1. #1
    Chris Valcik
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    Default Volunteer FD Training...Getting the guys there...

    We do training every other week. I always incorperate some sort of OSHA training in the things we do. Recently, the active membership seems to be losing interest in attending these sessions. Anyone got some new ideas of something to do that would attract the members and make them want to go to these trainings?

  2. #2
    FSRIZZIO
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    The problem with too much lecture/video type training is that it's BORING. After a while nobody is listening. I realize your frustration, setting up any kind of a regular training schedule with a volunteer dept. is a lot of work. The best thing I have found is to do something practical, fire up the power tools, put them to use on donated cars, structures or build a training structure of a type that simply sets up a pitched roof to practice working from. Get the other members involved in the training schedule, everyone on the dept. is there to help, give them something they can be responsible for. You still must cover the safety issues and standards, but a little activity can keep the
    motivation up. You'd probably be surprised at the kind of leadership that bubbles up. It worked for me.
    Good Luck, Frank

  3. #3
    Lt_John
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    We run a combination department (24 career and 35 volunteer) out of three stations. We have training every week on Monday nights.

    A couple of things we have found:

    - We assigned everyone into training squads under the leadership of an Lt or Capt. This creates some level of accountability.

    - You have to have more activity - not just sitting watching tapes and lectures. I agree with the previous post this is boring. During Spring, Summer and Fall we are outside 100%. You can use NFPA hose evolutions as a great tool - people learn and they have fun. Also do some extrication training and try to get some live fire training in as well.

    - During winter months it is difficult to do outside training. So we mix in guest lecturers (power company, gas company, vendors, etc) and going out to target hazards. It is a great time to visit churches, hospitals, schools and re-familiarize your self with these facilities.

    - Mix up who does the training. All of the officers on the department - career and vol - are expected to teach a minimum of 3 classes a year. This helps ensure that the group does not get bored with the same person or style.

    - Finally we also set a requirement that to stay on the department you must attend a minimum of 50% of all the training sessions.

    I hope this helps. This is a critical issue to your continued success.

  4. #4
    Chris Valcik
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    Thank you FSRIZZIO and LT_JOHN. Your advice will be well taken and used. I offer a large variety of trainings and 80% are hands on interactive sessions. Unfortunately during the winter months, the weather puts a damper on outside drills. That's when I try to squeeze in as much as the OSHA that is "required" so that in the nicer months I can stray off the "required stuff" and go out and "play" with the extrications, live burns, oil pits, tanker fires, etc...

  5. #5
    Scott Clark
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    Chris, Your problem is quite wide spread. The previous responses you received are right on the money. Mixing up Instructors is a great idea and I have great success doing it that way. Just to add to their responses though, if you have a mutual-aid department swap instructors and topics. I have had good success with this also. What I'm in the proccess of doing now is trying to develop a corps. of Instructors that teach different subjects or specialties from several departments. If your interested in this program give me an email and I'll go more indepth for you. Keep going brother and don't give up!

  6. #6
    Sparkill Fire dept
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    Maybe this is inline with what yor need or maybe not. Anyway a while back I was looking for a drill idea. I went downstairs in the fire house in the Meeting hall area (large area under the apparatus bays) I took every folding table we had, opened the legs and placed them on thier sides making a maze of sorts then covered everything with tarps and smoked it up with a machine. Using the walls, corners and the tables we simulated rooms and passage ways.Entry was made at the building exit door and a very realistic search & rescue drill was done. The guys loved it the tarps kept everyone down and we were lucky enough to get good smoke. Setup & take down wasnt bad & the guys practiced folding tarps. My point if you think creativly you will suprise your self on what you come up with.


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    Sparkill FD - JRM31333@aol.com

  7. #7
    Dave Page
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    I hate to echo the others but this is a common problem!! One benefit you should not under estimate is the fact that you are a volunteer dept. I am continually amazed at the depth of experience our dept exhibits ie. electrical, building construction, etc. and I would be surprised if your dept. was much different. Get some of these people involved with delivering some of the training only if on a small level. You may be surprised at what they have to offer as well as the sense of ownership they may develop towards the trng. program....just a thought....

  8. #8
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    Bump!!!!!!!
    NEVER FORGET!
    9/11/01

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Valcik
    We do training every other week. I always incorperate some sort of OSHA training in the things we do. Recently, the active membership seems to be losing interest in attending these sessions. Anyone got some new ideas of something to do that would attract the members and make them want to go to these trainings?
    Try asking those members that seem to be losing interest what they would like to train on. Then have them instruct part or all of the training they have requested. This enabled me to show members that started losing interest, how much work goes into preparing a training evolution. Then after the class I had a heart to heart, asking them to imagine doing all the prep work 2 to 3 times a month. And how disrespectful it is for them to not show up.

    Are the members that are losing interest "senior" members? If they are it's time for a come to jesus talk, remind them that they may find the training boring, but they are needed to help those with less knowledge.
    We're not spliting rocket hairs here people!

    Training is like building a pyramid, if you want it to last, you don't built it pointy side down!

  10. #10
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    Very, Very common problem throughout the Fire and EMS industry. Some very good idea's, thank you. We train once a month and more than half are whining because we are trying to do more than once a month. The older veteran firefighters have to remember what it was like when they were new and interested.
    Do not equate money with success. There are many successful moneymakers who are miserable failures as human beings.
    What counts most about success is how a person achieves it.


    Nordy

  11. #11
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    Thumbs up

    Quote Originally Posted by Nordy1
    We train once a month and more than half are whining because we are trying to do more than once a month.
    I had the same problem when we went from 1 training & 1 maintenance meeting a month. To 1 Fire, 1 EMS & 1 Maint training (we consider Maint just as important as Fire & EMS. Changed the name to Maint Training and changed the format Maint was done in, as a refresher for those old dogs & the new kids where the equipment is on all our rigs. And we all know,the best training you can do is getting the equipment in your hands and operating it). I lost a few of the whiners, but gained more "new" guys that eat it up.
    We're not spliting rocket hairs here people!

    Training is like building a pyramid, if you want it to last, you don't built it pointy side down!

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    People want training, it makes them feel good and confident that they can make a trusted contribution. But, you also have to keep them interested and interesting.

    One thing to look at is to design training "modules". If you want to do a class on ventilation, make it a two part class. They do part one this day and part two another day. This will make them want to come back to the next section and finish it up.

    After each section is finished, give them a certificate to show a qualified completion of that skill. You can pick up a free or cheap certificate software and give your people something to actually hold in their hand and show off to be proud of. Start looking at ways of making them attached to the training.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FDNY101TRUCK
    Bump!!!!!!!
    Nice bump FDNY101TRUCK.

    It's good to see we still are having the same problems that we had years ago. As suggested earlier, get people involved.Have them teach a class for you. Your members will learn more by preparing for a class. The rest of the class will have a new voice to listen to. It's a win - win situation.
    Just someone trying to help! (And by the way....Thanks for YOUR help!)

    Aggressive does not have to equal stupid.

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