Hi all, im an assistant chief of a rural fire company and im looking for some drill ideas if anyone has any.


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Get 'em used to their masks and tanks. Do drills that require them to be proficient using the scba. Practice does more than train. Comfort in the mask will make better ff. Knowing how it works and how long they can work will help them in its use and there abilities. Start simple, don't judge, teach, simple use, how it works, how to change the bottle, how to fill the bottle, how to clean it, buddy breathing, walk before they run, include every firefighter regardless of rank or time on the dept., emphasize teamwork, play safe, everyone who may respond should participate in every drill, work with those less proficient, use the meeting room, full ppe, create a maze, turnout the light or darken the mask, learn to feel and listen. Remember it is not a test it is designed to help everyone be more efficient using the equipment

The best drills practice those skills that your department rarely uses. If you live in an urban area maybe do rural water supply. Here are some things my department has done preveously.

Advancing hose lines: We practiced riding in on the engine at our training ground and advancing minute man and new york lays into our burn trailer, up steps, up ladders, and the such. Add some common obsticles.

SCBA donning, this is a key drill, practice doing it quickly and correctly. You can combine this with advancing a hose line as well.

Search and rescue maze. This can easily be done in your station or maybe an old warehouse. Darken the room and hide a rescue dummy somewhere and send in crews to search for the dummy and bring it out while breathing air. To make it harder you could have your guys use only their hands by putting their hood on backwards over their mask.

There are many different things you can do. But practice skills that you do not use as often as well as those you use a lot to make sure people keep up on their skills.

I have to ask....  What is a New York lay?

The first you need to do is what has been called a skills inventory, or in other words, a compelte list of skills that your department performs or could need to perform based on occuapncies, including mutual aid, weather, topography and the services your department provides. This list may be quite long. 


The first area or skills you need to identify is the everyday, or the bread and butter skills. These skills will be your department's most basic skills that are rountinely performed, and should receive the most attention when it comes to training. Yes, you likely do them all the time but that does not mean they don't need to be trained on. These may be skills like pooping a car door with hand tools, pulling 1 3/4" lines, performing residental forcible entry, search and ventilation or brush fire operations.


Next, identify the skills on the list that you use on an occasional basis. These are the skills that are important, but are not the everyday skills. These may be skills such as vehicle extrication with hydralic tools, using air bags,  2 1/2" operations or master stream operations, large area/commercial search operations, relay pumping or other skills that will come to play in a major MVA or a major/lcommercial structural fire, but generally are not used in that everyday fire or MVA . Skills like popping the car door with hand tools or pulling the crosslays on a room (or two) contents fire. These are skills that also require a fair amount of attention.


For us, industrial operations and firefighting at gas well sites fall into this area. While they are infrequent events, we do run on them once or twice a year, so we do have to give them attention. One thing that works in our favor is that once a year, about an hour west in TX, they have a very well run industrial fire school with multiple burns during the course of one night. We use this class, in addition to some in-house stuff, to train on this aspect of our operations. We also have to train on tornado response, as we are at the southern end of tornado alley. Though we can go several years between events, they are not unlikely in our area, and we do train on residental collapse and rescue operations as it's always a possibility here.


I would say, that IMO, rapid operations and firefighter rescue, and maybe even more importantly, firefighter survival and Pre-mayday recognition or situational awareness training, probably fall into this area.


Finally, place those skills that are very rarely used or skills that have not been used, but based on a situation or occupancy in your area, could be used, into the final catagory. These may even be the skills that you want to assign to special weekend in-house training or outside fire schools to, depending on your training schedule and the amount of training time available.These are the skills that yes, you need to spend time on, but you have to remember, these should be the skills that you will you very rarely, or are skills specific to a specific ebevent or building, so how much time can your department afford to spend on them?

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