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  1. #1
    Forum Member mustang911's Avatar
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    Default Suggestions for a FF in Training?

    Would anybody have any suggestions for someone in training to be a fire fighter? Tonight we go through the maze at the training center and I'm a little nervous about it! If anybody has any tips, I would be grateful!
    Proud to be IACOJ!
    MD FF/EMT


  2. #2
    MembersZone Subscriber E229Lt's Avatar
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    Assuming this will be a Mask Confidence course I suggest:

    Breathing Control, long and slow in through the nose, out the mouth.

    Methodic Movements, move up, sweep, repeat. Stay with the wall.

    Constant Communication, always stay in verbal contact with your partner.

  3. #3
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    If this is a solo maze (mask confidence drill), move efficiently and methodically. Don't try to go too fast when you are starting, you might get ahead of yourself. Speed will come with time and practice (and should be a high priority after you practice for a while). Always try to visualize what is around you if you are blacked out. Keep a mental compass of where you are. A good instructor will stop you and ask where your escape is when you least expect it. You should have a running map in your head of where you are. If you become stuck (tangled in wires, unable to fit through a narrow opening), stop, breathe deeply, and think. If you take 10 seconds to think about it, you can usually figure things out. If you beat your head against the wall for 10 seconds, you'll be worse off than when you started.

    If this is a team search drill, read the tips above, they are good. Above all else, LISTEN TO YOUR INSTRUCTORS! Following directions and handling authority is vital to the fire service. Don't freelance! A big mistake that you may see in some videos is what my instructors called "the catterpillar dance". This is where one firefighter is directly behind the other during the search. This means that the second firefighter is not covering any new ground. Don't do this. Being right next to the other firefighter (still close enough to touch) covers twice the ground in the same time. In residential hallways, you'll probably be forced to get behind (or in front of) the other guy, and that's unavoidable. Also, just because you're close enough to touch, that doesn't mean you should have your hand up the other guy's rear! Try not to hold onto the other guy's gear unless you are forced to because of zero visibility, it only slows both of you down. In most fire conditions, visibility will allow you to see each other if you are right next to each other, so just lightly brush against each other as you search. Besides your personal and team safety, the most important part of a team search is SPEED and EFFICIENCY! Work fast and work smart. That means that sometimes you will split from each other if conditions are appropriate and the spaces are small. A good example is if you are in a hallway and reach a bathroom: one firefighter should stay at the door and the other should do a quick sweep in the bathroom. Having both firefighters in a small space will only slow you down. Also, while you are in the hallway, don't just sit there. Stay in the doorway so you can see/hear your buddy, but sweep around with your arms and legs, maybe you'll find a victim.

    Again, use your head and think about conditions. If you are standing, can see your feet, and heat is low enough that you can handle standing, do it! You will search faster and more efficiently than on your knees. If you go downstairs and can't see your feet, get on your knees. Just use some common sense.

    That's way more than I thought I would write. I want to encourage other firefighters to add to my thoughts and even give some constructive criticism. Search is one of my favorite fireground tasks and I love talking about it.

    Eric

  4. #4
    Forum Member mustang911's Avatar
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    Thanks for all your help, I will keep your advice in my head!
    Proud to be IACOJ!
    MD FF/EMT

  5. #5
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    Default Maze drills

    Chew gum. Seriously. An old crusty taught me this trick and forces you to focus on something besides your nerves.

    And follow all of the other advice here too. I wish I had known all of this when I did it.

  6. #6
    Forum Member kghemtp's Avatar
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    If you're looking to be hired somewhere full time, I have the perfect words of wisdom. Practice the following: "Yes sir!" You'll be fine
    ~Kevin
    Firefighter/Paramedic
    --^v--^v--^v--^v--
    Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong
    Dennis Miller

  7. #7
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    Mental preparation is the key. Forgive me if I misquote Yogi Berra, who once said, "90% of this game is half mental."

    Seriously, though...Go into the training with confidence. Remember, if you've made it this far, you're already a firefighter, and there's a reason firefighters are called "The Bravest".

    Before you go in, psych yourself up. Say to yourself, "I AM THE BRAVEST!" Say it out loud. Get pumped up.

    Look at football players before the game. How many sit around on the sidelines before the kickoff thinking, "Geez, can we really beat this team? This is going to be hard." And how many are screaming, butting helmets with their teammates, cheering, clapping, etc. Which behavior do you think is more effective?

    You're a firefighter. You're on your department because the rest of the guys believe in you and know you can do it. The citizens you protect already view you as a hero.

    As you're waiting for your turn, hold your head high, stand up straight, keep your shoulders back, and carry yourself as if you were the most confident, fearless person in the world. The amazing thing about changing your physiology this way is that you will actually BECOME confident and fearless, just by appearing that way. Then, go in there and show your department just how good you are.

    I'd wish you luck, but I don't believe in luck. I believe in people.

  8. #8
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    Judging from the date of your post, you've already done it, but here's my $0.02 anyway, on how I got through the maze. Ours is in our burn building, and can be reconfigured by the instructors. It has various bends, door types, hanging wires, attic-rafter-type areas, a corrugated metal tube, etc.

    1. I went in realizing I couldn't get hurt. In real live fires, you can, but this is just to get you used to getting through confined darkness with your gear and SCBA (I'm assuming that's what your maze is for). That made it interesting rather than intimidating.

    2. When you snag on wires, *back up*, use an arm to sweep them over yourself. If you keep getting caught, back up more, roll over on your side to keep your SCBA clear, and go again.

    3. You *will* find a way through. Remember that. There's an exit somewhere, and you *will* find it.

    4. Keep visualizing the area (as mentioned above).

    5. I hated the tube. I'm big and with all the gear and SCBA on, I could only go in arms extended, or doubled under me (I couldn't switch). Go through arms extended, like Superman flying. I had a visceral reaction to the thing the first couple of times - the first time, I said I couldn't get through, which provoked a spirited response from the invisible instructor. In something like that, dive in as far as you can, push with your toes, pull with your fingers, rock yourself side to side and lunge - you'll get through it.

    My best bit of encouragement is this: An old fat guy like me did it. You can too.

  9. #9
    Forum Member mustang911's Avatar
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    Wow! Thanks for all of your guys help! I will keep this all in mind and I had our maze Tuesday night and I made it through pretty good, I got turned around once, but I was able to turn around and go through the window like I was supposed to and my low air pressure bell went off as I got to the end. All things considered, I think I did alright! I really love doing this stuff, I hope to become a crusty jake just like the rest of you guys! Tonight should be fun too! We get play with ladders tonight, fun, FUN , FUN!
    Proud to be IACOJ!
    MD FF/EMT

  10. #10
    Permanently Removed CALFFBOU's Avatar
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    Default Good start...

    Here is a good start. I have been sharing this site with
    others. Fire books.com has numerous books from the
    written exam to fitness to the oral boards.

    here ya go- www.firebooks.com

  11. #11
    Forum Member mustang911's Avatar
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    Thanks! I got another question. What would you include in a fire prevention presentation for middle school(grades 6 - 8) aged children and if you could take one piece of apparatus, what would you take?
    Proud to be IACOJ!
    MD FF/EMT

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