So I just read this article. To sum it up five monkeys are put in a cage containing bananas that could only be reached by a ladder. Every time the monkeys tried to climb the ladder they got sprayed with water. The monkeys got to the point that they beat the shit out of any monkey that tried to climb the ladder to get the banana. They then started switching monkeys that were not sprayed. The monkeys beat the shit out of the new guy trying to climb the ladder. They eventually replaced all of the monkeys. Now none of these monkeys had been sprayed, yet they continued to kick that monkeys ass that tried to climb the ladder and get the banana.
Sound familiar? 200 years of tradition unimpeded by progress. That's a thing we've all heard around the station. But think of it, we do this. As an academy instructor remember preaching about pushing fire a few years back. We now know that water puts out fire, it doesn't push it. Amazing how something so simple can become tradition. This is why we need to support our new people to go out, learn more, challenge us to think, and create their own future in the fire service. Yes we need to mentor the same way we were, but we also need to listen to their questions. We need to stay current on our training. Most important we need to reach out to our fellow brothers and sisters to learn how they perform the same tasks.
So take pride in where you came from, support your tradition, don't rely on it. Anyone can see our fires have changed when legacy construction is compared to modern. We as firefighters also need to change, adapt. We need to stop attacking that monkey climbing the ladder just because "That's how we do it". Now go out there climb your own ladder and grab that damn banana!
For a long time I have argued against the money that professional sports players make. Although I haven’t changed my mind that they are overpaid I had to ask myself some questions before I joined the many around my department about crying because I’m underpaid. And maybe that not what this is about…It’s about a professional is a damn professional.
I first starting thinking about training: How often are my guys training, are we cutting corners that could affect us on game day, and what are we training? So first off is frequency: Every day, every call is preparing us for the super bowl. There will be that call in your life that you will think back to things that worked, things done on the training ground. So if we are at work we should be training: from the bottom to the top. If you are on the fire ground with me I expect that you have a working knowledge on my pack, you’ve trained on where the nearest exit is, and that you’re in good enough physical condition to get my ass out if shit hits the fan. I realize one day one of these guys may have my life in their hands. Now if that’s not enough, one day I may make the decisions that will affect if one of my guys lives!...OH shit! Time to train!
Cutting corners in training? You’ve never done it right? When we had a new chief that came in and made us accountable a set number of hours of training each month, I saw guy do anything possible to get these hours (as long as they didn’t have to train). If you drive to the store for dinner don’t mark down 2 hours of DO training. Don’t watch Backdraft and mark down training. I am guilty too, I have done many trainings sitting at the dinner table. The dinner table is a great place to train, but who doesn’t agree that we can get more out of getting our ass out of the chair and onto the training grounds? Do you think John Elway just chalk boarded everything?
Speaking of the broncos, do you ever see the other team on the sidelines sucking down oxygen? I’ve been told they come down early and acclimate to the elevation. If they went there a month early I bet they wouldn’t be huffing those O’s. Does it make sense to do that?…no. What are you training? I am from a small department, which means I could be on the engine, bus, tower, rescue, or even a brush truck. Just as any firefighter I have to be versatile. I may cause some pain saying this, but train on the important things, the things you KNOW that you will see. We have an agriculture air spraying service. I have been in this department for 13 years and have not run one crash. In the last 2 months we have made initial attack on three structure fires. What do you think we should train? The answer is obviously both. But I think its asinine to train over and over on shit you may never see when overlook the stuff you see every day. Do you think Barry Bonds skipped a batting practice, even though it was the SAME thing every time? Practice what you know you will see!
Remember that the goal of training is a self-improvement, not of just yourself, but your shift, your department. Our goal should follow that of any Pro player; we should know that Sunday is coming, if we are ready or not. The only difference between them and us is that someone’s life may be on the line.