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Monthly Archives: January 2012

Once I started to post my thoughts and ideas on the video channel, firefighterco22 on youtube.com, I started to neglect this resource. Well this morning I came up with a workout to start getting prepared for the Combat Challenge.

PUSH: 4 rounds 4 movements @ 8 reps
Round 1: The first round is not timed.
Perform 8 Kettlebell Snatches with a small to moderate weight (I suggest 25 or 35)
Perform 8 Pull ups
Perform 8 Deadlift (65 – 85lbs)
Perform 8 Plate Rows (45lbs see ENGINECO22.NET Episode 2 for this)
Adjust up or down based on how that felt. Use good clean form on all movements.

Now Round 2,3, 4:
Perform same reps and movements, using adjust weight if this was needed. Start the clock, perform the this round  all out and get the time. Log it then REST FOR THIS AMOUNT OF TIME. If you complete round 2 in 1:45 then you rest for 1:45. When the rest period is over start round 3, log the time that it takes to complete, once again rest that time. Complete round 4.

After completing all rounds keep your best time. This is the time to beat. If you felt the weight was too heavy, don’t change it now, just try to decrease your time. If you need to increase the weight add 5lbs.

After 3-4 sessions of performing this add gear, then SCBA and so on. Your trying to stay at or below your target time.

Give it a go! If you have questions stand by, as I see a video post coming soo regarding this. Post you thoughts and feelings understand this post.

As always – See you on the training ground, and we’ll see you on the fireground.

Two phrases heard frequently in the Fire Service, “We will never” and “We have always”,
are ignorant statements and are just not true. In a profession that constantly
encounters new situations, why do we speak in absolutes? In the previous post, I
discussed Training Warning Flags. The first posed question was, Does your training staff (Training Officers, Instructors, and Senior Firefighters) feel responsible for the performance of their students?

This is such an important aspect to the sum of our performance (Performance
= experience + ability + desire)
. When our leaders, not just Officers,
exhibit the traits of seeking excellence, we are able to instill those values
into the regular members. Just as we want our people to feel they have
ownership, our training staff should have this sensation as well. Personally, I
cannot wait to stand up in front of the group and teach. Having the ability to
find information then pass it on is an amazing feeling. Most members of the
Fire Service have unfortunately been in the classroom or training ground with
those that do not have that same feeling. Have you ever been sitting in a class
and hear things like:

  • “You won’t ever use this, but I have to teach it
    to you.”
  • “Most of what this class is about you‘ll never
    use.”
  • “We will never see this happen here.”
  • “That’s just the way we’ve always done it.”

This is either lack of interest
in the subject matter or lack of abilities. Some times the Instructor may be
the best for the job or have all the knowledge he possibly can, but is just
going through the motions. Right here I am going steal a statement from someone else, “Accidentally Successful”. This regularly is the task of putting out the fire. Did we truly engage in the proper methods and techniques to put the fire out or did the fire, with a little outside influence go out. Now this is in the eye of the beholder. To the public we serve, we did our job. Look at it from the inside. Did success occur on execution of tactics
or did we simple apply outside influence to alter the situation? Over time,
those same actions create a confidence with our system. If nine of ten times
the fire goes out because we applied tactic “X”. Will we behave in the same
manner the tenth time? The answer is yes, because it has always worked for us. What
will happen the tenth time and when the situation is not the same as the first
nine; we still drift to the same tactic based on past success.

“Confidence is the illusion born of accidental success.” – Thomas Kempis. For me
what Kempis’s’ statement means, if I always come out ahead by performing an
action in a certain manner, I will be ignorant to what is around me. Think of
it as doing every task with blinders on. Confidence is not a bad trait, though
sometimes it can blind you. Confidence should come through repetition and
application. The line “practice until you cannot get it wrong” comes to
mind. Overconfidence in our equipment can also be a smoke screen. A more recent
example of this is our structural turnout gear. Unfortunately, it has
weaknesses. Combine that with longer duration SCBA together; we can get deeper
into hostile territory for longer. Although we should be confident that our
gear does protect us, keep in mind the limitations. Confidence’s foe of course
is complacency. Human errors will occur and we will always be fallible. The
question is, to what consequence and severity? Always we must guard against
overconfidence and complacency. Our training program will help against these
human flaws. Even if water will forever put the fire out, the manner in which
we perform this basic task will constantly evolve.

Another aspect of overconfidence is increased risk. Risk = (severity of consequences x possibility). The most severe consequence we face in the Fire Service is death, whether our customer or our own. Apply to the equation, inflated confidence; an increase to the possibility of an event occurs. Some view Vent Enter Search as a high-risk evolution. It can be, however when practiced and regarded with respect, the risk is lower. When you
feel an evolution is routine the risk indicators diminish and the possibility
increases with the lowered defenses. A routine fire alarm or investigation is
ripe with complacency. “The garbage doesn’t get surprised when he turns the
corner to find trash, so don’t be surprised to find fire. Expect fire every
run.” – Lt. Andy Fredricks (R.I.P.)

As mentioned earlier, “we always” and “we never” are absolutes. We simply cannot deal with absolutes in the Fire Service. All of us probably have one example of a run where we
thought, “Never thought I’d see that.” Just as we cannot predict when the alarm
will sound, we will never foresee every situation.

One last trait to instill in those that teach is resourcefulness. Can you come up with the resources that are not readily available or even exist? A department may be wealthy on
resources but how do they apply them to the training? Resourcefulness is
thinking outside the box, or even knowing there is no box. As a subculture, the
fire service is a leader in resourcefulness. Look at our tools and equipment.
Give a Firefighter a tool and not only will he learn to use it, he will make it
work for something else. Our trainers should be capable of finding training
opportunities in the in-signifgant or trivial situations. Not every class has
to be an 8-hour live burn, rapid intervention, confined space HAZMAT scenario.
Simply showing a different way of donning your gear makes a huge impact on our
abilities. Even if the training topics are of very low possibility, be
resourceful and show the students how it can apply to something they perform
frequently. Our performance to any situation is the sum of our desire to be
there, the experiences of our past and the abilities we have.

So how do we combat all this? Take a good hard look at your training program. Do you just meet the standards or are you setting new standards? Does your membership feel they “get
something” out of training? When asked what they learned do they reply “fire
stuff”? Do you find your students out on the apparatus floor practicing what
you just taught? Take a few minutes to engage or at least give them a vehicle
for voicing their thoughts on training. During the month of November, I hold a
Training Development Meeting. This is open to all personnel and they are encouraged
to give feedback on the last 12 months of training. An open discussion about
why we performed the training and I explain how it all fits into the big
picture. Discuss where we are going from here and upcoming training. Of course
get some information from them, ask what they would like to see and how it
could be conducted. I am fortunate to be both the Training Officer and a front
line Firefighter. Being on the fire ground I can see our weakness and strength,
also, how training has worked and what will not.

The face of the Fire Service is not changing all that much. The bottom line is helping our community and our fellow man. We will always rise to the occasion and do what we can. The key ingredient that is changing is the men and women under the helmet, our greatest
resource.  As Fire Service Leaders, we have to feel responsible for the performance of our students; in fact, we should take that same stance with everyone.

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