have thought of additional information to discuss.
  • Wrap it up: Review the good points and the areas of consensus for needed improvement. Last review the department SOP/SOG for that particular incident.

Remember this type of discussion can be a cheap, valuable tool to teach, train and change behavior. It will give all members an opportunity to be heard and give input. It will build trust at the company level and fosters an environment of communication. Use this for response and for training as often as possible you will see improvement and even a positive impact on morale.