1. #1
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    Default Small town drill ideas

    Was wondering if anybody out there has any ideas for drills in a small Nebraska vollie dept. We usually have limited numbers on our drill nights and only drill once a month. Any ideas would be helpful.

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    1.Your department should make drills mandatory. And one weeknight every two weeks should not be hard for everyone. Depending on the department size organize training platoons. Each platoon can train on something different that night to spread the skills amongst the department and have more involved training sessions.
    2.Are there any training facilities nearby that you can use? If not maybe a buch of communities in your area could get together and build a facility.
    3.Are there any derelict houses in your area that you could turn into a burn house?
    4.Once a month get a vehicle (car, truck, school bus, tractor trailer) to practice auto x. Maybe even people in the community could donate one
    5.Maybe implement annual certifications for certain equipment and tasks to get your people training.

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    Well for starters, you can download some simple drills right here at FH.com under the "training" section.

    Other than that, drill what you think you might be responding to in the near future. We have fixed seasonal refresher drills and then fill in the weeks between them with either new or specialty topics.

    We will soon be entering fall, so logical topics are MVA's (before the snow flies), and then chimney fires, propane odour/misfire calls, safe winter operations, winter driving, etc. Over the winter, we try to focus on a little indoor training, and spend a lot of time in the smokehouse doing S&R and RIT type scenarios. Spring brings wildfire training, swiftwater and high angle rescue, GSAR, etc.

    In between the fixed topics, we will do refreshers on electrical safety, fire cause determination, first aid, etc. If you don't have a training facility, try to get permission to use the town hall/community center or other municipal buildings after hours. Sometimes even just going out and touring new construction sites and buildings to review building construction or fire loading can be interesting.

    No matter what you choose to go with, I reccommend getting out of the hall and into the community once in a while. We often take for granted that we know our small town like the back of our hands, until the fire call comes in and we discover so-and-so business has renovated, put up a gate, changed a road, etc.
    Last edited by mcaldwell; 08-28-2004 at 04:31 PM.
    Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!

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    Thumbs up Training

    I have to agree with what I am reading here. In our department we train every other week. If you have S.O.P's start by reviewing them. Train on engine company,Rescue Company or Ladder Company operations or have someone from a mutual aid company come in and go over their specialized piece of equipment.

    There are plenty of drills to download from this website. BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY TRAIN TRAIN TRAIN.


    Eugene Tucker
    Citizens' Hose Co. No. 1
    Smyrna, DE

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    Practice drafting out of folda tanks, do a tanker shuttle with a mutual aid company.Auto extrication with whatever extrication tools you have.Put on an airpack with a blacked out mask and charged a hoseline then have them try to figure out which way is out of a building by using the lugs. Have everyone practice driving and pumping the trucks,along with this do compartment training. Have them check out the compartments and then ask them to go get something off one of the trucks.It's better to ask them first to get something then this proves the need to train in this area.You'd be amazed at what we forget over time.

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    Smile

    Sitting in a "class room" and drilling on technical material is important, but can be boring (especially for volunteers). You might want to try getting them out of the station and into the field with prectical, hands-on drills every chance you can. Make the drills interesting and incorperate them with neighboring Departments whenever possible.

    Every person has their own reason for volunteering, so you're not going to grab everyone's interest. For those who do become more involved, you can now incorperate some of the "boring" aspects of fire fighting. -bob-

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    Three thoughts on your inquiry....

    1) Seems like training one day a month is not enough, especially for
    smaller depts. that don't respond to a lot of alarms (lack of
    calls = rusty if not non-existent skills). I understand the socio
    -economic issues involved here - limited family time, two parents
    working, etc. but one day just ain't gonna cut it. We have all of
    that & more in my area and we are still required to train/drill at
    least ONCE a week EVERY week...and our depts. handle 1,500-2,000+
    calls a year!!

    2) I agree with the other replies - get out there & do some hands-on
    drills...nobody wants to sit in class all day (especially if you
    only train once a month) so do a quick class & then get outside
    (or in the bays if it's too brutal outside) and do some hands-on
    training even if it's basic skills like stretching handlines.

    3) While I don't know when you meet for training (weeknights, Sunday
    morning), here's a drill that can be both informative AND fun...
    in my old dept., one weekend during a dept.wide drill (3
    stations), each station/company picked a site in their 1st due
    area & was sent on a fact finding mission.

