In building construction, we are aware that four important components ensure the soundness of a structure: foundation, beams, columns, and the pinning system. When one or more of these components are compromised, the integrity of a structure is in jeopardy. As company officers/instructors, we also know that there are four key components that play a significant role in learning (behavior modification). Those four components include preparation, presentation, application, and evaluation (four-step method of instructional delivery). When one or more of these steps are not properly executed, student learning may not necessarily be satisfied.
This article focuses on step one—preparation. Preparation should be done by both the company officer/instructor and the students/firefighters. Instructors/company officers are often tasked with leading a training/education session on short notice—other times, we are given ample time to prepare for a training/education session.
Suggested preparatory strategies for successful company level training/educational delivery include:
- Generate a broad list of fire & EMS topics—remember, we need to be knowledgeable and capable in all areas of the profession.
- Use a calendar or spreadsheet to associate a date(s) with each topic.
- Identify and secure supplemental resources and materials that will be essential to instructional delivery.
- Review the material in order to successfully lead, discuss, and train during the session. Study the material as if it is in preparation for a promotional exam.
- Review training material for accuracy and compliance with organizational best practices.
- If using a training prop, review for familiarity and to ensure the item operates safely.
- Provide the list of training/education topics to your subordinates in advance—as learners, we too like to prepare prior to a training/education session.
- Consider starting each training/education session with a “why”—sometimes the “why” is obvious, other times it is not.
Training and education are keys to hazard zone success and firefighter safety! Company officers and instructors are the gatekeepers of the above.