Thread: Motivation

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    Default Motivation

    Our volunteer department has about 23 active members. We have training once a month. The problem is that only about 4-5 members show up for training, myself being included whenever possible. We are looking for some ideas to inspire some more people to show to our trainings. One idea that was thought of was that every training you show up to about $5-10 can go towards a Fire Dept. coat at the end of the year which was suggestd by my father. I suggested the same concept except you could use towards and personal firefighting equipment. Any other ideas out there?

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    Make drills challenging, fun and realistic. Allow members to be involved in drill planning at times. Set a drill calendar up showing the upcoming drills. Task members with presenting drills so they can learn things better. Get your hands on some good training materials.

    Start drills with a skill/task lesson before a senario or evolution. Consider a drill senario and break it down into task level bits. Spend the first few drill nights goping over each task then put it all together into a scenario after the skills are refreshed. For example...you want to run a basic bedroom fire evolution in a single family house. You break it down to engine and truck ops. Start with size up and building construction, discuss command and control, water supply and attack options. Work on searches, utility control, vent and overhaul. After all of this put it together and run a few evolutions. Train with your equipment and your people. The lead up to the final evolution might take 6 or 8 drill sessions, but youll probably see great success doing it this way.

    You might find them more interested if you give them some of this "candy" so to speak. Many department drills are treated as a lame obligatory event that is only attended by the people who have nothing better to do or that need their service credit points.
    Last edited by MG3610; 03-03-2007 at 12:53 PM.

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    If you only drill once a month and only 4-5 show up you dont have 23 active members 24-36 hours a year is not a lot to ask

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    Who's doing a majority of the instruction at your training evolutions? Department members? You may have some members that are tired of seeing the same faces standing in front of them every month, and need a little variety.

    In our VFD, we do the normal firematic training, but we also bring in outside instructors and groups for all those other emergencies and situations. Do you have a local air ambulance (medevac) agency? I'd bet they'd love to come do a landing zone ops class for you. Have a railroad that runs through your first due? Call the safety officer for the company or even call the folks with CSX Operation Lifesaver about doing a train safety class. Have a nearby department that does technical rescue, swiftwater, or something along those lines? Have them come by and give your members an overview class.

    There are times that motivating volunteers to come to training. I do like the idea of the monetary rewards, and it may work well for you, but there could be some other means out there for you too.

    Good luck!

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    Quote Originally Posted by xNinjaDolphinx View Post
    We have training once a month. The problem is that only about 4-5 members show up for training, myself being included whenever possible.
    Not even you can set aside one night a month for training so why would you expect anyone elso to?
    I am a complacent liability to the fire service

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChicagoFF View Post
    Not even you can set aside one night a month for training so why would you expect anyone elso to?
    Well, I assumed that when I said "myself being included whenever possible", would be took as I show up a majority of the time, but sometimes there are things that have to come before firefighting.

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    Default Re: Motivation

    Motivating troops can sometimes be the most challenging task I have. I am the training officer for my department. We are all volunteer. I started with creating a culture change. I taught several classes that related the importance of training to save your own life as well as your fellow firefighter's. I developed several drills that were designed to provide "buy in" to training. If any of this sounds interesting to you, reply and I can ellaborate!

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    Quote Originally Posted by 13Truck View Post
    Motivating troops can sometimes be the most challenging task I have. I am the training officer for my department. We are all volunteer. I started with creating a culture change. I taught several classes that related the importance of training to save your own life as well as your fellow firefighter's. I developed several drills that were designed to provide "buy in" to training. If any of this sounds interesting to you, reply and I can ellaborate!
    Please ellaborate! Any ideas can be useful. Even if they just make something pop into my head that could be used.

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    There is really only one way to do this, and it is not easy. When my chief first approached me about becoming an officer, I told him that he would need to let me do it if I took on the job.

    You don't come to (or have an excused absence for) my training, then when the tones drop, you don't get on my engine. Period.

    Try it, it works. The deadwood will hate your guts, and the dedicated firefighters who want to do the job safely and professionally will love you.

