1. #1
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    Default Training in Volunteer Depts.

    Are there any departments that has an idea of how to get your volunteers to participate in training. We have a 50 member department with an age range from 18-70. It is hard for me as the training officer to prepare trainings when I don't know who will show up and what topic to discuss or train on. If I prepare a training on some topic then we have some that show up that may not help us in that area when the whistle blows and we go to work (example is SCBA training). I would like to have everyone participating in training. Does any one have this same problem or any ideas?

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    1. Is this the first time your department has made an attempt to have an organizaed training program? If so, then go back to basics and start at the beginning.

    2. Never discourage anyone from attending the training or saying that they will never help in that area. I know of a department that tried to create an elite team of fire fighters whose job was "interior fire fighter". What happened is that the other fire fighters, who didn't meet the "criteria", stopped attending any training if it involved interior fire suppression. The interior team felt they were too good to attend anything other than interior drills. Guess what happened? One of the first fires after this "policy" took effect, alot of the "interior" guys were not there. Nobody left to step up. Everyone should be competent in as much as possible.

    3. You can't sell fruit in your backyard. To spice up your training, bring in an occassional speaker from outside your dept. to add another viewpoint.

    4. Create a budget. Training is one of the most important things you can do in a FD. It pays to invest money in it. If you are going to do it, do it for real.

  3. #3
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    To go along with what George said, we also started printing flyers for the training that was planned for the next month or two and hanging them around the firehouse. Helped guys plan ahead of time to be there for extra nights. Funny thing happening where I'm at now, it seems we get a better turn out for a lecture than we do for any hands on drills. I would have expected the opposite as I personally don't like the lecture drills. I'd rather be doing than hearing. But, it all has it's place.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

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    For our dept I came up with a yearly outline covering a bit of everything through out the year and even allows 2 month of either no training or make up training. Each month focuses on a certain aspect of the fire service, from structure fires, to hazmat, and brush fires to vehicle accidents. We have weekly meetings and one meeting a month has been set aside for dept. business. It seems that most members like it this way since they know what to expect in advance, and the instructors are held accountable so there is no last minute crap thrown togeather.
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  5. #5
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    Everyone here has the right idea. I revised our program a couple of years ago and have seen a dramatic improvement in attendance (and new candidates as well).

    We do the following:

    -Post training topics 6 weeks in advance
    -Employ senior members as 1-on-1 coaches and evaluators during rookie training to keep the interest
    -Distribute mini teaching assignments among all Officers (Swiftwater Rescue would be me for the classroom portion, and then one qualified Lieutenant for equipment familiarisation, and another for wet practice)
    -Schedule major practices every 3 weeks that incorporate the topics from the previous three weeks (If you miss too many of the practices, you may be lost on the big fun day)
    -Leave a hole every month or so for the ff's to fill with the topic of thier choice (maybe a practice goes poorly, and they want to run it again while it is still fresh)
    -Use outside trainers when you can, or even bring in salesman when appropriate (i.e. many confined space trailer manufacturers make a sales circuit, and will come by for a free demo)
    -Keep it fun and reward good performance!
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

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  6. #6
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    Thumbs up Lotta Good Stuff Here........

    I like what I've been reading so far. As is evident in these posts, capturing and holding member's interest in training is a problem we all face. Posters here from New Jersy and British Columbia, a 3500 mile difference, both have an identical interest, have identical problems (some), and have taken a pro-active approach to improve the situation. Here in my part of the world, we have 3 distinctive areas of service that we provide, Fire, EMS, and Rescue. We train in each, and strive to maintain an optimum performance level. For instance, we run a lot of Auto Accidents, so we train on auto accident scenarios. We worked on reaching a level where no matter who is on the Heavy Rescue, any 4 person crew can have all doors and the top removed, and the dash rolled forward in less than 10 minutes. EMS training is mixed into the accident scenarios as well, with the ambulance crew providing "patient" (a member or a dummy) care, loading, and transport. We involve the engine crews also, in providing a hoseline to cover the operation, spill containment, Helicopter landing site, etc. Training on a regular basis, with people changing positions constantly, gets everyone a shot at doing everything, because, in the real world, anyone can be called on to do anything. Stay Safe....
    Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
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  7. #7
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    We have 24 trainings a year in my dept. We offer one a month @ each of our two stations on different nights to be availible to all members. At the begining of the year we mandate 5 required trainings and offer them twice at different times of the year. A member must make one of the two offerings or make it up w/ the training officer in order to get credit. At the end of the year if you didn't make the requiremnt than you must talk to the chief and deputies who decide whether you are just warned (your 1 or two short w/ good reasons) or you get suspended (4 or 5 missed w/ little or no excuse) until you meet the requirments. We have been using it for a few years and are still working on it, it's not as strict as some local depts but it does mandate a certain level of training.

    the topics we mandate are usually : fire behavior, ventilation/ladders, extrication. the other two trainings are other essential training elements that are rotated every year so as not to have the same 5 required every year. Also the rest of the 24 trainings are a mix of essentials, new tactics/ technology, and Mass Fire Academy and outside instructors course offerings (ex Academy maze trailer, Safe IR program, FDTN RIT class, Art of first due, etc).

    good luck
    Member IACOJ & IACOJ EMS Bureau
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    As always these are strictly my own opinions and views

  8. #8
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    As others have said, go back to basics. Schedule sessions on ventilation, building construction, water supply, etc.

    I have at least one session every year that reinforces many basic firefighting skills. We ladder the roof of a one story building, and practice raising saws, ladders, pike poles, etc to the roof with ropes. Reminds people to use tag lines, start saws on the ground, reinforces laddering techniques, and is a great rope/knot refresher.

    Set up burn building scenarios without the fire. Get local business owners involved, and "pretend" their building is on fire. Get everything set up; attack team in place, ventilation team in place, water supply established, etc. Do everything just as you would if the building were on fire. These are good drills for everyone from the IC down to the hose monkeys. Also an excellent pre-planning drill.

    --Matt.

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