Firefighter Training Quotes

Longtime Fire Engineering contributor Forest Reeder has accumulated many thoughts on the value of firefighter training over the years, and he’s agreed to share them with us for the 2014 Firefighter Safety and Health Week.

“Training Today for Safety and Survival Tomorrow”

Al Schlick

Wauconda Fire District

Duty, Pride, Tradition — taken from “EE”

Play like a champion today — Train like a champion today and every day (borrowed from ND)

Brotherhood is not a Velcro patch

Good to great is determined by effort

Chief Jim Grady III

Frankfort FPD

Excellence Through Training

Capt Joe Knitter, So Milwaukee FD

“Professionalism is an attitude not a job status”

Alan E. Joos, EFO, MS, MIFireE

“A good firefighter knows how, an educated firefighter knows why.”

Chris Walker

Captain/ Instructor

Division of Training & Development

Fort Wayne Fire Department

Good enough is not good enough

Practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect. (Vince Lombardi)

Drew Smith

Deputy Chief

Prospect Heights Fire Protection District

Don’t train till you get it right, train till you can’t get it wrong!

The future belongs to those who prepare.

Doug Cline, ISFSI

Winning begets winning, and so does losing, laziness, etc…

Make it quick, and make it stick.

The school of hard knocks is a difficult teacher, because the tests come before the lesson. So be prepared to be tested in this job.

Nobody likes to train, and nobody wants to work with a guy who is not trained.

Lt. Don Kaderabek

Niles FD

“Train the way you play”

“Training is OUR way to make sure IT gets done correct”

“Train for proficiency, not for hours”

“Train for proficiency, under realistic conditions, for best preparation”

“Firefighters are always students, learning is required till retirement”

“TRAINING is the hub to every issue in the fire service”

“Successful training if a mix of tradition, real world skills, and a progressive arena for failure”,

“Training — Mess up here and Not of the Fireground”

“If you cannot tell me how to do it or show me how to do it, YOU cannot do it — Bennie Crane”

“Training — gives everyone a chance for success”

“Training — Your success is the only thing that is mandatory”.

Deputy Chief Tim Leidig

Mundelein FD

The more you bleed in training, the less you bleed in battle!

The value of Fire Department Training lives or dies on the backs of the Officers facilitating it.

Be proud! Be brave! Be strong! But most of all, BE PREPARED!!!

Training is like Jell-O. Everybody likes Jell-O and there’s always room for Jell-O.

To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often. – Winston Churchill

Good Firefighters will know their job. GREAT Firefighters will also know the job of the person above them as well as teach their job to the person below them.

Always stay hungry for the job, and you will never get full.

Don’t be a weak link. Learn something new every day.

Turn the new guy into something he doesn’t know he can become.

You’re only as good as your last fire! Each time you must show up with your “A-game.”

This is not a hobby.

Be a thinking firefighter, not a reacting one.

Bob Muszynski, Chief

Chicago Ridge FD

“What am I supposed to tell your mother?”

“I am not happy until you are unhappy!”

Geoffrey L. Coon

Deputy Chief

North Pole Fire Department

If they can’t say it, and they can’t show it, they don’t know it.

District Chief Benny Crane (ret. RIP)

Chicago FD

Saving lives through training

Chief Richard Collins

Osceola County FL FD

Achieving proficiency and professionalism through training and education

Leadership is action, not a position

Lead with speed, follow with power

Nick Brunacini, Phoenix AZ

“In the heat of the battle you don’t remember very much. You don’t think very fast. You act by instinct, which is really training. So you’ve got to be trained for battle so that you will react exactly the way you did in training”. Admiral Arleigh Burke, USN

Division Chief Chad Abel

Fishers Fire Department

Train or die! (How do you accomplish this: Promote company officers who aren’t afraid to say; “get on the truck. it’s time to go train” if that doesn’t doesn’t work, they need to be able to say “get on the f—ing truck, it’s time to go do some f–ing training period!”)

John Brunacini

Phoenix, AZ

Responsibility without training is an imposition.

Chief Rick Kolomay

Carol Stream FD

Problems are only opportunities in work clothes.

Nothing will work unless you do.

The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s determination.

In the course of achieving anything, nothing is more important than training

Battles are not fought during the fight but inside yourself when you train.

The extra mile is the stretch of road that is never crowded.

Obsessed is just a word the lazy use to describe the dedicated.

Chief Jim Moore

Crystal Lake FD

Sweat in Training so you don’t Bleed in Battle.

Learn something everyday. Get better everyday. There is always something you can improve on.

In response to the “Getting something” attitude: In all your getting, get understanding

Devon J. Wells

Fire Chief

Hood River Fire & EMS

Before you can “think outside the box,” you have to know what’s in the box! Learn the basics, know your job. The rest will come in time. Firefighter Philip LaRocco, Ladder 148, FDNY

The Goal of Education is Understanding; the Goal of Training is Performance”


Be a thinking firefighter, not a reacting one.

The’e’s never a traffic jam on the extra mile.

Always train realistically because we respond to reality!

Amateurs practice until they get it right; professionals practice until they cannot get it wrong. Which one are you?

The difference between training and education is this: we train to know how to do something and educate to know why it works. — Art Stoike

“Practice does not make perfect, nor is it meant to. Practice simply increases your repertoire of ways to recover from your mistakes

“Faith in God, trust in training.”

“Training doesn’t cost….It PAYS!!!!!”

Don’t be a weak link. Learn something new every day

Training — you only get out of it what you are prepared to put in. — Lieutenant David Thewlis, Sale Fire Brigade, Australia

You don’t know what you don’t know. — William Kraus, truck captain, Aurora (Colorado) Fire Department (based on Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s “…there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns…the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”)

Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect!

A book never put out a fire, but it sends firefighters home everyday.

Replace Be Safe with Be Smart

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