1. #1
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Post Training Attendance

    I am the Chief of a small volunteer department in rural Indiana. Our training attendance his been going downhill for the last 2 years. I want to exhaust every option before I start mandating it. If anyone has any ideas how to boost the attendance, email me at chiefnape@msn.com ..thanks

  2. #2
    Firehouse.com Guest

    Thumbs up

    try hands on
    try having a dinner (or some desert before or after, homemade or store bought)
    try making them as fun as possible -it is so hard some times
    on our department we have to make one training a month and we have 5 to pick from try that


  3. #3
    Firehouse.com Guest


    The way we do it in my dept. is they are required to make one drill a month. We feed them after words and try to have some fun. In the summer time we will drill and usually end up having some type of controlled water fight. Hope that helps. -steve


  4. #4
    Firehouse.com Guest


    You might try envolving your members in leading the training. Give different ones assignments to work on and prepare to lead training. If they feel they are in a helpful capacity it might bring back a little steam.

    If a few only show up, still go ahead with your training.... eventually the word will get out and others will see what they are missing.

  5. #5
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Not only is frequent training a good idea but I believe NFPA 1500 dictates/mandates that a person must attend 10 firefighting trainings a year totalling at least 24 hours in order to be an interior firefighter. I am also recollecting that 1500 has a guide line of types of trainings to be accomplished in that vein. You may find some good info in the NFPA guides.

    Argh..this Forum nees a spellchecker option!
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    Newington,NH FD
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    [This message has been edited by FiRsqDvr45 (edited 04-19-2001).]

  6. #6
    Deputy Dog Dashwood
    Firehouse.com Guest


    Iam a Deputy Chief of a department Iam also 24 years old and I look after all the trainig when I became Deputy the practices attendece was bad we had 14 ff's and practice was not what it should be too technical to in your face. My fellow officers and I stated taking instructor courses and started taking this back to our hall and trying them . We also vist other halls all the time for new ideas, if you want results you have to put in time time and time!! we have 21 members now and regualar practice turnout of around 20 -21 each practice there are halls who have 4 or 5 trucks and not enough people to roll all of them. We don't have enough room for all of us!on our trucks and our hall every locker is almost full! We just bought a new Engine. The best thing I can say is treat them like they want to be there and not like they have to be and make them feel as if they they are there for a reason (we only did 14 calls last year I had 24 FF's then too)So my FF's aren't only there for the calls, treat the fire fighters good ,lots of positve reinforcement!!!!! don't frown on the negatives these people aren't here for the money. They are here cause they want to be. At practice do the basics and try not to confuse them too much and repeat the basics in differnt practice's and get everybody involved. If you have any questions please e mail me!!(don't expect this to happen over night! Ive been deputy for 3 years now)

  7. #7
    Firehouse.com Guest


    KEEP IT INTERESTING. Ask your people what they want to train on. Cover a variety of areas, bring in guest instructors if you can,have companies with speciality units come over and demonstrate their operations. Have you people split into teams and compete against each other. a friendly competition is a good thing.

  8. #8
    IACOJ Agitator
    Adze39's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2000
    In a van down by the CT River!


    Has anyone who's drill attendance started declining been able to reverse that trend successfully?

  9. #9
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    So. Fulton , Tn


    I feel your pain I became training officer at my department 3 years ago and just now got the attendance that I am comfortable with. The thing that I found out is that previously the guys felt like they were'nt being heard on different situations, so I started giving them a chance before every class to state their business whether it be about training or not, that was one improvement, another is to get them out of the classroom as much as possible. I understand that you can't always go outside and use all of the equipment but who says you can't do outside things inside. For example: Ropes and Knots can be really boring if you stand up there and tell them how to tie a knot, but if you give all of them some rope and cut your lecture down to 1/2 hour then you can do some hands on. One way to bring this class inside is to set up ladders on top of 2 of your trucks, and use a pulley system to lift a litter up and down. There are many other ways to get their attention, and it sounds like that's probably the problem. You can find some really great outlines at the Training Zone @ firehouse(downloadable drills). I hope I was of some help.
    Capt. Walker

  10. #10
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Aug 2001


    Try sitting down with each firefighter and find out what goals they have for training over the next twelve months and then see what you can do to help them gain these goals through a training program. Also sit down with the other officers and identify which areas the dept needs more expertise in, and then match this to the people that have identified that they would like to become proficient in that area. And don't be afraid to throw a surprise dummy call into the middle of a training session.
    Busy polishing the stacked tips on the deckgun of I.A.C.O.J. Engine#1

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  11. #11
    Forum Member
    FGFD43's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 1999
    Thomasville, NC, USA


    One thing I have not seen mentioned is leading by example. I don't necessarily mean you specifically. After all you are interested enough to ask us. I am really talking about the other "leaders" in your department. If you get your officers and other firefighters that the other guys listen to to take training seriously then the others will follow. This can be harder for some than others but if the "leaders" show then men that they believe in training by coming to classes that they might have taken a dozen time before, then the attittude will grow. It ain't easy, just like firefighting, but it works. Good Luck!
    Kevin Sink
    Fair Grove Fire Dept.
    Thomasville, NC USA

  12. #12
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Candler, NC USA


    I agree with what FGFD43 said above. If you can somehow get the officers of the department, especially the higer ranks, then the others will follow.

