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  • Getting vol to show for training

    Any ideas? Fire eng mag had a good write up about incentives and in house certs/recognitions. I also belive in off shift training times. Why do most vol train only on a weeknight? The help you seek is in the day, so those people work...on weeknights!! Any programs/ideas? Jason

  • #2
    Jason, we took a two-pronged approach to this problem.

    1) We train at night for the most part becasue that is when the bulk of our help is around. How to keep those guys coming? You'd better have pertinent, lively training, set up and ready to go when the drill is scheduled to start. NOTHING will kill your attendance faster than standing around for 45 minutes saying, "Uh, I dunno. Whaddya feel like drilling on tonight?" "Uh, I dunno. What haven't we done in a while?...." before you finally decide that noone has any motivation and you all head to the bar instead (I know this from past experience). Did you know that OSHA requires training on respirators (SCBA)? Bloodborne pathogens? Hazardous Materials? Driver training? Some of these topics are dry as hell and pretty boring, but you'd better have some documented training on 'em. Put some pizzazz in the drills and the guys will show.

    2) What's your daytime help like? Maybe your ****ing up the wrong tree by asuming that you need day drills. The daytime help I have all come from work to answer calls. Their bosses aren't going to let them leave for training. Night training is good for another reason: when you can do a task at night, with limited visibility, you know that task well. Practice it until you can do it blindfolded, I tell my guys. Why? 'Cause at 2am, when you've just got rousted out of bed, bleary-eyed, you are damn-near blindfolded. (Plus ISO loves to see night drills).
    At any rate, as chief I am full time, so the one or two guys that do work evenings/nights come down and train with me twice a month. If you can't work that out, set up your drills on powerpoint or overheads or whatever, and let the guys drill themselves; there must be one or two that are skilled or knowledgable enough to take the less-experienced ones through.
    Omnis Cedo Domus



    • #3
      We have the same problems. There is a core group of about 10 that show up for drills. Some of our officers are the biggest offenders. One of the keys for me is the drill content. I lose interest if we go every week and watch a video. I would prefer to flow some water, throw some ladders, etc. My suggestion would be to work on some different drills and maybe have some contests to add interest.


      • #4
        Try doing them day drills during the weekends. Use a rotateing training schedule. Like lets say on week x we will do initial attack,week z we will do ems practice etc.. Also if you do that take some time and make some kind of big calender with the training dates and what will be done then and put it in the bay. I found nothing brings them in like advance notice and knowing what there doing.I am thinking of doing that in my post because we have come to the point of doing so many drills that explorers can do were getting like this>>>>>>>
        standing around for 45 minutes saying, "Uh, I dunno. Whaddya feel like drilling on tonight?" "Uh, I dunno. What haven't we done in a while?...."
        Hope this helps


        • #5
          AAAAHHHHH one of my favorite subjects working the Training Bureau.
          We have the same problem. Getting the paid people here is no problem at all. We have a day crew training every Weds and Night crew every thursday except for the 5 week of the month. We do mostly all hands on training. We will get a local salvage yard to donate cars and we will run complete extrication training. We will do intibating in the back of the squad while moving. Our general rule is preplan and have a hands on. We use to do the fly by the seat of your pants training but we stopped that. If its interesting they will come. As far as officers, theyneed to lead from the front. If they don't show for 95% of the training then they don't need to be officers!
          AKA: Mr. Whoo-Whoo

          IAFF Local 3900

          IACOJ-The Crusty Glow Worm

          ENGINE 302 - The Fire Rats

          F.A.N.T.A.M FOOLS FTM-PTB


          • #6
            for a scheduling thing, one of my departments trains sunday mornings at 8am, and monday nights at 8pm. the last weekend training is a mandatory training, and the third monday night is our bussiness meeting. all the other nights are optional. the trainings (usually the mandatory ones) are sometimes the same thing for sunday and monday of that week. you can go to either one, or both if you so chose.

            for dept #2, we hold trainings the 2nd and 4th tuesday nights, our meetings the 3rd tuesday night, and we also do trainings every wednesday morning.

            every department needs to mandate trainings. you have to. otherwise, some people won't bother to go. when a person joins, they know this is one of the requirements.

            as for an incentive, why not do something like dinner? burgers are cheap (buy meat, make into patties, throw on grill, here is your burger), and pizzas are easy to get. or for the mornings, something like two dozen bagels. oh, and i think letting the guys know what the topic is ahead of time will be a step towards having them show up.
            If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!



            • #7
              "NOTHING will kill your attendance faster than standing around for 45 minutes saying, "Uh, I dunno. Whaddya feel like drilling on tonight?" "Uh, I dunno. What haven't we done in a while?...."

              I agree. I was once asked by a smaller dept how to get more "professional" (they were really wanting to get some engineers and doctors involved) volunteers involved. My first question was "look around, what would keep them here??"

              The primary reason for my response was all too often we would show for training and then "sit around" waiting for the TO to start class. Many times one of the "professionals" (I hate using that term, any suggestions??) would start class on medical issues.

              If you take a person who has a 40-60 hr work week and who wants to give something back to his/her community but finds his/her time being wasted - SAY GOOD NIGHT GRACIE because they will leave.

