This past Fall we were doing a Survival class and one of the drills we do is the “following the coupling” drill. It is one of the most basic of drills and is well known throughout the fire service. We have posted on this drill before on using a cut piece of hose to hand to your firefighters and have them tell you which way would be back to the truck.

We get comment about how basic this drill this and some like to try and shrug it off. Well, as we all know, we must master the basics. Like in athletics, we building the fundamentals and gradually move to more advance skills that expand on those fundamental skills. On the surface these skills are very basic but look a little harder; we can make these advanced drills easily that will incorporate the basic skill and more advanced techniques.

This is true for any drills, start with the most basic and when mastery is achieved, add to the drill and make it more advanced. Do this in steps and before you know it you have an expanded drill that will challenge the most seasoned firefighter.

So, for this example of drill progression we will use the “follow the coupling” drill. We start wtih one firefighter on a charged hose line. Black them out or in a smoked room, put them on the line somewhere in the middle. Have them find the coupling and make their way out. Easy enough.

Now, we want to build in the parameters for calling a Mayday, so we have them call the Mayday using LUNAR and they must communicate with command as they find their way out by “following the coupling.” Now they have to think about more than just following the coupling but the basic skill is still being used.

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You get the idea. Here is how this drill can progress:

-One firefighter lost off of the line, one on the line. The one on the line verbally leads the lost firefighter to the line and they follow the coupling out.

-One firefighter has an air issue, they can buddy breath on the way out following the coupling.

-A downed firefighter on the line and his crew packages, fixes the air and removes him following the coupling out.

So, you can see that we can expand on this drill. Your only limited by your imagination and creativeness. Use caution not to make so unrealistic that it frustrates your firefighters though. It doesn’t take much to make a drill challenging; keep it simple.

Have a Blessed and Safe New Year and thanks for all of the support this year.

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