Passing on history is important because “those who do not know the past are condemned to repeat it.” This is of particular relevance to us firefighters as most of our fire codes and standards were developed in reaction to tragedy. When I was a junior firefighter, our Chief developed an excellent program for teaching the history of major fires and their impact on today’s landscape. He wrote the names of 15 to 20 major fires on pieces of paper and put them in a bowl. We each drew the name of a fire out of the bowl and were instructed to research what, where, and when the fire occurred, as well as standards, codes, and tactics attributed to it. At the start of each subsequent dril…
The dreaded radio operations drill. We have all sat through endless powerpoint slides with pictures of radios and sample communications in quotation marks that struggles to hold our attention. So it may be surprising that one of the best classes I’ve ever taken covered basic radio use, but with a twist.
It is critical that firefighters operate with core competencies at 100%.However, many of our responsibilities are performed in a high risk, low volume environment. As a result, responsibility for basic skill maintenance falls heavily on training. The firefighter relay race is a creative way to practice multiple competencies at once, as well as incorporate other secondary skills like teamwork and communication.
Extrication is an important skill, so we must be comfortable with these tools. However, we don’t always have cars to cut up. Alternate between using the spreaders and cutters to stack Styrofoam (or plastic) cups into a triangular pyramid.
In my opinion, the halligan is the fireman’s best tool. One of my favorite ways to use the halligan is to gain leverage when I need to pry or lift something off the ground.
Throughout my career as a volunteer firefighter, I’ve made it a point to open up a compartment door every single time I have been to my firehouse. Let’s instill that culture throughout our fire departments.