    One good way to increase training attendance is to use a variety of topics that go along with the majority of your operations. Use the good old hose relay race where each team must don their gear and deploy a series of hose connections and flow water. Give the winners an incentive such as a dinner where the others serve them.

    Another good one is to have a meal on a certain training night each month. This lets the firefighters show up, eat, and then attend class without having to rush around and have supper before the training class. It can be as simple as burgers and hot dogs on the grill. Nothing fancy, but if you offer food, people will show up!

    Last but not least, give some kind of incentive for personal achievement. Our department offers the members a Traditional Style Helmet to keep forever if they obtain Firefighter II certification by our State Standards. Also, if they get their EMT, then we give them a fully stocked jump kit. At the end of the year, you could recognize the member with the most training hours with a special plaque or award. Also, do the award for the most calls made in a year.

    Incentives are the key. If you use these with some innovative techniques in the classes, they will come.

    Good Luck, Chief!

    Benjamin Lunsford
    Captain, Training & Rescue
    Upper Hominy Fire Rescue
    Candler, NC
    Tell me, I will forget. Show me, I will remember. Involve me, I will understand.

  13. #13
    MembersZone Subscriber
    AFD368's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Albion NY

    Default Training Attendance

    I'm an old timer in a new Department (due to relocating) and have been in other Departments where training has been well attended and not so well attended. The Department I am in now has a Training Committee, not just one Training Officer, and they have done, what I think, is an excellent job of changing training senarios to increase interest. We train twice a month, and training is varied from classroom work to hands on to tours of Industrial plants. We also have two State Prisons in our district that we tour annually. State training is also available through the Emergency Management Office, and is held at either the County Training Facility or at other Departments within the County. Repetition of training gets boring, but continuous training keeps the mind sharp, especially in volunteer departments, where you are not running numerous calls daily.
    In light of 9-11, everyone should be sharpening skills. Keep it simple, keep it interesting, and keep it to the job that has to be done.

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  14. #14
    Junior Member
    MediTO's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Coalhurst, Alberta, Canada

    Lightbulb Training...

    Well, our Department trains once a week. In order to keep people interested, we do a couple of key things.

    1) In order to be considered an 'active' member, you must have an attendance record of at least 60% for the year. If you do not reach this level, you will be placed on probation, in which you will be forced to give up your pager and key, until your attendance improves.

    2) We have a Medical Training Officer, and a fireground/rescue training officer. This has two benifits that are substantial.
    i) the job is broken up between two people, which means less stress and burnout for one person.
    ii) we confer regularly with eachother with ideas on how to make things interesting for our members (most important, if they are bored, then they leave).

    3) We try to keep things as light as possible when training, while still getting the information and practise they need through to them, and maintaining the highest level of safty we can.

    4) we (at least I do) poll the members to see what they would like to do in the next while, and have them run a training session (under watch of course) once and a while.

    All in all, I think we have about 90-95% attendance.
    "You know - we've got these light thingies and sound makers on for a reason!!!!" >

  15. #15
    Junior Member

    Join Date
    Aug 1999
    Ridge,L.I. New York


    Last year I saw a downward silde in attendance in my Company at drills the Capt. from last year would show up right At drill time on the nose then he would ask what did everybody want to do and as the First Lt. I had little to say in how drill was ran.
    This year is a different story. The way we run our drills is the first Sunday of the month is required drill that the Chiefs set the topic.(that is for the first six months of the year)if there are no more required drills then it is the Companies responsibilty to cover the whole month with drills.
    I Pick a topic for each drill and in advance I make an outline which I put on paper and make notes for myself this way I have something that if I need to I can look at to keep me on track if there is a topic that one of my officers want to cover I ask him to give me an outline of what he plans to cover just so I have an idea of what is going on.
    Also if possible try to have everything setup in advance so there is no downtime and they won't know what the scenario is ahead of time.
    And once a month I host a probie drill which covers the required topic for the month and it acts as a make up for people that can't make Sunday drill.The key thing is you got to make it interesting so that they want to come around like instead of doing a normal heavy rescue drill do vehicle extrication drill just using hand tools and also listen to the people that are coming to drill see what they would like to do but make sure that the drills are well prepared.
    So that the members see that some thought went into the drill.
    Since I have been Capt. and we actually do something when we drill the attendance has been on the rise we have gotten to the point where we would have to run over drill time so everyone has a chance to participate which is nice and during probie drill alot of firefighters show up because we have a good time.

    Sorry for rambling on
    Last edited by AJM108; 04-19-2002 at 12:19 AM.
    Captain Ridge Fire Dept.
    Company One

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