Train as if Your Life Depends on It

At FDIC on Thursday, March 24, Huron (OH) Fire Department Lieutenant Paul Hasenmeier presented a collage of reasons to train, different props, and training evolutions that will renew motivation in the veterans and keep the spark lit in the rookies.  

Hasenmeier stated, “All firefighters should strive to be the best on the fireground, which requires our best efforts on the training ground. One of my goals as an instructor and training officer is to find creative ways to maximize training resources and provide realistic training challenges that will help firefighters be safe, perform at high levels, and never become complacent.”

He offered a slideshow and several videos on creating training props such as those for practicing breaking down residential doors, moving through entaglement traps, and using struts (on props such as a picnic table). All-important car fire simulations were also examined.

He continued, “When I first came into the fire service more than 10 years ago, I learned that in addition to being firefighters we were EMT’s, mop-and-glow guys, and some guys specialized in technical rescue. Now, we’ve added WMD and all types of terrorism response. We continue to be expected to do more with less and must make sure we are ready. How we get ready is through training. Budgets are tight, but as long as firefighters are going into hazardous environments, training should not be cut. Everything we do evolves around our previous training. A certain assumption must be made that firefighters will figure out what to do in unusual situations, but they will revert back to training, previous experience, and problem-solving skills.”

Hasenmeier concluded, “I really hope this presentation reenergized the 20-year guys by seeing something that reminds them of an exciting, challenging, and rewarding training evolution or even something they haven’t done before. This spark in them will no doubt create enthusiasm for the job and lead them to ask questions, remember different ways to do things, and be informal instructors with younger inexperienced firefighters.

“As is often the case, a seasoned veteran has all kinds of harnessed knowledge about traditions, jurisdictional characteristics, and various aspects of fire service operations. We all have to get that knowledge from them before they leave. “

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