    Not just "ok, here's the building, there's the hydrant" but
    REAL information..my company chose the little propane refill
    center (a little propane = big KABOOM)...it was a GREAT drill,
    the owner showed us the premises, the shut-offs, explained the
    safety mechanisms that were in place and much more. We then
    returned to the dept. meeting room floor after the drill & relayed
    this info to our fellow FF's.

    If you want to change it up a little, send the stations to the
    opposite side of town to scope out a site in their 2nd due
    area. Or if you are a one station dept., split the guys into
    manageable groups & send them to several locations, they can
    even choose where they want to go..we all have driven past a
    site/building in our areas & wondered "hmm, I wonder what's
    in there"....

    Jut my 2 cents...hope it helps. Stay Safe..

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    Default small town Drills

    I come from a small town too. On our drill nights, sometimes we just go back to the basics. Like we went over the fans that we have and how to use them. we also went over the chain saw a K-12. we also practice puting on a turnout and in the rig in under two mintues. I helped out all the men\mbers alot even the more experience members. So I would go back to the basics.

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    Basics. Basics. Basics.

    Small town, one drill night a month, that's all you do.

    The following is taken from the Conn-OSHA Quarterly newsletter, Summer 2002. I don't know if NE is an OSHA state or not, but it reminds you what the basics are.


    The following subjects are examples of key elements:

    1. Safety and Protective Equipment

    2. Chemistry of Fire and Behavior

    3. Self Contained Breathing Apparatus

    4. Fire Streams

    5. Hose

    6. Pumping Fire Apparatus

    7. Ladders

    8. Rescue

    9. Forcible Entry

    10. Ventilation



    Planning drills, start off with what our strategic/tactical priorities are -- RECEO WVS.

    Rescue
    Exposure
    Confine
    Extinguish
    Overhaul
    supported in any order appropriate by
    Water
    Ventilation
    Salvage

    And one key point to remember in that framework, Rescue, especially in small towns, is most often supported not by ladders or "heroic" rescues...but by using Water & Ventilation. Get a hoseline between the victim and fire, draw the fire away from them by venting. Both buy the time to make the rescue.

    So on a handline Fire Streams drill, start off with a review RECEO WVS ...ok, we're working with fire streams, our first priority is to place the first line in operation between the fire and victims if possible. That'll help achieve Rescue, and usually also accomplish Confinement. Then we'll practice moving the streams up to Extinguish.

    Above freezing:
    Pull lines, throw ladders, move water.
    Pull lines, throw ladders, move water.
    Pull lines, throw ladders, move water.

    If I sound like a broken record...guess what activities take the most teamwork in a typical small town?

    Freezing weather:
    Chalk-talk through the preplans for various buildings in town, "Ok, we have a tractor trailer on fire at the feed store...what do we do?"

    Put wax paper in the SCBA masks and do both "practical" stations (search a room, advance a line) and "confidence" stations (have two firefighters work together to find their way through a series of hose rolls 12' apart, help each other through a 10' section of 2' wide culvert, figure out which way is out when you find a hose coupling) Confidence aren't necessarily stuff we usually use, but team-work building.

    Do your extrication classes during the winter, and handle any regulatory stuff like Blood Borne Pathogens & Haz-Mat Awareness.
    IACOJ Canine Officer
    20/50

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    Talking

    Its surprising what you can achieve with a little imagination. for example turn some tables on their side, you can make crawling galleries for SCBA search procedure, moving them around you can vary the course, make obstacles where you have to either remove the airpack, or adjust it. get some 4X2s and make a framework that resembles a house framework, hang some wires and practice entanglement. get some plastic pipe and stopcocks, make up a hazmat leaky pipe, which the guys have to isolate. the things you can do are only limited by your imagination.

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    My combination department with about 20 volunteers has not conducted any organised training in more than 3 months. We had training scheduled for one Saturday morning in July but only 2 volunteers and 2 paid people, me getting off duty and the guy releving me, showed up. The Chief arrived with donuts and milk but when he saw the small turnout he cancelled the training.
    We have no scheduled training or work nights. We meet one night a month for a business meeting with no training done then. Even then we often don't have enough board members or officers present to have a quorum needed to conduct business.
    I've given up waiting for my department to find training for me and I seek it out myself. I listen to dispatch frequencies of surrounding departments on my scanners and contact them when they announce when they schedule training. I attend mutual aid meetings and get myself put on email lists for surrounding departments. I attend as much outside training as I can. If any certificate is issued I zerox a copy and leave a copy on the Chiefs desk.
    I can't describe how envious I am of the departments like the ones in the previous posts who meet and train regularly.
    OK. I'm going to go sit in the corner and cry.
    Be Safe.
    Last edited by cellblock; 09-01-2004 at 01:09 AM.

