I do not want to sound critical or cynical, but it appears that your fire officers and senior FF's are neglecting one of their most basic responsibilities--training and mentoring new members of the department. This could be a major safety issue that could result in injury or worse. You may consider having a one-on-one discussion with your chief or another fire officer to address your concerns.
If you're learning building construction and fire behavior and what works and what doesn't, then what more are you looking for. I think you should concentrate on your specific tasks and responsibilities. Maybe you are just expecting too much too soon. The decision as to what the strategy will be lies with the IC and the decision as to what the tactics will be lies with the SOP's, the IC, and/or the company officers.
I agree with Captnjak,
It does appear you may be expecting things to soon. In your post you mention Strategy and Tactics, but your forgot to mention TASKS.
Strategy is essentially the IC level and how to mitigate. Tactics would be the company officer level as to how to implement the tactics to meet the strategy. Tasks is the FFs doing the job.
I would say concentrate on mastering your primary responsibilities in the task catagory and the next steps become easier. I don't mean to be condescending, but if you think about it, if one is not proficient in doing the tasks, then tactics and strategy may have to change. Say a couple FFs are assigned to force entry and they struggle with doing so, if you can't get in etc, then the original strategy and subsequent tactics may change. Same thing with laddering, hose advancing and so forth. One can find videos and all sorts of tips out there to help hone those skills.
The other issue is that when it comes to tactics and strategy, there is much you can learn from discussions or scenarios put up, but the most important aspect is how your dept is operating and what your staffing is. The strategy and tactics will vary amongst departments dependant upon those two primary aspects. It doesn't matter what classes, sites, etc you check out, the primary focus is what your dept is doing and how they do it first.
I know how you feel about wanting to do and learn everything as fast as you can. And like you I learn better by seeing it done then doing it myself. But the one thing that you need t remember do you want to be just kinda good at everything and risk getting someone hurt or do you want to be the best you can be at a few things so when needed the IC can count on you to get the job done right and safely. For me I would rather be the best at only a few things and have everyone on my dept and any other dept we give aid to know that i can and will get what is asked of me done correctly and safely.
I would think that your department would have training drills on a regular basis. These drills should include the basics and allow for hands on training. Hose stretching, ladder placement, and the like. Reading how to do something is not as good as seeing something done. Seeing something done is not as good as actually getting to do the task. During the drill, speak up, ask to actually do the task. Ask why its done in that particular way so you come to understand your departments S.O.P. If you combine all 3, reading,seeing and doing you will master the task. A lot of new guys try to keep quite, because they think the others will think their question is dumb. If you don't ask you don't learn.
I have to agree, it seems you are lacking a strong instruction front in your department. I would recomend getting a copy of the Essentials of Firefighting 6th edition and read on it dailly. Each day pick a chapter and really devote yourself to not only reading but learning each skill presented.
Im in the local academy right now and we are using the 6th edition. Our issue is my state hasnt approved the 6th yet so all the quizes and finals have to be from the 5th edition. Really not much of a change between the two. The 6th just has a bit more "fluff" as our chief calls it. Still a great book for learning.
I noticed that. In KY the testing uses the last two Essentials so 5th edition still holds up.
This could be the issue. We all want to learn as much as possible as quickly as possible but we have to pace ourselves and know we need to take in every aspect of our training. I know my crew hate fire behavior but at the same time is it essential study for a firefighter. Give yourself some time to learn.
Great point John. There are those on the service who do remain silent about this stuff. Speak up! I agree that reading, hearing and seeing will combine to make your training that much more beneficial.
The 5th holds here but for some reason our main instructor wants us to use the 6th. We have a total of 18 recruits from 10 different depts. and as of now our chief has said if any person fails because of this she will fight the state over it no matter what dept. they are from. After looking at both books they both cover the same things but each highlight different things here and there so they are both good.