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  • Training Experiment

    Some readers of this page may be aware that a number of rescuers from Ontario travelled to the Eastern Canada Extrication Competition and Learning Symposium in Enfield, Nova Scotia last week. Aside from the usual expectations one might have from an event of this sort, some interesting observations were possible owing to an “experiment” which was conducted.

    At this point, allow me to insert a “disclaimer”, if you will: Please do not misconstrue that which is presented here. The situation allowed for an interesting look at training in auto ex.

    One group at the competition was a composite team (calling themselves the “Great Lakers”, a geographic reference), made up of five members from four different fire departments across Southern Ontario. The team from the Toronto Fire Services was the other Ontario group attending. In addition, the international qualifiers from Sidney River, Nova Scotia were present. The Toronto and Sidney River teams provided the “benchmarks” or “control groups” for the trial.

    The exercise was to compare the ability of the composite team to function as a unit, keeping in mind that, unlike the control groups, the Great Lakers had neither worked nor trained together before the event. This would be not unlike the situation faced by many departments during some mutual aid occurrences. There were a total of 10 teams at the competition. It should be noted that some of the local teams had limited competition experience.

    The results were interesting. The composite team finished third in each pit, behind Toronto. Sidney River in one pit and North Sidney in the other rounded out the top three grouping. While this in no way represents an absolutely controlled nor scientific exercise, it does allow some interesting observations, which are fairly straightforward.

    In the broadest of terms, this serves to validate the “system” of training which is employed by departments who are involved in auto ex competitions. It simply demonstrates the interchangeability of personnel who are trained in a like manner. This is valuable both within and without a department. Some departments rotate personnel through their competition teams for training purposes. It has been said by some in the past that because this is a “closed” or in-house system, that evaluations as to the standard of training are not valid. This exercise may show otherwise.

    This also shows that, over time, personnel trained in this manner do achieve a level of training which can be considered to be of high standard and to be standardised, demonstrated by the relative “grading” of the composite team. To be in a grouping with those teams who had practised together over the summer goes to demonstrate this. It provides an attainable goal for those who may be embarking on this path.

    In my mind, this can only help “on the street”.



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