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    Default How to get the department to train (when the majority dont want to train)

    I'm sorry if this seems long winded, I just thought I'd give some background in the hopes I could get some advice.
    Pretty much what the title says. I've been associated with my department almost my entire life, been active for the last four, and full member since I was 18 (I'm 20 now) I was at the station the other night after a driver operator class a couple guys and I from the department are taking. We got to talking about life, the dept, etc, and the subject of training came up. The two members I was talking with expressed concern with the fact that we don't train (hardly at all) at a department level. Both of these guys are ~1 year members with no experience before they joined.
    We have our monthly meeting and our monthly training. The business meeting usually is just the meeting, and occasionally well start portable equipment or drive the trucks around to warm them up etc. Most of the time, our trainings consist of just that (portable equipment/ trucks) and no actual training. Occasionally, we'll watch a movie on something (ventilation/extricaion etc). Its hardly ever training on anything, and with the number of new members we have, (6 in the last 1-1.5 years, most without any prior experience) I would like to make our training nights actually involve some training. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to present this at a meeting? Or talk to the chief? ( We don't really follow the chain of command when it comes to dealing with issues like this. Were a small rural department. Most of the time it goes right to the chief.) I just think if members are expressing the want to train, and the officers don't see training ON our training nights as a priority, what do I do? Do I get a group of guys together and we train on our own? Or just sit and twiddle our thumbs hoping we never have an incident? Any and all suggestions would be aappreciated.

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    Set goals. Develop objectives. Obtain your national certifications. There's a very good reason that the Feds are looking for "instructor-led, scenario-based, hands-on training, leading to national certification." It's one of the RIGHT moves that FEMA/NFA have mede in recent years....
    "If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking."

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    while national and state certs are grand. Unless the department on a while trains together, its hard to expect they'll function together efficient on the fire ground. Its a team sport, you need to train together. You can have 9 baseball players that all go to these national camps on their own, but that doesn't mean they'll play well during a game.

    maybe try to find an officer or senior firefighter who is interested in leading the training. If he gets it set up and you guys start doing it regularly interest might spread.

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    It really starts at the top, meaning that if the chief and\or officers aren't motivated then no one else will be. Ask them if they will consider more serious training and having training more often. One day a month isn't enough, period.

    It is the responsibility of the individual firefighter to make sure they are properly trained. An untrained responder is a liability and puts himself and others in danger.

    If your chief is unwilling to cooperate then you have no choice but to persue training on your own. Contact other departments, community colleges etc for available training. Then ask if your department will at least pay the costs.

    I often arrive a little early at training nights and just start doing something myself. That way when others show up they are more inclined to pitch in and help than everyone standing around waiting for direction. Grab a ladder and practice deploying on the roof of your department. Grab a blood pressure cuff and take each others blood pressures and vitals. Make a list of all the items on your apparatus but not where they're stored and take turns asking each other where to find them. Drive around your community and locate hydrants, standpipes, FDC's etc. Practice radio communications. Go to larger buildings in your area, pretend it's on fire and do a pretend sizeup and initial response. See if your local ambulance company will help with medical training.

    I could go on but you get the idea.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Blulakr View Post
    It really starts at the top, meaning that if the chief and\or officers aren't motivated then no one else will be. Ask them if they will consider more serious training and having training more often. One day a month isn't enough, period.

    It is the responsibility of the individual firefighter to make sure they are properly trained. An untrained responder is a liability and puts himself and others in danger.

    If your chief is unwilling to cooperate then you have no choice but to persue training on your own. Contact other departments, community colleges etc for available training. Then ask if your department will at least pay the costs.

    I often arrive a little early at training nights and just start doing something myself. That way when others show up they are more inclined to pitch in and help than everyone standing around waiting for direction. Grab a ladder and practice deploying on the roof of your department. Grab a blood pressure cuff and take each others blood pressures and vitals. Make a list of all the items on your apparatus but not where they're stored and take turns asking each other where to find them. Drive around your community and locate hydrants, standpipes, FDC's etc. Practice radio communications. Go to larger buildings in your area, pretend it's on fire and do a pretend sizeup and initial response. See if your local ambulance company will help with medical training.

