FREQUENT DRILLS NECESSARY TO HAVE MEN WELL TRAINED
Drill Tower Work of Value in Training— Men Should Be Taught Why Standardized Drills Are Used—Must Know Their Tools
FOR properly trained firemen, the men should be taught to have confidence in their tools, in their comrades and officers, and they should be so drilled that they will function as one unit. This information can not be gained in the heat and hurry of fighting a fire but must be learned in a drill school. Lessons in first aid should also be given.
All paid departments should be equipped with a drill tower at least four stories high, and so built that ladder work may be carried on with ease. It should have an interior stair way with a well, iron ladders, fire escapes, smoke chamber and sprinklers.
This enables one to acquire practice in the use of both the pompier and straight ladder, rope work, and facility in hose evolutions, while the smoke chamber is used to properly train the men in the use of smoke helmets and respirators under actual working conditions.
In Vancouver we have a drill tower one hundred feet high. Twice a week the day platoon are drilled at this tower, weather permitting. In addition the platoon is drilled once a week on buildings in the company’s district. The latter plan enables both the officers and men to become familiar with the buildings in their district, and the hazards that they are likely to encounter.
Drills to be effective must be standardized and the men must be taught the reasons for each evolution so that they may know just why they are asked to do each test. It is all very well to show a man how a building may be ventilated but to allow this lesson to stop at that without a full and proper explanation of the reason for ventilating would make such training useless.
Without the proper knowledge, the men would probably do more damage. Not only does this apply to ventilating, but to other workings in the service.
The men should become familiar with the use of the smaller tools such as door-forcers, bars, battering rams, life guns and so forth, even though some of the tools are not used very often.
Competition should be encouraged but care should be exercised so that in the zeal to better some time record, the men do not transgress from the bounds of safety. Competitive drills prevents the men from becoming stale and takes the drills out of the class of mere routine work.
A good method to use in training the men is to take one man from a company to a building, describe a mythical fire then give him full charge of the company. Let him place the apparatus and men as he sees fit. When he has covered all the points, call the men together and describe the fire to them. Ask them if they have discovered any errors in the way their companymember fought the fire, and their reasons for thinking so. Another way of testing the information gained by the men is to hold written examinations.
The firemen should be trained in the rudiments of public and private fire alarm systems, sprinklers, oil burning equipment, motors, elevators, switchboards and so forth.
If each of the men receive a proper course of instruction, the officers, when at a fire, will not have to bother with the many details as the men will be trained to meet the many emergencies that may arise.
Compton, Cal., Firemen Ask for Increase—It is probable that the voters in Compton, Cal., will vote in June on the proposition to increase the pay of the firemen. Petitions asking for the increase have already been filed.
Ora Vista, Cal., Organizes Fire Department—Ora Vista, Cal., and another community have organized the South Side Fire Department. The purchase of a siren has already been Authorized.
Haggerty, Acting Chief of Berkeley, Cal.—George Haggerty, deputy fire chief of Berkeley, Cal., has been named Acting chief of the department to fill the vacancy caused by the death of Chief Sydney Rose. Haggerty became deputy chief when Rose was made head of the department.
Sacramento Firemen Ask for Increase—The firemen of Sacramento, Cal., have petitioned for an increase in their pay. No specified amount of increase has been asked. According to the firemen, members of Sacramento are paid below the standards of other nearby cities.