Firefighting, Leadership

Should We Train with One- and Two-Person Companies?

Issue 4 and Volume 161.

Question: Most of us realize that staffing is key to successful operations at fires. Some departments still struggle with the number of members on apparatus. If training is also key, should we train with one- and two-person companies? Staffing issues have plagued the fire service over the past decade or so and, in my opinion, will continue to do so until we reinvent ourselves as a trade. This problem can be attributed to several things: a decrease in fire incidents; economic concerns; shrinking municipalities—the citizens we protect are moving to “the burbs”; increased use of fire protection “sharing” (mutual/automatic aid); and our continuous ability to keep responding and protecting despite the cuts. (Some of these influences are good things—reduced fire rates, for example. Fire kills on average 1,500 children a year.) Until we as an industry find our new niche in the community, we will be faced with these reductions.…

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