It's not enough just to train but we need to be sure we perform tasks correctly, or as we would on scene. If your gonna do a search drill; wear a pack , have a tool and a lite, a radio, and of course wear all your PPE, "even my hood" yes even your hood. practice does not make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect.A coach i had as a kid drilled that phrase into my head. He said if your not gonna do it right your only cheating yourself. In this business it's not just yourself you will be cheating
I held a drill for my company recently , specifically we were practicing searches using the playground method as described in a training group I frequent on this site. it was a hot humid august night, I created 3 obstacles that needed some form of donning and doffing of your pack. I made the drill as reaistic as possible, blacked out masks, a reduced profile , low profile and an entanglement obstacle. I myself have participated in several drills of this type before, none of which i would consider easy. I felt this set-up was fair yet required some effort and excecution on ones part.
I had 5 teams of 2 participate.A few others gave weak excuses as reasons not to participate. 1 group finished in under 20 minutes which i felt was about right. No other team finished. one team got within 5 feet of the end but it took over 30 minutes. well past what their air pack would have allowed in a real fire. everyone else quit no more than halfway through. I heard complaints that it was too hard, too hot, or I should have made it shorter. I was also challenged, many said I couldn't finish. so i let them reroute the rope while i was blindfolded, and I finished in about 20 minutes. Believe me they made it much harder than I had, and I proved to them that it could be done.
Despite the excuses most of the members felt it was one of the best drills they had ever done, because it really challenged them. The point is that when we respond rarely is it 60 degrees and sunny. usually we are dealing with some element of weather; heat, cold,rain ,snow, at night down a muddy embankment,as well as high levels of emotional stress as well whatever it may be you need to be prepared. What we do as firefighters is by nature hard. Add in these and other elemnts, and it is imperative that we train ourselves to operate at a high level no matter what the situation.