              I appreciate some of the suggestions. And, yes, govt regs are VERY dry reading but OSHA mandates them, not options.

              My congrats to those TOs who are able to captivate students and make the process an interesting one.


              • #8
                Here in Altoona we have a few things we do differently. First, some history. We are a combination, paid on call department with an allowance of 45 members. At the present time we are at 37 members. We have one full time chief and one full time fire inspector who is the assistant chief.

                We meet every Tuesday night. That means every Tuesday. The first 2 Tuesdays of every month are fire training, the 3rd is EMS/maintenance, the 4th is for a staff meeting, and if there is a 5th Tuseday of any month we use that as a "special" training. Special would be doing a scenario or mutual training, sometimes used as a make up night.

                We require members attend 70% of the training. An excused absence would be work, sick, vacation, got the kids, etc. "I don't want to go" or "I wanna go the bar instead" are not valid. We have a Training Captain, and a Training Lieutenant who do the training. We also require ALL the officers to do the training as well. We have training scheduled out at least 6 months in advance with the occasional ripple of "something just came up" type of thing. Just about everyone shows up on Tuesday night if they do not have an excused absence.

                The key is to have scheduled training and stick to the schedule. Don't wast time and keep a strict schedule. Start on time, keep things moving, switch it up a bit and make a game out of it if you can. Also, smaller groups work the best. More time for one on one training. Just because someone has the title of Training Officer doesn't necessarily mean they have to teach all the time. They are just to facilitate the training. So far, we have been pretty lucky with attendance.
                Good luck with your efforts.

                Keep your head down and your powder dry.
                Lt.Jason Knecht
                Altoona Fire Rescue
                Altoona, WI
                Jason Knecht
                Township Fire Dept., Inc.
                Eau Claire, WI

                IACOJ - Director of Cheese and Whine
                EAT CHEESE OR DIE!!


                • #9
                  You could have beer!


                  • #10
                    NOT funny at all George.

                    Originally posted by GeorgeWendtCFI
                    You could have beer!
                    Yes beer,so when they go and crash a firetruck and kill a explorer we can make a thread condeming beer drinking in volly depts.
                    Have you forgotten my brother Anndee yet? Everytime I hear beer and firefighting I shudder,everytime I hop in the rig I think of her,when a explorer refuses to put on his/her seat belt cause its "no big deal" they get a earful from me.

                    Sorry George that wasnt directed to you,just those who still drink and respond.
                    Last edited by dfdex1; 06-26-2003, 10:40 PM.


                    • #11
                      George that was a bit out of line. I think the departments that actually do still have beer are a very small fraction, and its just a matter of time. I didnt think I of all people would ever be saying this but lets be more constructive and make a little more constructive comments. That was just stupid.

                      I agree with most, keep it interesting. I hate it when we have one of those nights when its stand around and talk about what we could do with more money... thats always a sore subject.
                      Firefighter/EMT Mitch Cowen
                      Hose Co. 1 1st Lieutenant
                      Randolph Fire Co. Inc


                      • #12
                        We went through a difficult spell with poor attendance a few years back, and a few little changes made a big difference.

                        -I E-mail out a six-week training schedule so everyone knows what's coming up.

                        -We use junior officers and senior members as training aids and coaches to ensure they feel important to the team.

                        -When we are training a class of rookies in the classroom, we often run two different classes, one for rookies, and one for senior members to keep them interested.

                        -We use friendly competition to ensure they keep trying to improve. For one example; we run SCBA time trials peridically to encourage the guys to come in on their own time and practice with the gear. The new guys will spend every night practicing donning their gear to beat the senior members, and the senior guys will keep coming out trying to defend their times.

                        -The Officers come in early to set up scenarios well before our 7pm Tuesday start time so we can start practice promptly (occasionally we page scenarios at 6-6:30 to catch the guys off-guard and create a little uncertainty about the call).

                        After making these few changes, we saw attendance rise slowly, but consistantly. We now see practice attendance well over 90%. The key is quality practice and not wasting people's time.

                        Also, regardless of whether or not you support beer after practice, the social element is important too. It is the only time many guys get to hang out with the boys. Find a way to make it fun!
                        Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!



                        • #13
                          Satire (noun) A literary work in which human vice or folly is attacked through irony, derision, or wit.

                          In light of the discussions going on in other threads,, I find this a highly appropriate use of satire.

                          Please refer to those other threads for the rebuttal to the assertions made in your posts defending alcohol use in the fire service.


                          • #14
                            George, you're using big words again.

                            The kids hamster is going to burn out.
                            Never argue with an Idiot. They drag you down to their level, and then beat you with experience!



                            • #15

                              You're on a roll, George. Should I can my "Webster's Abridged" and just refer to your postings for all my literary questions? Stay Safe....
                              Never use Force! Get a Bigger Hammer.
                              In memory of
                              Chief Earle W. Woods, 1912 - 1997
                              Asst. Chief John R. Woods Sr. 1937 - 2006

                              IACOJ Budget Analyst

                              I Refuse to be a Spectator. If I come to the Game, I'm Playing.



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