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    I can agree with some of randsc. But I started a little less militant. I started by teaching risk management to my troops. We moved along and showed them that the only way to prevent negative consequences, was to train. I started the drills with myself and LTs demo'ing the desired results. I would then have all of the officers demonstrate the drill, again acheiving the same positive result. It allowed the young members to build confidence in thier officers and showed that we would not ask them to perform without our effort first. We then repeated the drill with the trainees in tow. Building muscle memory for them and confidence. Nothing builds a culture of traiing like confidence! The main demotivation of training is fear, both of failure and of "looking stupid". As thier confidence grew, week after week the drills become more intense and more difficult to perfrom. They work in thier gear for hours, even if we are just rolling hose. It teachs them how to function in thier euipment. Slowley a very neat transformation began!!! The "dead-wood" began to show for drill less and less but the motivated rose to the challange. They began to thrive on the task. They began to look for the difficult drill and scoff at the easy ones. That's when I implemented the rule, fail to train, pull your gear. I put this into place as a positive rule. All you have to do to get your gear back is catch up on the drills. I told them it was safer for them and thier fellows. We offered ourselves as trainers more nights a week to facilitate thier way back. That's when some quit, some trained to get thier gear back, but I had an interesting result. My troops began to self police. The only way you are cool on my dept. now is if you train and train hard. They raise thier own bar daily. They want to be the best FF's out there. All we do now is set the drill, they push us old men aside and perform. This change was about 1 year in the making but it was amazing to watch. From it I composed several new drills and seminars. I hope this helps! Check out...visiononegroup.com..fire tab on left side of screen, maybe it can help.

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    Great post 13 truck. Glad it's working out for your dept. That is an attitude that seems to be missing at alot of depts. paid or vollie. More officers should be putting forth the effort and LEAD! Be pro-active dont react! Thx. for the refreshing post.

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    Quote Originally Posted by xNinjaDolphinx View Post
    Please ellaborate! Any ideas can be useful. Even if they just make something pop into my head that could be used.
    How about having training more than once a month. Is your dept a busy dept? I'd sort of think if you only train once a month, that not to many people will retain the information and you'll have to keep doing the same thing over again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MidgetStalker View Post
    Great post 13 truck. Glad it's working out for your dept. That is an attitude that seems to be missing at alot of depts. paid or vollie. More officers should be putting forth the effort and LEAD! Be pro-active dont react! Thx. for the refreshing post.
    Working on adding master butt kisser to your resume? I feel left out…
    When are you supposed to hear if you got the gig in Arkansas?

    Back to the topic at hand:

    Encourage those that want to train to lead, help them in any way to build leadership skills. When new people come on they are usually excited about learning and looking for someone to follow and if not its better to know before you have time and energy invested in them. Who would you rather have your new FF emulate? 1) A FF that trains and helps the new person become a good FF or 2) FF “this is they way we have always done things,I don’t need to train, I have been doing this for X years. The only real way to learn is to run calls."
    We're not spliting rocket hairs here people!

    Training is like building a pyramid, if you want it to last, you don't built it pointy side down!

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    We have training meetings twice a month. Out of 28 members we average about 24 per meeting. Then every Saturday morning there is a work session where trucks are checked, hose tested, as well as some training. We usually average about 10 members on Saturdays. There are also special training sessions from time to time where we often get about 10 to 15 members. Our guys are fairly well self motivated it is a tradition in our department. This is stressed by the department leadership and senior members of the department. The Chief confers with the officers about newer firefighters and the decision is based on that whether to allow them to enter a structure or drive apparatus. New members also have to recieve Firefighter I certification within their first year to be a member. To remain a member in good standing there is a percentage of training meetings and calls you have to get for the year. With my job as a paid firefighter working 24 on and 24 off it is sometimes difficult to meet the minimum requirements especially the training sessions. We try to keep training interesting and challengeing. The annual SCBA confidence course will leave you maxed out unless you are in excellent physical shape. One thing that motivates the members is that after you serve a minimum of 5 years you qualify for a sum of money when you decide to leave the service. The amount you get is based on years spent and a formula using the the number of members on the department and total amount of money in the annuity fund for this purpose. Chiefs from other area volunteer departments have asked our Chief how he gets such a response from the membership. Other than than the requirements and the small benifits it is hard to say really. I think one thing is that it becomes a big family. Wives are often at the station after a tough job or helping out with rehab. Sometimes on the Saturday sessions some members have their kids along. They get to ride the trucks sometimes and think it is cool to help wash the trucks or hose. Some of those kids end up being members when they are old enough. Since it has been such a tradition here I wouldn't know where to begin to change a bad situation. But it has to start somewhere and instilling pride in the department is a first step and that begins with strong leadership.
    Vintage Firefighter: The older I get, the braver I was.

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    Sorry, resume has been proof read and finalized. No more room. Plus I dont want to come across as "Over Qualified". LOL!!!

    I guess your post was nice too........LOL!

    Love ya Bro!

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