    I could go on but you get the idea.
    This is where the problems come in. It seems that the chief and officers are some of the ones most unmotivated to train. I find myself down at the station alot by myself, going over the rigs, driving around and pin pointing hydrants. etc etc. Im going to bring it up at our next meeting, that we need to train better, and more than once a month, and if it goes no where after a little while, I will just gather the ones that want to train, and and we will figure something out.

    DFD, Im working on getting as many classes as i can take. I dont think anything I have is of the national certification, but I do my best to go out and gain as much knowledge as I can.

    nameless,
    Quote:
    Its a team sport, you need to train together

    This hits the nail on the head. I fear the day we get a substantial call. I can hope and pray all I want that things will come together and fall in place, but that's no way to handle this. We need to train together, we need to know that we can work as a team and be able to rely on the person with us. And quite frankly there are only a handful of members on my department that I feel comfortable with skills wise.


    I guess how I see it, and I may be wrong, but the complacency on training seems to come from the top. I dont think we have any officers (chief incuded) that are trained beyond the entry level firefighter (pre FFI here in WI) and Entry Level Driver Operator.
    I'm not trying to brag, make myself out to be better than I am etc, because I know DAMN well Ive got a lot to learn yet, but Im FFII certified, working for my EMT-B then EMT-I, and the list goes on and on. I dont foresee me EVER stopping taking classes and learning anything and everything I think i may need or find of value. There's a big fire school held in Monroe, WI every year, (about 1.5 hours from here, and the department pays for the classes you want to take) and its like pulling teeth to get anyone to go. I guess I may be out of line, and this isn't anything I need to get worked up over, but I just feel we have too much room to improve, and we're not going anywhere fast.

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    Chenzo,

    In every revolution there has to be a leader. A catalyst to get the ball rolling. Good luck and let me know if I can help.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    Chenzo,

    In every revolution there has to be a leader. A catalyst to get the ball rolling. Good luck and let me know if I can help.
    I understand. And I would love to lead this, get things changed, get things done, get on track with training, etc etc the list goes on and on, but if I present this, and try to get the ball rolling and fail, what do I do? If the people in charge are happy with the way things are, how do I (and potentially a few more, not a majority by any chance) change things if no one else is on board? Especially the officers. I would love to take the reins and change things, but I dont have the knowledge nor the experience to be chief, hell even be an officer. But I do have the knowledge and experience to know that we are no where near as good as some of the members think we are. I just feel stuck, and that no one will listen to what I say.

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    Given that I'm just a yard-breather, I won't throw any advice in, except that it does start at the top, and if the Chief and officers don't push the issue, you have a tough road to get buy in from most of the other members.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LaFireEducator View Post
    Given that I'm just a yard-breather, I won't throw any advice in, except that it does start at the top, and if the Chief and officers don't push the issue, you have a tough road to get buy in from most of the other members.
    I may regret saying this, but, if you have something CONSTRUCTIVE to add, (other than what you already did, which I agree, it begins at the top), by all means go ahead.

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    You need to make the training interesting and the chief has to support it. Some of the things we have done is through names in a hat. You then draw the names out of the hat and assign them to positions on the trucks. You then simulate a response to a structure fire where you need to flow water, and actually do it. In our case we set up the portable pond, filled it once and did one tanker shuttle.

    When I was frustrated with the level of training I grabbed one of the senior guys and had him show me how to run the pump. We set up the pond and drafted from it (putting the water back as well). Suddenly there was a large group of guys all participating and learning.

    We have at time setup our garage and done primary searches (Take that a certain Chief ). We made teams, set up the maze, covered the face piece and away we went. We used live victims (there is no fire or smoke). So it was always fun to watch the little guys trying to get that 250 pounder out of there. Conversely, the little bastages could fit right between the studs with no problem.

    It just takes initiative and support from the top. And rest assured, you will get the hero wanna be's who will sit back and watch "Because they don't need any training" aka, they think they know-it-all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post

    It just takes initiative and support from the top. And rest assured, you will get the hero wanna be's who will sit back and watch "Because they don't need any training" aka, they think they know-it-all.
    .
    That right there, at least in my eyes, is why we don't train on a department level. There's no initiative from the top, and there's one select officer who has that hero/complex 2/20 mindset. And up until Monday I thought I was the only one concerned, so I was gonna let it slide. But when I have newer guys adress me about it, then I think something needs to happen. I plan on talking to the chief/offiers at our next meeting and if that goes nowhere, I guess those of us that want to train will find a way to do it.