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    We are a small dept in a small town, bout 16 members. We normally have drills every thursday evening for 2 hrs. Right now for the summer we changed it to every other thursday for 2 hrs. We do a couple things.

    1) pull a pumper out hook up couple 1 1/2 lines and a 2 in line then hard suction to portatank. We will have one person runnin pump, couple on the nozzles and a person driving tanker back and forth to fill up at hydrant. We have a park behind station 1 and spray water into the baseball field and occasionally have a couple neighborhood kids that will come run through the water. This is a refresher for us that have been on awhile since there arent many fires and the newbies get paired up with someone experience and we just rotate around so everyone does everything.

    2) We will goto the new subdivision or the school where there are hydrants and hook into one then play round with the deck gun. This gets ppl familar with the deck gun and how to lay into a hydrant and the fastest/easiest way to relay the 5" back on the truck.

    3) We will pull out the trucks then use a rope and string it around the bays and the station. At the end of it is a pass device and a fire fighter. We then will have to do a search and rescue with all our gear on, packed up and nomex hoods backwards to emulate smoke and not being able to see real well. This you can have fun with like having them go under tables, around knocked of chairs, just about anything and change it on the way back because you can NEVER count on things being the same as when you went in during a fire or what position things may be in in a persons home. One guy ended up with a hand in a toliet one time during this drill...

    4) All kinds of medical scenarios from a fractured leg to an accident victum that sits in a chair then you have to do c-spine, stablizer vest, backboard and packaged up and everything.

    5) Practice using and starting equipment we have on the trucks, (ie. stair-chair, pos pres fan, generators, etc...)

    6)We have gotten together with a neighboring dept and cut up cars before that the local junkyard in town has donated. This is helpful to work on new techniques, old techniques, what-if scenarios and have multiple ppl cutting and spreading if you have multiple tools and the cutter/spreader in one tool.

    7) A dept north of us has a Burn Chamber this is basically 2 semi-trailers stacked with windows and doors with steal coverings and stairs going inbetween inside, kind of like if you have a mobile home trailer that was 2 stories... They had everyone spilt into 4 teams for 4 staions. One team placed ladder to get on top for vent, another team for interior attack, a team for backup, and the 4th station was rehab. The fire was on the 2nd floor using hay and wooden palets. You had to do a search of the place, locate the fire, call for vent and then after the vent team lifted hatches on top with pike polls to open vents, a training officer would open the door to where the fire was and you had to attack it and put it out. (That was a safety messure so you didnt get steamburns if you tried to attack the fire before venting) After the fire was out, everyone rotated to the next station and they relit more hay and palets. It was so hot in there, if u touched the walls, you would burn yourself right through your gloves and gear...one guy was siting next to the wall to close and melted the flash light on this helmet on the bottom level.

    8) we also have an old baseball announcers booth that is now just a 2 story cement storage shed by the park. We will smoke that out and then go through it for search and rescue techniques and ladder operations with the extention ladder and the roof ladder.

    9) Assit chief or someone will go around town, write down addresses and description of houses then sit at station on base radio and atleast 2 ppl per truck will drive around and he will do dispatches on a requested fire ground ops channel. Each truck has to then find the address it was assigned and report the description of the house or building. This trains newbies on radio communications and helps in response times because it adds to everyones "virtual" maps they have in their heads and the addressing scheme of the town.
    ---Steve---

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    Default Ideas from a fellow Husker

    Fire Engineering (hope it isn't sacrilege to say that on this website ) has a great book on Volunteer Training Drills. You can purchase it from their Penwell Books Store.

    The Maryland Fire Training Institute has a drill of the month (they might be the same ones used on the Firehouse website) posted on MFRI.org.

    Firefighterclosecalls.com posts a weekly drill that can be done when you have small numbers in attendance.

    My volunteer department struggles with creativity and keeping people interested. Believe it or not, so does my paid department.

    My vollie department is a bedroom community, so during the day, we're lucky to have a decent number of people to respond to calls. If you have the same problem, preplan the structures in your district. Go over tactics you might use if the building was burning @ 2 in the afternoon on a weekday vs. 2 in the morning. I also like the previous posts about being proficient @ the basics. Nothing is worse than having a kinked hoseline because no one has practiced snaking the line. Sounds trivial, but it could make a big difference.

