While speaking with a member of a neighboring department, I couldn't help noticing his references to "the ole days". He just couldn't understand why in the fire service today, we do the things that we do...Specifically regarding training."Well back in the old days we didn't even wear those stupid masks, let alone spend all that time training!", is pretty much how the conversation began. This view is shared by many firefighters in my area. I guess you could say I've made it somewhat of my personal mission to try to get them to understand.
I asked the man when the last time he had responded to a actual fire was. "Last Year." is the answer I received. When I asked him what it was that he did at that fire, he hesitated. Now, I wasn't attempting to be disrespectful or question his dedication to the fire service. But even I knew the answer to the question. Nothing! It's not because he didn't care or that he didnt want to help. He Couldn't! He didn't know what to do.
The fire service today is an ever changing world. You must adapt and overcome to survive. This dosen't sit well with many long time members. What they have to realize is that these adaptations are being done to make our "Jobs" safer.
We must train longer and harder on the things that we don't do often so that when the time comes that we need those skills, we are ready to go. How could you possibly expect to know what to do at a house fire if your department runs 1 or 2 a year and you don't train for them? Taking the advanced firefighter class 5 years ago does not qualify you to run into a burning building today if you haven't trained regularly!
Things change, equipment changes, and maybe the most important of all, people change. Training builds your strength as a team. When all hell breaks loose... I want a seasoned team ready to go.
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