What Makes Up an Effective Firefighting Training Program?

Developing a comprehensive program for ongoing firefighter training can be difficult. Knowing what skills or topics to cover and how to make the best use of limited time is crucial. All fire service leaders understand the importance of ongoing training for their members. However, training officers are often working with limited funding, time, and resources. They must design a training program that is the most effective and efficient for their members and their service area.

In recent years, there has been more discussion about how these programs can be improved with current knowledge and technology, in order to maximize the safety and efficiency of these operations. Here are some of the most-discussed topics.

What Needs Improvement?

Consider what skills and knowledge are lacking or need improvement, those skills that are not used frequently or need refreshing. Think about incidents in your service areas that are low frequency but high risk for the community or your members. If or when one of these incidents do happen, members must be fully prepared.

If you cannot remember the last time SCBA was used, this would be good for the training schedule. How about long bone traction or delivering a baby?  Members must be able to perform without delay for a “run under” accident. Is each member current with all aspects of hybrid or electric vehicles? If not, add it to the program.

Ask members what they feel is necessary or need a refresher on. In a large department this may not work well, but you may be able to inquire with the company officers or district chiefs. A well-done post-incident analysis can also pinpoint areas in need of improvement.

New Skills and Technologies

Do members know how all new tools, techniques, or technology works, how to operate it, and, how to use it in the real world? Be sure to add this in training.

What about knowledge of modern fire attack concepts? These are relatively new techniques and should be thoroughly understood before using. Unmanned drones are also quite new and have proven very effective in managing emergency incidents. All members expected to operate these should know the abilities and uses.

Do you have a new apparatus? Driving vehicles is the largest liability exposure a department encounters. Even if someone is a very competent driver,  they must know that a new apparatus may operate differently. Everyone who will be operating it must train with the new vehicle before being allowed to handle it.

Further Considerations

Training should be about providing the most effective and efficient customer service as safely and effectively as possible. We must train to be the best we can be, not just to check off boxes. You are well trained if you can perform your duties with unconscious competence. This means that a firefighter has trained sufficiently in order to carry out their duties instinctively.

After identifying the training needs for your department, put them on a calendar to ensure that the topics are covered. Remember that needs and conditions fluctuate, so allow for accommodation. Gather the resources needed and assign instructors.

Firefighters perform based off their training, so make sure your program makes firefighters safe, efficient, and effective.


About Provident Insurance Programs

With roots dating back to 1902, Provident Insurance Programs is an insurance agency that serves paid and volunteer firefighters in addition to emergency medical responders with numerous custom-tailored insurance programs. We’ve also extended our expertise and experience to offer benefit plans and coverages to participant groups as well as Transportation Benefits. We are committed to continuing to provide superior customer service, and would be happy to speak with you to provide further information. Give us a call today at (855) 201-8880 to speak with one of our representatives.