New member training
I am the training officer for a small volunteer department (48 members, 15 sq. miles, pop. ~8000). We recently developed a 6 month "academy" for new members who do not have any training. They are assigned a senior firefighter to help them accomplish certain learning objectives throughout this period ranging from equipment familiarization to basic firefighting skills. The members are then required to complete Virginia Firefighter I and Haz-Mat Awareness.
My question is that we are gaining an increasing number of pre-certified firefighters and they are often bored with this process. Many of these firefighters are coming in with substantial training and experience. I am looking for ideas to adapt this training program to fit their needs. Any ideas would be great. Thanks guys.
Why not have the experienced new members serve as mentors to the really new ones?
That way they can use their experience to help the new members and they won't get bored since they will be more involved.
Some individuals are under the impression that once you were trained to a certain level in the fire service, you never needed refresher training. I'm speaking about the individuals that you mentioned that are coming in with "pre-certifications". As mentors, they can both instruct the younger, inexperienced members while at the same time learning a thing or two gaining the knowledge they thought they knew but in reality were a bit out of sync with. As an instructor myself, when I prepare or a class, I review the material to be presented and in all honesty, I learn something new each time a crack a manual or reference book on the topic I am teaching. That not only adds to my benefit but the department as well.
Anytime you have someone that has knowledge to share in the fire service, USE THEM to your advantage. Allow them to share their past experience while adhering to the department SOP's or SOG's.
If they become bored, ask them what they would like to implement in terms of training, department policy, operations, etc. I'm sure there can be some type of compromise made to accommodate their skills and knowledge.
I too am a training officer in a Virginia department similar in size to yours. In our station, all new members are required to complete our in-house "Red Hat Manual" which covers FFI basic skills (ladders, fire hose, ropes/knots, SCBA, etc.) as well as equipment locations on the apparatus. Typically the recruits will work with one or two different duty crews to complete the modules. Once they complete their Red Hat Manual, the recruit is allowed to ride the apparatus on calls.
Those "Red Hats" that do not have Firefighter certs do not ride as minimum staffing and cannot enter an IDLH atmosphere. They typically will stay with the driver unless directed to do otherwise by the Officer. This gets them out on the street and can start getting some street experience that cannot be taught in the Academy.
For those that have a Virginia accepted FF cert, they also must complete the Red Hat Manual. When they are done with the Red Hat Manual, and all of their necessary certs are verified and accepted through VDFP or the ProBoard, they are accepted and now count as minimum staffing.
I hope this provides you with another point of view that is usefull to you.
Originally Posted by xltbob
Would you happen to have a copy of this Manual handy?
I'm trying to get together something like this together for my dept, for new members before they get their FF2 Cert?
I know the last post was a little bit ago, but I also would like a copy of this "Red Hat Manual" if you have it available. Thanks!! (see email below)
On our department all new members are on probation (just like any job) until they complete State Fire Fighter 1. To come off of probation they must pass either the state test or a department test. We have had members join who have passed a State FF1 course previously. We require that they sit through the course taught at our department so they become familiar with how we operate. Many of these members have stated that they learned quite a bit even though they have previously had the course.
Any potential member that really wants to be here will take the opportunity to learn more and refresh their skills. Any potential member who already knows everything is probably not someone you want around.