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Want to know an easy way to judge the quality of a fire department? Look at how much they train. Career, volunteer or combination, fire departments become successful through training. Yet all training is not equal. Focus too much on hands-on training (HOT) and you could be missing important legal and compliance updates. Lean heavily on web-based training and you may fail to identify shortcomings in skills proficiencies. Keep students confined to a classroom and you may lose their interest quickly. Not surprisingly, a balance of all three types of training is needed to produce competent, empowered firefighters. For this article, I was challenged to think about what’s missing from our current fire training programs. As I thought about the varied way we approach fire training, three issues jumped out at me. Base training on facts and statistics Take advantage of new technologies Incorporate policy into your training Your training program should also be strong in the types of calls you respond to most Base Training On Facts And Statistics If your department has a robust training program, outlined by a calendar of various topics and employing a mix of HOT, online and classroom training, you’re ahead of the curve. But even in departments with well-developed training programs, training is often based on preference or habit, not data. Think about the topics in your training program. Do you know why they’re included? Do they match your call make-up? Are they targeting specific skill shortcomings? (And yes, we all have them!)What’s missing from many fire department training programs is a detailed needs assessment What’s missing from many fire department training programs is a detailed needs assessment that in turn establishes a factual basis for the year’s training topics. The needs assessment should include: Surveying the members to determine the types of training they want or feel they need. Measuring firefighter proficiency on basic tasks, such as NFPA 1403 drills, NFPA 1710 drills and EMS patient assessment skills audits, to assess personnel by mandate or by industry best practice. This will identify skills deficiencies to address through training. Incorporating call volume statistics and details. A significant percentage of the calls fire departments respond to are EMS and vehicle extrication But I’d venture to guess the training programs of most departments don’t match those percentages. Yes, you need to train for the high-risk, low-frequency tasks. But your training program should also be strong in the types of calls you respond to most. Incorporating these “facts and stats” into your training program will help you keep it fresh, relevant and interesting. Firefighters can use their phones and tablets to access department training information and complete training assignments Take Advantage Of New Technologies There is something to be said for back-to-the-basics, keep-it-simple firefighter training. But it’s a mistake to ignore technological advances. From teaching safe apparatus backing procedures to practicing hoseline deployment and Vent/Enter/Isolate/Search (VEIS) tactics, instructors have more options than ever before. Some instructors regard simulators as second-rate to “the real thing.” Certainly, simulation and other forms of technology-driven instruction can’t replace the value of hands-on experience. But they can augment it in important ways. Driver simulators, for example, not only save money because apparatus don’t have to be taken out of service or sustain wear and tear; they also provide an environment where firefighters can learn without risk of injury. If sitting behind a computer isn’t your kind of thing, live-burn simulators, vehicle fire simulators and hazmat simulators are available—and they all significantly boost training efficiency.Technology will never replace hands-on instruction, but it can facilitate it But you don’t need fancy simulators to incorporate technology into your fire training program. Learning management systems (LMS) are another important tool that can increase training program efficiency. Although they’ve been around for a long time, LMS continue to improve. The ability to integrate with mobile devices is huge, allowing firefighters to use their phones and tablets to access department training information and complete training assignments. Leveraging this technology can allow you to more efficiently manage information, schedule training and free up valuable time needed for other important tasks. If you’ve attended some of the larger regional or national fire conferences recently, you may have had the opportunity to see audience response technology in action. By capturing the firefighters’ responses to questions in real-time, instructors can adjust the material to reflect students’ knowledge level. Audience response is also simply a great way to keep firefighters engaged. Technology will never replace hands-on instruction, but it can facilitate it. If you’re using training methods that haven’t changed in decades, something’s missing from your training program. Without incorporating policy into your training, you’re only giving your firefighters half the equation Incorporate Policy Into Your Training I saved the biggest and best for last. When I work with fire departments across the country, I repeatedly discover the failure to incorporate policy into training. Think about it: Training curricula are almost always designed around procedures—the how of doing something. But isn’t the why just as important? And that’s what policy is all about. Without incorporating policy into your training, you’re only giving your firefighters half the equation.Inevitably firefighters will encounter times when following the procedure isn’t possible Inevitably firefighters will encounter times when following the procedure isn’t possible. That’s when policy training kicks in—firefighters understand the fundamental objective, and they can think on their feet about how to achieve it. Training on policy also helps departments address the issues that so often get firefighters into trouble. How many of your firefighters really understand your department’s social media policy? What about the rules surrounding sick time usage? These are things that trip up firefighters time and time again. If you’re not training on policies, it’s unlikely firefighters remember them. How many of your firefighters really understand your department’s social media policy? In addition, normalization of deviance is a risk to every organization. When personnel fail to follow policies and no negative repercussions result, it can quickly establish a new normal. Policy-based training resets the “normal” and makes sure that members of the organization comply with the policy and not what they think the policy says.Most line-of-duty death reports cite failure to comply with policy or lack of adequate policy Fire instructors often avoid training on policy because they regard it as boring or unrelated to what really matters—firefighter safety and survival. Yet most line-of-duty death reports cite failure to comply with policy or lack of adequate policy as contributing factors in the incident. If you’re worried that policy will make your training program dry and uninteresting, link it to real-world events. An online search provides lots of examples of when things went wrong and how adherence to policy might have produced a different outcome. And limit policy training to small chunks. Take out a 10-page policy and go through it line by line, and your students’ eyes will glaze over in seconds. Instead, look for ways to enrich your current training by bringing relevant pieces of policy into it. Your firefighters will be learning the department’s policies without even realizing it! Focus On Continuous Improvement Fire chiefs and fire instructors have a challenging job. Budgets are tight, and training is often one of the first things to be cut. Yet we need firefighters to be proficient in all-hazards response. Every department has a long training wish list. But if we focus on continuous quality improvement, we can get a little better each year. Looking for opportunities to incorporate statistics, technology and policy into our training is a good place to start.
