Add it to the to do list.


Time is something that we all seem to need more of. I wake up every morning put together a to Do list and end the day with it half completed or doubled in size. As I get older it seems to get harder rather than easier to tackle my to-do list. After adding family obligations, work, and friend’s a “To Do” List becomes more like a Hope “ToDo” list. Maybe that can explain my lack of posts on the blog. Well, that and a bit of a writer’s block. You would like to think that as a fireman, we enter the firehouse and immediately go into a zone. A zone that allows us to focus on growth and training. We tell ourselves that we will train on this, fix that, and then get ready for this. But as we all know that’s not the case. We walk in the door. Get our things in place and next thing you know we are consumed in the gossip from our relief. We find out new things broke that need fixing and then we are tasked with other tasks from admin. Oh, and let’s do this with the calls we will have. Before you can blink an eye, your day is done and you are telling yourself “well, we can do this next shift.” Then next shift turns into the following and before we know, it a year has gone by since we have touched a ladder or practiced a lead-out. I will admit, I am guilty of this. We all are in some ways. But maybe our priorities are backward. Maybe it’s time to adjust our to-do list to make sure that the basics skills are practiced until they become our second nature.

“We should be training and not doing this. ” runs through my head more than once a day. Training is something that I enjoy. It’s something that I am passionate about and find the reward therapeutic. I try and make it a point to train on something every shift no matter how busy I am. Even if it is by myself. Fortunately, more often than not, I am not alone. I have been lucky because for the last year I have been surrounded by firemen who find it just as important and it has been inspiring. But even though we make it a point there is still more that we could and should be doing. This was brought to our attention the other day in a video that had been floating around social media. It wasn’t a critique of what they should have done or something that they did wrong. It made me ask myself the question: If we pulled up on the same situation in the video, would we have had the same outcome. Would we have had the confidence, skill, and knowledge to make a different decision given a different scenario? The video I am referring to is the video out of Dekalb County, Georgia ( the video, the responding crew was thrown kids out of the window of a burning building. Before they had a second to think they were catching kids. Would we have been ready to pull up to a different situation?One where more ladders were needed. Would we have the training and tools to make the right choices? I think yes. But that’s the issue here. I used the word “think”. But thinking is not good enough. The basic fundamentals are what we need to get the job done. Fundamentals that training will perfect and provide the confidence we need to eliminate” thinking”. Of course, in our job, we can not prepare for everything but we can develop the fundamentals that will allow us to do our jobs proficiently. Isn’t this the basis of our profession? To master all the essential skills to do our jobs to the best of our ability. As I have said before, our abilities are determined by our level of training. The less we train the more we will say “I think” Ask yourself can my crew have the same outcome as the crew from Dekalb County, Georgia? It made me realize that no matter the hours of the day or the size of the to-do list. Practicing these skills and teaching them is as important as our morning coffee that I never miss.

Luke Martino
Training is Not a Crime

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