1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Question need some new ideas to keep members motivated

    Looking for some good training ideas for a rescue squad. We are a fairly new organization and have not had such good leadership in the training dept. Need some good ideas to get our members motivated to train.

  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Hey Lt,
    One simple thing I've found that has helped the "motivation" to train is American Heat video tapes. There are innumerable incidents covered... I try to pick ones that weren't/didn't go the way they were hoping .... By no means am I saying that to be critical, although "catching" any "miscues" at least shows our guys are thinking about the incident. I think the idea is to show that sometimes, in spite of the best plans, things are going to go "south" and you never know what you may be faced with. Better to be prepared (ie, well-trained) for any number of scenarios.

  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    Hey Lt.
    Its the hardest thing in the world to motivate guys to train Iam assigned to a doentown company and the biggest complaint I hear is, were to busy to train all the time and no body else trains why do we.I have found that a mixture of class and hands on works great , as well as doing classes that will assist members of your crew on future promationally exams. The true key is be consist. You cant train one day then take 2-weeks off . Keep it interesting.If you think your training department is bad you should see Atlanta's !!!!

    Good luck and if I can be of any assistance let me know.

  4. #4
    S. Cook
    Firehouse.com Guest



    Quality instruction. If you have to, bring someone like Ron Moore in to get you started.

    Keep them busy as much as possible.

    Problem solving using real scenarios you develop from training tapes like American Heat.

  5. #5
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Hey Lt. I was just looking and these past post to see if you recieved any good ideas, I see that they were pretty limited.Hopefully some one else is just holding back and will share there secrets.
    Lt.Todd Edwards / AFD


  6. #6
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Lt.-Our dept. has just started a new program where each Lt. has a Sgt. and about 8 FF's assigned to them. Each Company (A, B, C, D ) has been scheduled a rotation of the apparatus to start with and go over all the equip. and the operation of such. We eventually will move on to other types of training. This is excellent as it builds teamwork, pride, and promotes fun too!! It also allows us a little friendly competition between companies. It seems to be working good so far and the guys and gals like it too!! Hope this helps-if you want a sample of our Company training book feel free to e-mail me and we'll work something out

  7. #7
    Firehouse.com Guest


    The competition idea is a good one which my FD has used with some success. Start with some competition within your own FD - set-up a couple of teams and have a timed and judged competition utilizing basic rescue skills. This may expand to a friendly competition between neighboring squads.
    Our County used to have a Firemans Field Day with competition events such as bucket brigades, etc. We plan to begin the Field Day again this year with the focus on more realistic events such as vehicle extrication, fire attack, search & rescue, etc.

  8. #8
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Hands on is probably the best bet. Some things you just need to do in a classroom, but try to split the time with hands on to keep them interested.

    One thing I do is get everyone involved in giving training. You will find many people in your department who have an expertise in some form of firefighting or rescue skills. If you work with these people and involve them in presenting the skills or at least assisting you as the training officer, others tend to participate. It also goes a long way to promote moral amongst the troops.

    An example, I have a member who works for the local fire equipment builder. He has indepth training on pumps and thermal imaging cameras, all paid for by his employer. He likes to put on our pump operators and TIC training. Another is a paid F/F and Army Reserve Surgical Nurse, and helps with our rescue and EMS training.

    So my suggestion on keeping them involved, GET THEM INVOLVED.

    Be Safe,

  9. #9
    Truck 57W
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Alot of guys seem to get more interested if your reverse the roles during training. When performing a hands on evolution, let the younger guys assume the command/officer positions and switch the officers to the firefighters positions. This lets the firefighters learn how to deal with different incidents and also learn how and why command decisions are made. It also gives them a greater appreciation for what it takes to ride the seat.

  10. #10
    Glenn Jansen
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Get everyone involed. This means every officer shoudl do at least one training per year. Your seasoned members should pick a topic they are good at and teach it. It does a couple things. It gets guys thinking and lets them share what they do well with other who dont understand wh these guys are good. Experience goes a long way and done right can make the whole department more effective.

  11. #11
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    It has been my experience that FF are action orientated people. Hands on seem to be the best approach. If you go to www.mfri.com there is a Drill of the month that can be printed and offers some great ideas. As others have stated, using junior firefighters in the command position can be fun and a learning tool. Our dept suffers from the ones who are highly trained to those who are new with not alot of in betwee FF. I have had the problem of training being either to in-depth for the newer FF or to simple for those who have been on the block for awhile. It can be fustrating keeping all interested. I have found also that being a good Chief is using the great resources within your dept. Assigning a training topic to someone with a skill works great. This also helps those appreciate the FF presenting the class seeing they all get a turn in the spotlight. Good luck and remember that " HE WHO DARE TEACH MUST NEVER CEASE TO LEARN "

  12. #12
    Firehouse.com Guest


    The URL in the previous post should read www.mfri.org (note the .ORG). This is the home page of the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute. Thanks to smokedyvr for the pointer.

  13. #13
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    Thanks for the correction. Thats what happens when you don't know enough to go to bed and stay up till wee in the a.m.

  14. #14
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Take a hint from the book "Passion for excellence"... Try something like San Walton did.... He promissed his workers that if they gave his a profit margin he was looking for he would do the hola at times square on new years day. Give them somethig to work for.... Make it something that will perk their interest... Dont forget to give them the chance to lead training also.

