My department consists of approx 36 paid on call volunteers and 2 full time positions (Chief & a firefighter/fire inspector).
Due to the ever changing crazy economy, we have people that have had to take afternoon jobs which makes them not able to attend mandatory Tuesday night trainings unless they take off of work.
We have tried to video tape what we do and then they watch that the next day during the day. This hasn't work for multiple reasons some which are you get no hands on with the training exercise or other firefighters.
We have discussed doing a 6 hr Saturday training but this brings up the issue of the person(s) doing the training on the regular Tuesday night would also have to repeat it on Saturday. Not only does this take up their time from their family, we also have the issue of for example if we cut up a couple cars on Tuesday, we now need one or two more on Saturday. The other big issue is that you don't develop familiarity with each other on the department by all working together as team.
I am assuming other departments have had this issue and am looking for ideas on what you did to solve the problem. We don't want to lose people because of this as it is hard enough to retain people nowadays.
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05-16-2012, 02:26 PM #1
- Join Date
- Jan 2011
05-16-2012, 03:54 PM #2
- Join Date
- Dec 2001
- Lusby, MD
In general we have found that we needed to move away from a set time and day for training. We have too many people that work shift work, or evening schedules to have drills only on Thursday evenings. We also count on those shift workers for daytime response, so they need the training. We try to mix up the times and days so that most people can attend. We also encourage all officers to conduct a small drill at any time. It may be as simple as pulling hoses, search and rescue, stabilizing a vehicle or practicing splinting or patient packaging.
In the case of cutting vehicles, we will try not to completely destroy the vehicle the first time so that we can get a couple of training evolutions out of it.
05-16-2012, 05:15 PM #3
- Join Date
- Apr 2004
- Bossier Parrish, Louisiana
My previous VFD did the same thing, though it was on a different day as it was done with 2 neighboring departments as a combined training. The responsibility for the class each week was rotated between the departments.Train to fight the fires you fight.
05-17-2012, 05:14 PM #4
- Join Date
- Nov 2002
Maybe you could partner with surrounding depts. to offer the saturday training sessions on a round robin type schedule. That way if they have people that can't make their training, they'd have a chance to get it elsewhere. You'd have more people participating, so your instructors could rotate, say once every three or four months. You'd have to get an agreement on what is to be taught, by whom, training outlines and scheduling. But I think it could be done. We do mutual aid for fires, why not training?
05-19-2012, 07:03 PM #5
Always train as if your life depends on it, and IT DOES!!!Stay Safe and Well Out There....
Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers
05-20-2012, 10:41 AM #6
I have always hated the idea of "mandatory" training in the volunteer world. I have said it before and I will say it again (and I am considering having in inscribed in my headstone) "The VFD may mandate activities when the VFD pays my mortgage. I will make what I can, when I can and my family will not suffer for it."
Now, that being said we do have requirements for attendance at trainings: must make "X" amount of drills per year and you are encouraged to make at least one burn, ladder, FAST and one extrication drill (usually offered quarterly) per year. Weekly drills are Monday nights, Wednesday days, and Saturday or Sunday if enough guys need/want to attend. We dont mandate anything except in the case of new equipment that needs to be gone over- then we strongly encourage attendance at one or more sessions. If you dont make the points, your gear is pulled. Is that mandatory?? I guess in a way it is- but you cannot tell your people who are trying to put food on the table that they MUST attend something, especially if you are only offering it one time.
Now the guys who will cry "you knew when you signed up........" will inject their opinion here. They will state "come out or dont come at all." Ok, thats fine and dandy- but to them I challenge which would they rather have: No one to come at all and they get to sit on the ramp without a full crew and watch the mutual aid engine go past because they couldnt respond- or would they have guys come out because they are given reasonable opportunity to attend drills and train?
Note: for me, as a former career FF, this is a double-edged sword as I damn well know the importance of proficiency and training, but in the career world, you get a paycheck to attend training. In the volunteer world, I also understand maintaining proficiency, but I also know to balance that with my family obligation."Loyalty Above all Else. Except Honor."
05-20-2012, 10:52 AM #7
05-20-2012, 05:18 PM #8
05-22-2012, 10:18 AM #9
- Join Date
- Jan 2011
Mandatory training to me means you have to make our percentage requirements. If I am not mistaking, we also have to do X amount of training per year to keep our state certification. I understand the family & other full time job situations but when do you draw the line? It is a huge grey area and one that we are facing hence this topic as we are trying to think of different ways to help those in different situations out. I have a wife and two kids, plus work 50 hours/week. I also am the department secretary which is in charge of payroll, fire reporting, bookkeeping, correspondence, etc... so I am fully aware of the juggle. Also, all of our training is paid by the hour.
Thanks for all the responses thus far. Please refrain from any arguing (none yet) as I am asking for ideas on what your department does.
05-22-2012, 12:42 PM #10
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