Welcome to FireEngineering.com’s new Weekly Drill section. Based on Howard A. Chatterton’s book, Volunteer Training Drills-A Year of Weekly Drills (published by Fire Engineering), the drills you find here are summaries of Chatterton’s weekly drills that fire departments can conduct during the span of a year.
Each week you’ll find a new drill summary. As you’ll see, conducting a drill is not as simple as assembling a group of firefighters, giving them a quick rundown of what is to take place, and then telling them to have at it. To properly conduct a drill, a good deal of planning is required, including figuring the logistics of the drill, choosing a location, ensuring you’re allowed to use the location, and evaluating the safety of the location, just to name a few.
Before commencing with the drills, it’s important to go over some guidelines for the training officer and safety officers. According to Chatterton, ensuring safety is key. “A drill is a controlled situation. You must provide that control,” he comments.
First, some basics:
- Use the incident command system. If you use it routinely, it will become automatic in your operations.
- For every drill, establish a signal whereby everyone stops in place when the training officer or safety officer sounds the signal. Chatterton suggests a whistle.
- Be prepared to establish and enforce a rule prohibiting horseplay during a drill.
- Control spectators by establishing a spectator area.
- Think carefully about the location of your drill.
- Think carefully about your drill’s location again.
- Consider the weather.
- Assign a safety officer (SO). Provide the SO with a checklist for monitoring the drill. Use it at every drill and improve on it.
- Have a plan for each drill and do not deviate from it.
- Consider the hazards inherent to the drill.
- Read the outline and reference material ahead of time.
- Live burns should only be conducted in a fire training facility under the guidance of certified instructors.
- Consider posting signs reading “Fire Department Training.”
- Have a backup drill ready to go in case of a problem with the weather, location, or expected guest speaker.
Safety Officer Checklist
A drill safety officer’s checklist should include the following items but can include more, depending on the drill you are conducting:
- Safety Apparel
- Member Safety
- Lifting and Ladders
The training officer should assign additional safety officers as needed.
For more information on the above items and an expanded safety officer checklist, visit http://store.yahoo.com/pennwell/voltraindril.html to purchase Volunteer Training Drills-A Year of Weekly Drills.