So many times when I see and do training, we get stuck in a rut by doing one task. For instance, when we have a guy ready to take the operators seat, we go to a parking lot, pull a cross lay and pump.  Granted, he has to hook to the hydrant, but it is pretty much a bread and butter training evolution that is done over and over again.  Not that it’s not important, but rather, can we make it more interesting?

Here is an example of what I like to call “multi-tasking” training.  The person running the truck is going to be promoted to operator within the next week or so.  Instead of just putting the stick in the air and twirling it around and flowing water out the end of it, why not make it an evolution that everyone can be a part of.

What we did here was have the new operator actually practice placing the ladder on a building with an experienced operator at his side.  This was a good time for the new operator to get familiar with and comfortable placing the stick.

This was more than just putting it up there, he really had to get it right and take into account working firefighters and water flow since we were adding to the evolution.

Next, we had three guys go to the roof as a team.  One thing that two of them had never done was connect to and work off of the stand pipe connection from the tip.  This connection is next to the nozzle with a butterfly valve.  It gave the crew an opportunity to learn the workings of shutting off the nozzle valve and opening the butterfly valve before asking for water.

The crew made their way up the ladder, one with the hose and nozzle and the other was working on the valves. The third firefighter took the roof ladder to the first two for them to place it on the peak for operations.  The line we used was a 1 3/4 inch line, but you could make it what ever you wanted.

Once the roof ladder was placed the crew advanced the line to the peak and called for water. The firefighters locked in with their personal harnesses and flowed water.

In addition, we practiced working off the roof ladder to simulate ventilation operations.  The biggest benefit of this drill was the increased confidence in the harness and the ability to know and understand the steps to use the valve on the end of the stick for simulated stand pipe operations.

The advantage of this drill was the ability accomplish more than one task in a short time. This drill took about 45 minutes to perform with one company.

The new operator was required to set up the ladder, place it and flow water to a hand line from the tip.  In addition, he got used to some noise at the turntable during operations.

The firefighters on the roof were able to get familiar with the connection at the tip in a non-stress environment and have a better understanding of how many people are really needed in these situations.

They also got not only nozzle time, but roof time as well and being comfortable handling tools and hose on and off the ladder.

We were able to accomplish a great deal in a short amount of time.  This “multi-tasking” method has worked very well for us in the past.  Learn to use your time wisely and keep things fresh.

Train hard and stay safe.

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There is another way. We all train for all tasks, anyone can be tasked with any particular job at a fire (those they are trained for). The way we train, everyone does wildfire as the first step, then take on other training until they have it all. At a structure based training session, those who only have wildfire qualification are likely to be placed on external structure jobs, puts the theory into some safe practice.

People who train to my Brigade risk profile (structure) will become a pump operatore long before they are likely to become a vehicle driver. That gives us flexibility. Although it's the norm that the driver will be the pumpy, it doesn't always happen and it doesn't have to.

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