Firefighter Training, Firefighting

Rescue Resiliency: Training for the Mental Assault of Acute Stress

Issue 12 and Volume 167.

By MATT BROKAW The traditional form of instruction among fire departments nationwide involves three common threads: classroom, hands-on training, and skill checkoffs. We all have to start somewhere, and this standard form of education is the basic requirement for becoming a firefighter. Although it is not wrong to train on these three forms of traditional learning, too many circumstances exist where skills are only trained on to sufficiently pass a check sheet, and that is simply not enough. Unfortunately, you cannot count on these skills in times of great stress and pressure. In recent years, the fire service has slowly begun to look at how thinking occurs on scene. We hear terms like “situational awareness,” “combat readiness,” “recognition primed decision making,” and “Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act (OODA) loops,” among others. I am a fan and follower of these terms; all these concepts point to a cultural shift that is…

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