Recently, I have been reading several posts and editorials about volunteer training. Many of these authors acknowledge that today’s fire service in the United States is made up of 70% or more volunteer fire fighters. The percentages are a little more or a little less depending upon which statistic you read.
But many of these volunteers today are receiving little or no training according to the same statistics. I am amazed by this and it bears asking the question…..WHY?
Training is one of those fundamental requirements of being a firefighter. Just like fire hose, nozzles, ladders, and water and PPE/SCBA. If you want the fires to go out, you have to have people, properly trained, to carry out the tasks necessary to get the job done.
As I read some of these articles, they cite reasons such as a lack of free time, no one qualified to provide the training, a lack of funds, and on and on and on.
GARBAGE! ALL OF IT. That is simply not a good excuse!
In today’s fire service, there are so many no cost or low cost training options out there that any of the reasons to try and rationalize why firefighter training isn’t happening simply doesn’t hold water.
There are books, youtube, facebook. blogs, and websites galore which provide training suggestions on how to train firefighters.
NFPA Standards outline how a training program should be developed and what kinds of training should be offered at what kinds of intervals.
I could go on and on and on. The bottom line is that there is simply no excuse why training cannot be done.
REMEMBER, TRAINING KEEPS FIREFIGHTERS SAFE. PERIOD. Take personal responsibility for your personal safety and the safety of your brothers and sisters. No one will make you do it. No one will likely punish you for not keeping your skills sharp. But there is a cost…
Not returning home at the end of a shift…
Not being there when your brother or sister needed you most…
Letting the public you are sworn to serve down when they needed you most. Trust me when I say that the public will remember. The next time you need new PPE, apparatus, tool, hose, whatever you may need… They will remember.
So while some say training is too much of a burden on firefighters today, maybe so. But I think an even more important question is can we afford not to train? I don’t think so.