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    The interesting part is you are not alone and the reality is those who seek more training, and are not satisfied, will either stop showing up with any regularity for both training and calls or quit and move on to something more satisfying. I have seen it happen before. I was frustrated in that I would set up training and not enough people to even do a 2 company drill would show up. We have more than enough people at meetings and trainings now to do 2 or 3 company drills. Something like a tanker shuttle with a relay pumping op from the foldatank. Or a simuated fire attack with roof venting and search and rescue. OR even take half the guys down to the tower and do some live burns.

    I believe the first step has to be to present your concerns at a meeting. See what response you get. If you get nothing then I believe that you are left with 2 choices, become just another delusional slug OR do training with others on your own. The only bad part of doing things on your own is I am not sure how the chief will react to you using FD equipment, especially rigs, in something that is not officially sanctioned by him.

    Again, let me know how I can help. Maybe we need to get together with some of the guys and see if they are willing to speak up about their concerns too.
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    If you can't get more of a focus on training from the top, work from the ground up.

    Get 1 officer or senior member to help out and start holding informal training sessions. Get a crew together on a Saturday or whatever day is convenient and spend some time laying out and pulling lines, throwing ladders, setting up portable ponds, SCBA familiarization, Search and Rescue training, or auto extrication drills. Do whatever you can for a couple of hours at a time. Keep it interactive and fun. After a while, others will see what you are doing and want to join in. Eventually the leadership will recognize this and support it.

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    This is an issue that plagues a lot of smaller departments. More so in the 100 percent volunteer organizations. We have all been there and dealt with it.

    In my personal opinion, the first thing you need to bring is up is training more often. Once a month is crazy. That is 12 trainings a year. If we were to go to once a month trainings there is no way we could cover the material needed. Simply not enought time.

    As others have said, start small. Get the basics knocked out and go from there. What kind of outside training classes do you have in your area? Don't be afraid to utilize them.

    I don't know where you are located but most states mandate what is required for firefighter training. Look up your state's firefighter standards for training and base what you do off of that.
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    Start with regulatory requirements. Most states and OSHA require annual training in certain areas. I never want my training program to be designed JUST to meet goverment regs/standards but it is a starting point. Some typically "required" annual training is:

    -Blood borne pathogens
    -Right to know/hazard communications
    -Fit testing (not really training) and SCBA competency
    -Hazmat awareness/operations

    Then start adding topics that are basic bread and butter for your area, for a rural area they might be:

    -Drafting operations
    -tender operations
    -ground ladder review
    -etc......

    Remember keep it interesting and mix in hands on with the lecture/video stuff. Also a good drill does not have to be 3-4 hours, start with some short 60-90 minute sessions and build.

    Is there a process in your state to become certified instructor ? If so consider getting started on that process.

    One last thing I can offer....we have a Training Officer who is responsible for the program but we have a committee of volunteers (we are a combo dept.) who meet monthly to discuss and help plan training sessions. Volunteer to start a training committee and be its first chairman !

    Good Luck

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    Quote Originally Posted by ScareCrow57 View Post
    We have at time setup our garage and done primary searches

    Are you sure that kind of training is safe? Are you sure you can ask a firefighter to do such? Maybe they should be banned from that kind of training.

    I mean, come on, if we train for that, the firefighters might actually do a primary search! On a real fire! LOL