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    Our department has training meetings on the 2nd and 4th wedneseday of every month, generally. Going over the basics are usually a good thing if you don't run a high number of calls.

    We will spend a night pumping each of the truck just to keep you familiar with them. This next meeting, we will be setting up MVA's with entrapments in the field, and responding from the station. Burning fields will give you the chance to try new tactics for grass fires.

    I think hands on training works better than the classroom, as most firefighters learn better by actually doing it.

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    Talking Drills

    Wakefire,

    Check firehouse.com for drills. You can always train on Engine,Rescue,Ladder or special operations. If your department does not have a specialized piece of equipment, then joint training with your neighboring department might be in order.

    Search and rescue,ground ladders ropes and rigging and jaws of life are just a few things that can be practiced. Get together with some of your other members and talk it up. There is always something that can be done.

    Gene Tucker
    C.H.C. No. 1
    Smyrna,DE

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    I would like to thank everybody for their helpful comments. Will do whatever I can to get the dept. to go along with mandatory drills. Any ideas on gettin the good ole boys to change their ways???
    FF Ulrich
    WVFD

    "Stay low, stay safe"

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    Time.
    Patience.
    Persistence.

    Overcoming "Institutional Inertia" is a tough thing to do -- "We've never done that before!"
    IACOJ Canine Officer
    20/50

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    Everbody pretty much summed it up but I'll just add one thought .... TRAIN ON WHAT YOU DO. If you run rural water ... train on it ... if you run very basic fire operations... train on it ..if you have propane incidents .. train on it.
    Nothing worse than practicing skills ya don't use.

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    You have a Mobile Burn Trailer that is available to you and its only 30 minutes away! Ask your Chief about it. Or send me an email... nelliz206@hotmail.com

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    Think about your environment when it comes to training. We're on the Platte River so we practice water rescue and ice rescue. You're in an agricultural community so consider farm chemical training or farm equipment extrication. Think about grain silo explosions, extricating people from grain bins, pit rescues.

    We do the basics like most departments but, we also do heavy duty stuff. We've practiced for Columbine type incidents. We hope it never happens but,...We know that we will be way beyond our capabilities but we can still come up with plans for large scale incidents.

    Changing the attitudes of the entrenched members is a tough one. Wish I had some sage advice for you. I'm lucky because our department doesn't have that problem.

    Good luck.

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    Hands on with your equipemt, it's good to know were it is on the truck, before you need it to save a life.

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    Default every once in a while (or sooner)

    It's a good idea to train with your neighboring departments

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    Without knowing the number of volunteers and their experience and training levels. Begin with the focus on the basics. Get a copy of the IFSTA manual "Essentials of Firefighting", that is the book of the basics. That's the book many firefighter training academies use to train cadets. When they can do the basics, then expand into special areas they may encounter. Be creative.

    ISO is the organization that helps determine the fire insurance cost in a particular area. One of the items the organiztion looks at, is training. How much and how often. Also certificates of achieved levels of the individual members. Which may help lower fire insurance costs.

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    I feel your pain with trying to get the good ole boys to change their ways... I've found that a little competition goes a long way. We have set up a type of relay race to challenge our guys. Here is how it's set up...

    1) break up the guys/gals in teams of three. one pump operator and two on the nozzle.
    2) Have 2 - 100 foot sections of attack lines rolled up and a nozzle, all disconnected and laying on the ground next to the engine.
    3) Have the guys/gals start with their hands on the front bumper... Start the clock when the first hand comes off. The pump operator needs to attach the supply line from the hydrant to the truck and get the truck into pump gear (use other variations as needed if you don't have a hydrant). At the same time, the 2 other people are unrolling the sections of hose and attaching them together, to the truck and putting the nozzle on... once they are done, they radio or motion to the pump operator to give them water.
    4) The nozzle team now has to knock over two traffic cones that are placed 20-30 feet away, about 20 feet apart... once the last one falls over, stop the clock.

    A few things happen with this training.. people get familiar with the equipment, people learn to work as a team, and people feel a sense of pride while trying to earn those bragging rights for being the best. It's funny to watch the other teams scheming while the first team is going... everyone is planning their own tactics. When we did this training, our guys went back to the station at 9:00 p.m. and kept throwing hose rolls for over two hours... I had to force them to leave.

    I've also had training classes on teamwork games. These games help tear down the walls between the cliques in the department and makes everyone work together. It also can force some of those guys that always stand in the back of the group to step up and take command.

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