I got to thinking about what training evolutions are the most critical for the Probie firefighter (point one: I'm not talking about Firefighter 1, that's a given, point two: the first one who pipes up with "ALL training is critical" is going to get smacked in the head with a dirty sock---we already know that) ---meaning, if YOU were the Training Officer and you just landed yourself a rookie, which training programs would be in your "Top 10" to get him or her started.
First and foremost I would have the probie learning where each and every tool/piece of equipment is on the apparatus. I would also teach dressing a hydrant. I'm also big on knots and which ones to tie for passing certain equipment up to a bucket, roof, etc. A good thing to practice before firefighter I is donning gear, quickly and properly. These things are about as basic as you can get for someone that can't go in yet. It's good stuff for probies to learn because not only does it make them of value on the scene, it lets them get involved and feel useful as well. This in turn will keep them interested until they can go inside. Also, with the new guys (or girls) as tool toters and hydrant guys (or girls), that frees up the hands of the more experienced firefighters to do the work inside.
Lets make sure you know the in and out of the SCBA, not just putting it on put what to do if something should go wrong, such as "High Pressure Line", "Face Shield", "Air Bottle, "Harness", take the air pack apart and then put it back together in the dark and eyes closed. You never know. I sure hope you did bring a tool and I don't mean a hammer, plyers, etc. You know what I mean, I hope.
1) what tools are where on the truck... (no one taught me this, i just had alot of downtime in my first summer, so i was always looking in compartments and doing equipment checks)
2) Dressing a Hydrant... (odds are no-one wants to hit the hydrant when there's a fire to fight.)
3)Donning gear... (definitely something that needs to be taught right of the bat.)
4)SCBA... (this one is self explanatory)
5)Basic Search Techniques... (even if they have yet to take FF1, its always good to get a head start.)
6)Hose Handling... (if your department does their own hose testing, this is a good time to also encompass a drill, although hose handling can be done at anytime, its more convenient when all the hose is out of the bed... PLUS, you can teach em how to pack hose properly)
7)Ground Ladders/Venting. (important to every fire operation, ground ladders and venting will help give more responsibility to probies)
8)at this point i'd start covering the roles of each apparatus at a fire... truck ops, engine ops, and what their individual role might be... making sure to cover what tools to take for specific tasks...
EXTRA 9) Extrication... If your department covers a higway, or just has alot of MVAs Practice extrication.
thats about all i can think of off the top of my head, but theres obviously alot more
I might be retarded, but I think R.I.T. evolutions are critical. Not that a probie would be in the position to stand R.I.T., but the training shows not only the skills of "truckmanship", (is that a word?), but also gives an insight into the types of pitfalls firefighters find themselves in and how to look for the signs to be better able to avoid them. Those who master the basics never have to "go back to them". (author unknown)
I am going to approach this from the New York State point of view so guide yourselves accordingly. The first thing that any probie needs to know is what is expected of them, a familiarization tour at least of the department SOP's/SOG's. After that they need to know what is on each apparatus and where. My probie years were spent being owned by the pump operator as his go-fer. Now some of you may think that this part sucks because you don't get to do anything meaningful, but someone that can grab a tool and get it onto the scene, or change out an air pack safely but in a timely manner is worth their weight in gold.
Now by New York standards an entry firefighter is to have a minimum of 15 hours of OSHA/PESH training, this is in the same categories that regular FF's have to have their 8 hour annual refresher, just more in depth. Should you want the actual breakdowns drop me note and I'll send them to you.
For those of you who don't belong to a proactive department, New York State Firefighters Association now has the eight hour OHSA/PESH training available online. It only costs $ 9.00 if you are a FASNY member and $19.00 if you are not a FASNY member but you get your first year membership due with that $19.00. While I haven't done it yet my experience is that a FASNY sponsored class rates right next to a N.Y.S. course in covering all the bases. Basically if you walk away from FASNY training and feel you didn't learn something you probably weren't paying attention.
Having said that, let me say that I am just a member of FASNY and don't get a dime for plugging them, but I have been to a feather merchant class or two and FASNY doesn't offer those. If interested here is their web site. http://www.fasny.com/.
As to water guide yourself accordingly to whether you are metro and have lots of hydrants or are rural and you need to know about ponds, drafting, and water relays. You must know both because you will end up needing to use both but know what you use at home first. Remember just because you are a probie doesn't mean that at 10:30 in the morning you won't be the second or third responder that shows up when the tones go off.
As a parting thought I'll leave you with a piece of wisdom that comes from the P.F.D. (Phoenix F.D.)
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
We will risk ourselves a lot within a structured plan, to save A SAVEABLE LIFE.
We will risk ourselves a little within a structured plan, to save SAVEABLE PROPERTY.
We wont risk ourselves at all to save lives or property, that are ALREADY LOST.
Should you need an example of the above I refer you to District Fire Chief Michael O. McNamee of the Worcester MA. Fire Department. He is credited with saving 20 FF's lives when he made the call to stop sending in crews to look for the six brothers that died in the Worcester Cold Storage Fire of December 3rd 1999, (R.I.P.) He showed the courage to make a very difficult call that any of us who have ever had the honour of wearing a white helmet lose sleep over.
I agree with Bob on this one -- learning about SCBA emergencies is imperative. There were a lot of things that I didn't learn until SCBA Confidence/Smoke Divers that I probably should have learned a lot sooner.
well to be honest i am a probie 4th month on. what i see and do is prolly not critical but i thought you all may agree.
1. scba training and ppe this stuff saves our bacon day in day out, and useing your bottles is huge to, for instance ive never donned a scba im in ff1 right now and ive yet to breath out of a bottle let alone use it correctly and effectively. i think probies should be given a minimum of say 5 hours on a bottle before ever seeing a fire. (at least here, our fire tend to be very violent and hot because alot of them are very old and balloon type construction) so knowing your gear is a life saver literally.
2. knowing your truck, knowing what you need to do and when to do it.rather its running the k-12 say to the guys up front or takeing the uncharged line and placing for a interior attack know how and know when so its instinctual.
3. tool placement, we usually get tools for the more experienced guys so knowing your tool placement will become a huge advantage to you because you not going to have to ask and both people as there working or trying to manage the scene.
4. radio detail, knowing your radio signals. whether its a 10-50 or its a box knowing what and the way to say and talk on the radio is pretty big around here.
5. working with your crew most new probies aren't and wont have good relations with the people because the trust factor isn't there work and train with your crew or department as much as you can to learn,grow,experience and earn there trust and in return learn from them.
these are the first things i was shown. kinda funny in that order too. i've been on dept. less then a year and what was not drilled in my head that made me feel uncomfortable when i was in a situation is radio usage. i was fully trained on verbage. please make sure you fill us in on witch channels are for dispatch, fire grounds, and traffic not to mention mutual aid channels, uhf, vhf, etc. just becouse were probies you use us for whatever gets thrown your way. you know what i mean capts. an lts. we are the closest ones to the raido when your hands are full.