  15. #15
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I assume that you are talking about vollies. You dont shouldn't have to motivate paid crews, thats what they are paid for.
    I am a vollie myself and am incharge of my stations training and drills, as well as helping at other stations. The one thing that I've found is that if you have to go out of your way to motivate people you should just get rid of them. Some things are great to do as a hobby with the "I'll do it while it interests me" attitude...firefighting isn't one of them. People need dedication to do this, peoples live depend on it. The people that I had to remotivate all the time were usually the ones hanging back at fires. I (my department) has no use for that.


  16. #16
    Firehouse.com Guest


    In response to shenry32; you still need to motivate career firefighters. Yes, they are paid to be there, but if you don't make training interesting, practical, and worthwhile to the firefighter, they aren't going to get much out of it. It has nothing to do with a paycheck, and everything to do with human nature. (I am with a combination career/volunteer fire department).

    In any event, back to the subject - we have had the most success with drills that have a short classroom, followed by a more involved hands on session. You need to keep everyone working, reduce the "downtime" waiting to do the evolution, and keep it simple (KISS), meaning don't try to do too much or too many evolutions in one session. You end up rushing everyone through, and while they did attend the drill (read: get credit for it), many or most are no where near competant at the tasks. There will always be a certain element who doesn't take firefighting (or resce) seriously, but again we're talking human nature.

    Back to being competant - we have several compentancy-based evolutions (we are working on new ones all the time) which firefighters must complete to actively participate in certain functions. These are all based on the Essentials of Firefighting or other IFSTA manuals, and have a checklist for the evaluator to follow. Each firefighter gets a copy of the checklist, so they know what is expected. Some competancies have just practical stations, others also have written tests or require a state-certified course in addition to the department requirements.

    For example, anyone who wants to operate as an interior firefighter must pass an annual SCBA competancy. This includes 5 stations; a fit test to insure they can get an adequate facepiece seal, a donning exercise which requires getting the SCBA on correctly with all of your PPE within 90 seconds, a doffing exercise to insure they know how to put the unit back in service and store it correctly, a maze exercise with obsured vision to insure they can operate in the apparatus safely, and an emergency breathing exercise (also with obscured vsion) where one firefighter declares an air emergency and must conect their SCBA to their partners without breaking their facepiece seal. Some other competancies which are more involved include trench rescue, elevator rescue, confined space, and vehicle extrication. Some of the more involved competancies also come with a perk. For example, upon completion of the trench rescue competancy, you are issued a Bullard Advent rescue helmet, so you don't have to wear your big structural helmet at rescue calls. After completing vehicle rescue, you get a pair of kevlar rescue gloves.

    This has helped keep the majority of our members interested and motivated. We train the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Monday of each month, plus have a bunch of extra-credit drills on weekends during the year. We encourage members to attend outside training, by keeping a bulletin board full of local, regional, and national level courses, and the department will often pay the entire bill for extra training (subject to the approval of the board of directors and/or fire chief). All members must maintain a minimum nuber of drills (and calls) to remain in good standing, and if they don't, they can be dismissed. Hope all this gives you some ideas. Have fun at it and stay safe!

    R.A. Ricciuti, Firefighter
    Mt. Lebanon Fire Department

  17. #17
    Firehouse.com Guest


    I've found that when you train with other neighboring companies, you can get many ideas off of them. You also at the same time can see what works and what doesn't work. Give it a shot plus it can build a stronger bond between companies.

  18. #18
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Trust me. I started as a vollie, now I'm career. It's hard to keep both motivated. "Well it's volunteer!" was always a common phrase. Believe it or not, as far as the VFD was concerned, the easiest approach to getting crews interested in training was to be interested. When I was a VFD officer, I was always actively training. And the firefighters respected that. If you have respect, people want to "be like you". Set the example, make your fellow officers follow your lead.

    Since I'm at the bottom of the career ladder, all I can say is I've found a few officers in my department who are still motivated. I respect them for this AND will do any training they want.

    I hope this helps somebody... maybe some officer who's not quite sure whay his people aren't motivated to train.

    God Bless,

  19. #19
    safety chief 700
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Here's some ideas you can use. Most dept subscribe to a fire, ems or rescue magizine of some sort use the incidents, case histories or features as your training. Add in the hands on and you've got a training session. As was stated above rescuers seem to work better when doing something, so don't forget the hands on.

    Also watch the cable news channels (be ready with the vcr) when something "big" happens, i.e. fires, floods, major accidents, tornados, explosions etc. Use the tape for a "what if session" and apply the situation to your own area.

    Have fun and be safe.


  20. #20
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    f you follow OSHA and ISO training requirements you are required to have at leasst 20 hours of training per month. There are topics that must be covered such as Haz-Mat, Confined Space, Drivers training, medical continueing education and the like. Spread these hours out throughout the year. The training program at Mt. Pleasant Fire Department in SC has it together. We follow the above format and the training division gives the Company Officers the flexibility to determine how to deliver the material. Wether it be practical or class-room. There is also a written test covering the subject matter. Grades are recorded by the training division and are used as a tool for assisting in yearly evaluations. The written tests also have questions that may re-appear on promotional exams.
    I make sure my shift trains at least 3 hours per week with practical excercises. If someone complains regularly they receive a written letter about their attitude and disruption to the companies efforts to work as a team. Firefighters who think they know too much are a liability to you and your department. Likewise when guys (and gals)stand out as taking responsibility for the companies training objective they also get a letter about goining above and beyond.
    Anyone wanting more info on our training program send me an e-mail.

    Lt. J. Matthews

    [This message has been edited by jmatthe7 (edited May 04, 2000).]

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