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chenzo View Post
    I'm sorry if this seems long winded, I just thought I'd give some background in the hopes I could get some advice.
    Pretty much what the title says. I've been associated with my department almost my entire life, been active for the last four, and full member since I was 18 (I'm 20 now) I was at the station the other night after a driver operator class a couple guys and I from the department are taking. We got to talking about life, the dept, etc, and the subject of training came up. The two members I was talking with expressed concern with the fact that we don't train (hardly at all) at a department level. Both of these guys are ~1 year members with no experience before they joined.
    We have our monthly meeting and our monthly training. The business meeting usually is just the meeting, and occasionally well start portable equipment or drive the trucks around to warm them up etc. Most of the time, our trainings consist of just that (portable equipment/ trucks) and no actual training. Occasionally, we'll watch a movie on something (ventilation/extricaion etc). Its hardly ever training on anything, and with the number of new members we have, (6 in the last 1-1.5 years, most without any prior experience) I would like to make our training nights actually involve some training. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to present this at a meeting? Or talk to the chief? ( We don't really follow the chain of command when it comes to dealing with issues like this. Were a small rural department. Most of the time it goes right to the chief.) I just think if members are expressing the want to train, and the officers don't see training ON our training nights as a priority, what do I do? Do I get a group of guys together and we train on our own? Or just sit and twiddle our thumbs hoping we never have an incident? Any and all suggestions would be aappreciated.
    Being from Wisconsin, the fire department falls under Comm30, which references and adopts many of the OSHA regs. Under Comm30, every structural firefighter must be trained annually to perform emergency scene operations such as safety & survival, pulling lines, ventilation etc. How is this verified within your department?

    Some other points to consider...Does your department use ISO? How are the minimum training requirements being met? What about MABAS? If you respond outside of your MABAS division, then personnel need to be FFI certified.

    All of the above are just points to bring up during your discussions to get things changed. Build consensus with other members/officers and bring the issue to the attention of the Chief. If your Chief is not convinced about conducting formalized training that has a positive impact then pull out some of the NIOSH LODD reports and read through those reports. Training is almost always referenced as a factor on the incident. If the rank and file personnel are properly motivated to do the training and the training is planned out in advance then the results will speak volumes about your department's ability to handle emergencies.

    It takes a leader who is willing to put together the training plan and conduct the training to make everything come together and have a sense of direction. Who within your organization can fulfill this role? Will your Chief support this individual and provide the necessary tools to get the job done? You can certainly start small and work up as things improve, but you have to start somewhere.

    It does not matter how small or big your department is. When someone calls for help, they expect trained professionals to show up and take care of the problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chenzo View Post
    This is where the problems come in. It seems that the chief and officers are some of the ones most unmotivated to train.
    Then discretely mention that the chief and training coordinator can be held civilly (and in some cases, criminally) liable should a firefighter be injured or killed in the line of duty AND fault can be traced to lack of training. It has already happened.

    We recently mandated that ALL of our members have to be SFFMA Basic certified within 18 months and put in place a training program to accomplish this by the end of the year. Included is a requirement that everyone include a EVO course within a year.

    We also mandate that ALL firefighters attend 16 hours of TEEX-sponsored training per year.

    And yes, we're 100% volunteer. I'd rather have 4 highly-trained individuals than 10 that don't know their @$$ from a hole in the ground.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GTRider245 View Post
    This is an issue that plagues a lot of smaller departments. More so in the 100 percent volunteer organizations. We have all been there and dealt with it.

    In my personal opinion, the first thing you need to bring is up is training more often. Once a month is crazy. That is 12 trainings a year. If we were to go to once a month trainings there is no way we could cover the material needed. Simply not enought time.

    As others have said, start small. Get the basics knocked out and go from there. What kind of outside training classes do you have in your area? Don't be afraid to utilize them.

    I don't know where you are located but most states mandate what is required for firefighter training. Look up your state's firefighter standards for training and base what you do off of that.
    At one time the FD that Chenzo is talking about, and the volly FD I am a member of too, used to meet every week. One meeting night, one maintenance night, 2 training nights. Usually the meeting was followed with a short training. Most guys felt that was too much so we went back to the schedule we have now.

    The State of Wisconsin does have a mandatory level of training and that is Entry Level Firefighter. It is 60 hours and follows the basic elements of FF1. If you desire to continue on to FF1 that is an additional 36 hours. Basic level of training before you are supposed to drive or operate fire apparatus is Entry Level Fire Apparatus Driver Operator which is 30 hours, 15 on driving and 15 on pumping. It is a mixture of classroom and handson.

