I have a concern that maybe someone else has come across.
We have set training nights with a schedule put out a month inadvance. Most everyone on the department understands this and follows the standard of participating in what is being taught that night. There are a couple on my department who think that they are above the training, even if its basic medical review, and "do their own thing" I feel that even if its just a basic review of pumps, medical equipment or wild land suppression everyone could benefit from the class. How can we go about getting everyone to participate without stepping on toes?

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If you have it in your SOGs or SOPs that members must attend scheduled training, then they have to attend. If they don't attend, discipline them accordingly. Sometimes you have to step on toes & createe a few enemies. This is a profession that training & review of operations & tatctics might just save their life one day. If they feel thta it is beneath them, ask them to run the training instead of taking it. Let them be in charge & demonstrate their knowledge. If they are blowing smoke up your a__ about them knowing the training, then this will show it. If they know what they are doing & feel confident about their abilities, then they should have no trouble sharing their knowledge.
In my dept. I only let the membership know what the training is going to be when it is on mandatory topics ( in-house-essentials, in-house pump ops, etc.). As for other sessions, they have to show up to find out. This keeps them from picking nights to show up by, the training topics.
As for stepping on toes, unfortunately you can't keep everybody happy. Be firm in your decisions and make sure any precedents set, are fair and for the good of the dept.
Also set up scenerios once in awhile, and make sure the membership doesn't know when you do it. I use mock MVA's and mock structure fires ( for example) , this is alot of fun, and also shows who knows what they are doing and who doesn't. When training starts, I tell my group the scenerio, and then let them go about it as if it was a real call. Afterwards critique it and let eveybody have a say.
I agree with both replies on this subject, I have run into this a lot. As well as talking to other trainers I know that they deal with the same problem you are dealing with. It's just not your station that is for sure. When we get a Car for Auto-Ex I will use it for a couple of trainings, all new firefighters must know what it's like to be the victim before being the one who rescues. I switch around and then use the senior firefighters to be the victim so that they can see and make sure that the new firefighters are hitting all the bench marks when doing there job. This gives me more eyes when doing the training.

Also a big key factor I have found instead of trying to keep 25 firefighters interested on one topic, I may set up to as many as four stations. Split the 25 firefighters into 4 teams and allow them to go through all stations. This helps me out with those who like to sit back and know that they don't have to join in cause it may take to long to put 25 firefighters through one event.

Also allows me to use those who normally don't participate, to be in a role to run one of the different events. Also will put up a list of topics and allow each firefighter to put there name beside it, and allow them to do a presentation on the topic. This frees me up as well as each firefighter gets to see how hard it is sometimes to keep the class interest.

Hope that helps out.....

WOW....This sounds so familiar. We are a very small rural Volly Dept, with a 25 man roster and about 5 of those are the only ones involved with what goes on. Believe it or not, we never had By-Laws or SOG'S until a month ago. I got them into place. It was basiclly a "good ole boy" run Dept up to a year and a half ago. We now have a Chief not from the area who is helping me steer us in the right direction. Its hard to be to strict as its hard enough to keep people on. In our By-Laws I stated that we require so many hours of training on the Dept. If you DO NOT complete these hours, you are very limited as to what you will be allowed to do. Again, we are in the process of going in the right direction, its not going to happen overnite, but we are wiening them in slowly and it seems to be working very well. Some of our guys are seeing the advantages of training more, and when they take more of an interest, so does one other person and so on. We finally got the dont show up if you have drinking policy going about a year and half ago, some people griped at first, but it hasnt happenned, and they now stay sober or stay home. Nobody bitches about it anymore, they actually seen the light and understand. Take your time and slowly bring things in. It seems to be working for us.
I find it difficult especially with some of the other officers to get them involved in training, and everyone always has an excuse of something else to do. some of the newer people have found that I make the trainings interesting and make room for participation. Most of the dept, I wish wasn't a lost cause but still fighting the battle. If they miss more than 3 consecutive trainings though they get a stern letter from the board with probationary status and them during a 60 day grace period if they screw up they get voted off. Volunteer depts need training too.
First off, you have to have the Cheifs support (one with brass balls). The department must put into place rules and reg requiring that eac h member receive a minimum number of hours training each year (done quarterly). If they sign into class but go to the bay or leave the class without perticipating they only get credit for the time they perticipate. This must be inforced evenly by the Chief and his officers. You will step on toes, regretably sometimes that is the only way you will get some folks attention. If this requirement is broken into 1/4 's and they don't meet the requirement they are put on probation, just like any other infraction, and during that time they loose the benefits you give to a member in good standing. At the end of the quarter, when they see they only accrude time an hour at a time, and get put on probation, they usually will respond. They will grip, but will usually begin complying. They will fall inline or quit. If they quit, you don't need them anyway because they were dead weight, and you only have so much time to be productive. Spend your energy on those that want to learn and not the dead beats. A Chief has to have a firm and even hand with everyone. An Assistant Cheif needs to be the fixer. The one that provides a shoulder for the whinners.
Oh yea, what's good for the goose is good for the gander. Volunteer or paid, they need to act the way they profess to be. We are PROFESSIONALS !
This is EXACTLY what we did on our department. And so far, it has worked wonders...
I dont know how it is in your state, but here in Ohio, fire fighters have to have so many hours of training every year now. Is that how it is in your state?? If so, then then they have to participate in the training in order to get the credited training hours required by state.. If they dont come then its their falt for not having the credit hours required by state to keep their card for fire fighting..
I know what you are going through. We did have that hear in my department also. But when I became training officer last year, I wanted to provide more than my predicesors. What I did to eliminate that standing in the corner because I dont need this training attitude, is devised what I call training sheet. Every training I type up a sheet for that event. It will state the type of training as the heading. Then it goes on to discribe what I want every peronnel to do. Every thing from checking thier PPE from damage a wear to using eye protection. Just itemize out your training. Then I review the sheet with the department before training that way they know what to expect. This also helps put systems in place if you lack that. But ALLWAYS follow you SOP's and SOG's when doing this. Then I simply grade each member on a Pass or Fail method. I have them sign and date the sheet and it goes into file for proof that they had the training shall a event arise that OASHA starts to looks around. By having them sign and date, and grading each member, this eliminated members standing around and watch others train and still getting credit. It's simple, either do the training or dont get credited for it. It really helped our department, enthusiasum is high, because they know what to expect beforhand. Also have fun, make thing fun, but still keep in mind it is training and education. I can email a sample of what I did to anyone who would like to see my method here. Try it. It may work for you.
Have them help teach the training session, That keeps them involved and you actually learn more by teaching!!
Sometimes toes need stepped on! What you need to do is identify the reason those individuals don't feel they need to attend the training you're providing. If they are above the level being taught then try to involve them into the class as co-instructors. It's always nice to have extra instructors, especially when performing hand-on training. If they can't see the importance of all members attending training then maybe try not stepping on toes, but remove their feet from the department.


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