Competitive Drills in Training Firemen
The adoption of frequent drills in the training of firemen in the medium and larger fire departments has become so general that it no longer causes comment—in fact the comment would be more likely if a department of this kind failed to instruct its men through this means. However, the plan is by no means so general with the volunteer departments, those of smaller cities and towns. In many such cases tlie plan of instructing the members of the fire department is more honored in the breach than the observance.
A plan is described in this week’s issue of FIRE AND WATER ENGINEERING on page 555, which, while it is in use in the fire department of a city of fairly large size—Fresno, Cal.—could be utilized to splendid advantage by the smaller fire-fighting units. This plan embraces the idea of competitive drills by companies. Each platoon of all of the companies of the department participates and the scores are kept as official records. The drills can he held as often as convenient or desirable. The chief of Fresno has decided to increase the number from an annual occurrence to three a year, in April, August and December. Possibly this plan would be the best arrangement, but this would have to be regulated largely by the circumstances governing each department.
The advantages of this competitive system of drills are, of course, at once apparent. It is bound to arouse interest and enthusiasm among the men. A competition, where the honor of the company is at stake, will naturally stimulate all of the members
who have its interests at heart, to every effort to excel in the evolutions, both as to time and correctness of form. This will conduce to perfection in the drills and also increase the general efficiency and steadiness of the men. It will also have the effect of causing the company to hold regular instruction, so that the men may perfect themselves in the evolutions required for the special drills. For, without such regular work, it will be impossible for the members to excel in these competitive drills. So that the result of the holding of these competitive drills must be to raise the general efficiency of the fire department in which they take place. The plan is one that should appeal to the chief of every fire department, whether paid or volunteer.