    There are essentially 2 training tracks in Wisconsin. The Entry Level track which has Entry Level Firefighter, Entry Level Fire Apparatus Driver Operator and Entry Level Officer. The certification track begins with the Entry Level Firefighter and adds the remainder of FF1, FF2, Certified Fire Apparatus Driver Operator, Certified Fire Officer, Fire Inspector, and the various levels of Fire Instructor.

    The Entry level Track meets the minimum State of Wisconsin requirements for firefighter qualifications. It was a compromise necessary to get a good portion of the volunteer fire service in Wisconsin to buy into mandatory fire training requirements.

    I know that the new guys that Chenzo is speaking of have all completed Entry Level Firefighter and are now enrolled in Entry Level Fire Apparatus Driver Operator. Chenzo himself has completed and is certified as a FF2 and is enrolled in the ELFADO course. He is also going to take EMT-B.

    If no one else steps up to assist these guys I will. I am a little leary of what the reaction will be but we really can't afford to lose eager members do to a lack of guidance and training.
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    Sorry Fyred, but are you and Chenzo on the same volly department, or did I read that wrong?

    What I was referring to for time required training was not for getting FF1/FF2 certified, it was for KEEPING the certifcation. The state of Georgia requires 24 hours of material that meets "core" specifications as set forth by the state. This does not include hazmat, driving training and EMS training we provide for the guys on training nights. Obviously things are different here than there, but this is why I said I couldn't see training once a month. No way possible to cover everything WE have to cover in a year.

    Either way Chenzo's situation needs help. Hopefully they can make an agreement to better the department.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GTRider245 View Post
    Sorry Fyred, but are you and Chenzo on the same volly department, or did I read that wrong?

    What I was referring to for time required training was not for getting FF1/FF2 certified, it was for KEEPING the certifcation. The state of Georgia requires 24 hours of material that meets "core" specifications as set forth by the state. This does not include hazmat, driving training and EMS training we provide for the guys on training nights. Obviously things are different here than there, but this is why I said I couldn't see training once a month. No way possible to cover everything WE have to cover in a year.

    Either way Chenzo's situation needs help. Hopefully they can make an agreement to better the department.
    Yeah GT, were on the same department.
    I guess I need to make up a list of my concerns and present it at a meeting. And find out what the require amount of time per year or month is in Wisconsin. Unfortunately I don't know that I will make it to a meeting before at LEAST March, because of the driver/operator class I'm in. Everyone has offered good suggestions, and I think if I gather it all together, and gather my thoughts, and at least present a decent case the the chief and officers. If they don't feel like changing the way things are ill take it into my own hands and get the guys together who want to train, and go from there on our own.

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    Can anyone tell me where I can find the minimum training standards for the state of WI? I guess what your supposed to have per year or whatever. I know that in order to operate on a volunteer/poc department you have to have the entry level firefighter class, but is there a minimum number of training hours per year you need to have? Thanks again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chenzo View Post
    Can anyone tell me where I can find the minimum training standards for the state of WI? I guess what your supposed to have per year or whatever. I know that in order to operate on a volunteer/poc department you have to have the entry level firefighter class, but is there a minimum number of training hours per year you need to have? Thanks again.
    I looked for a while myself last night, and all I could come up with was the state firefighters association, no state organization in charge of standards and training. Maybe Fyred can shed some light on the subject.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chenzo View Post
    Can anyone tell me where I can find the minimum training standards for the state of WI? I guess what your supposed to have per year or whatever. I know that in order to operate on a volunteer/poc department you have to have the entry level firefighter class, but is there a minimum number of training hours per year you need to have? Thanks again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chenzo View Post
    Can anyone tell me where I can find the minimum training standards for the state of WI? I guess what your supposed to have per year or whatever. I know that in order to operate on a volunteer/poc department you have to have the entry level firefighter class, but is there a minimum number of training hours per year you need to have? Thanks again.
    Go to the Department of Commerce website and look up Comm 30, Fire Department Safety & Health. The minimum training standards are listed under 30.07, Training & Education. The does not reference any set number of minimum hours. It used to state twenty fours each year per member. Comm 30 also references NFPA 1001, the standard for firefighter qualifications.

    If you are looking for more detailed specific information on how to set up your program, identify instructors, etc. send me a PM. I will gladly help you out.

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