Thread: Training

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    I have a career FADO ( Fire Apparatus Driver Operator ) with 27 years in the department. The problem is , is that his proficiency in performing the Pump Operator skills is lacking considerably. Any suggestions on how to "improve" his skills, without causing him to completely shut down when I approach him about it?

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    Run the entire crew through drills foucused on what you want the do to concentrate on

    Or have the do give classes on what you want to concentrate on

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    Let him know like a man what he needs to work on. If his skills are as bad as you make them sound maybe some time riding tailboard while he brushes up will drive the point home. This isn't how well he cleans toilets; lack of proficiency in this can get someone killed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WSCaptain View Post
    I have a career FADO ( Fire Apparatus Driver Operator ) with 27 years in the department. The problem is , is that his proficiency in performing the Pump Operator skills is lacking considerably. Any suggestions on how to "improve" his skills, without causing him to completely shut down when I approach him about it?
    Has he been properly trained, tested, and promoted to apparatus operator/engineer? Does your department have a rank structure that candidates are tested for?
    This info would be helpful to formulate an answer.
    IAFF

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    Hold him accountable. It's that simple. You're the boss, FIX IT. I have a senior driver, I hold him to the same accountability as the rest of my crew, and we perform well. I tell my crew to know their job, do their job, and we will have no problems.
    Last edited by fyrmnk; 04-10-2012 at 12:50 AM.
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    I agree with the others. You are there to be his boss, not his friend. Man up and lay the cards out for him. Enroll him in a pump class or refresher or whatever you have to do, and advise him that his performance appraisals will reflect accordingly if poor performance continues.
    "Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."

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    Some folks don't react well to criticism. If that describes him (as I think you suggest it might), then a softer touch might be warranted. An assault on someone's pride is never productive.

    As fire5555 suggests, have him run some classes/drills for the rest of the crew (and anyone else you can drag in) - tap his extensive knowledge and experience. Having him focus on what you perceive him to be weak on will force him to bone up on those areas, lest he be embarrased in front of the folks he may wish to impress with his prowess.

    Running full-crew drills which force him to use those rusty skills can also be productive. The focus isn't on him, but he's got to perform in order for the drill to go well. The challenge there can be to keep the rest of the crew engaged through repeated iterations if he stumbles.

    Engage him in the planning for the training, without specifically pointing out that you feel he's weak in certain areas. If he overlooks/brushes by something you can direct him toward improving his knowledge/skill on that topic by ensuring he covers it.

    I've always found that teaching something to others makes me learn and understand the subject far better than I previously had.
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    Quote Originally Posted by tree68 View Post
    Some folks don't react well to criticism. If that describes him (as I think you suggest it might), then a softer touch might be warranted. An assault on someone's pride is never productive.

    As fire5555 suggests, have him run some classes/drills for the rest of the crew (and anyone else you can drag in) - tap his extensive knowledge and experience. Having him focus on what you perceive him to be weak on will force him to bone up on those areas, lest he be embarrased in front of the folks he may wish to impress with his prowess.

    Running full-crew drills which force him to use those rusty skills can also be productive. The focus isn't on him, but he's got to perform in order for the drill to go well. The challenge there can be to keep the rest of the crew engaged through repeated iterations if he stumbles.

    Engage him in the planning for the training, without specifically pointing out that you feel he's weak in certain areas. If he overlooks/brushes by something you can direct him toward improving his knowledge/skill on that topic by ensuring he covers it.

    I've always found that teaching something to others makes me learn and understand the subject far better than I previously had.
    All that is fine and good...after you move him from the driver's seat. That will be the #1 thing that drives home the fact that he has things to work on. Pride hurt or not, this ain't McDonald's.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rescue101 View Post
    I don't mind fire rolling over my head. I just don't like it rolling UNDER my a**.

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    With 27 years in, is this the first time the issue has become apparent? If not, then you have a documentation/discipline issue, not just a tailboard talk issue, as well as he needs to step back from DPO.

    If this is a new instance of not performing or it has gone undocumented before, when you approach him dont explain your concern as "I feel like you need to do better as a DPO", but be clear about what he did wrong on certain calls/training. Then be crystal clear what your expectations are and what the consequences will be if he cannot perform. Give him a day very soon (a couple shifts from now would be appropriate for someone with his experience) and test him on what he is supposed to know. If he cannot perform then pull him off DPO and document why.

    Be sure and follow up with your supervisor to ensure you meet their expectations for this type of problem. Not a "What do I do?", but a "Hey, just to let you know, this is what is going on and this is what I am going to do about it."
    Last edited by Spencer534; 04-10-2012 at 11:51 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GTRider245 View Post
    All that is fine and good...after you move him from the driver's seat. ...
    I think that depends on what skills he's deficient in, too.

    If he's a good and safe driver, and can consistently get water when and where it's needed under routine circumstances, there's no need to pull him out of the seat. Such a conclusion would imply that he sucks when faced with less ordinary situations, or tasks that are certainly part of the pump operators repetoire but aren't often exercised.

    As already noted, is this something that's been going on for a while (how did he become a DPO?), or have his skills simply gotten rusty? Have others noted this issue?

    If he's a danger to his fellow firefighters due to his lackluster skills, by all means, put him back on the "back step" until he shapes up - although I'd bet his skills are rusty there, too.
    Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

    Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

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