Extricating collision victims requires advanced medical care After a vehicle collision of significant force - as in the case of high-speed impact - it is likely that the occupants of the car, particularly the driver and front seat passenger, will be entrapped. Brendon Morris, Holmatro Rescue Equipment's Consultation & Training Manager, and a rescue paramedic in South Africa for many years, discusses the need for an advanced level of care for entrapped patients in vehicle extrication rescue. Entrapment in a vehicle accident can be physical, mechanical or both. In other words, the victim can be trapped by his or her physical injuries or by the fact that the vehicle has crumpled in such a way that it is not possible to get out of the wreckage (mechanical). Regardless of whether there is a physical or mechanical entrapment, victims are very likely to suffer significant internal injuries after a high-speed impact. It is these internal injuries that can be worsened due to inappropriate handling and lack of good medical care during the extrication rescue process. Combining technical extrication skills & advanced medical care The specialized discipline of extrication rescue is performed with varying degrees of efficiency across the globe. To reduce the negative effects of moving an entrapped victim (whose condition may worsen due to their already fragile state), specialized extrication tools and techniques are needed. With rescuers in more and more countries becoming aware of this, the overall demand for these tools and techniques has increased over the years. What makes the overall discipline of extrication rescue so successful is that it combines technical extrication skills with advanced medical care of the patient. From the second a crash occurs the medical condition of a trapped victim will continue to worsen From the second a crash occurs the medical condition of a trapped patient will begin to worsen. Approximately 50% of road traffic deaths occur at the crash scene. As we all know, the need for patients to get to a hospital as soon as possible is essential in increasing the chance of survival. To this end, we tend to invest much time and money developing well-run ambulance services that can carry the patient to a hospital safely and efficiently. What is often forgotten, however, is the importance of ensuring that we do not harm the patient any further when freeing him from his position in the vehicle. Extrication rescue should not only be used when it is physically impossible to remove a patient. It should also be routinely used to make sure that the patient is not moved or handled in a way that could further compromise his or her already delicate medical condition. Techniques such as a side and roof removal help to ensure that the patient can be removed from the vehicle in an in-line movement to protect him against the aggravation of potentially dangerous spinal injuries. This technique is just one example of how simple procedures can significantly increase the possibility of full recovery from a motor vehicle collision. Challenges with extrication rescue efforts Research in the field of extrication rescue, as with pre-hospital care, is extremely limited due to ethical and practical issues. Extrication rescue efforts are even more problematic to prove. What has been shown is that, of the high percentage of deaths occurring in the pre-hospital stage, many can be avoided. Moreover, many complications resulting in disability in the pre-hospital phase could also be avoided. Rescuers must use tools designed to cope with New Car Technology Unfortunately, we can see a large difference between the likelihood of surviving the pre-hospital stage in more developed countries as opposed to low and middle income countries. Perhaps this can be attributed not only to the lack of emergency medical services in these countries, but also to the lack of expertise and equipment for the extrication of victims from their damaged vehicles. Another important consideration is the advent of new stronger vehicle constructions on the roads today. To deal with these, rescue tool manufacturers constantly have to develop stronger tools (especially cutters). New Car Technology often introduces the paradox of safety vs. accessibility. In other words, the very construction that makes it possible for a driver of a car to survive the impact may well be the reason why it is impossible for a rescuer to free the victim when working with old, out of date rescue tools. Basic first-aid training is not enough In low and middle-income countries, patient transport by ambulance from the crash scene is rare, with most patients being transported by commercial vehicles having been "rescued" by the general public. Some programs are being developed to provide basic first-aid training to those most likely to come across vehicle collisions. Hopefully this will decrease mortality rates. It may also be worth further investigating whether providing more extrication skills to those responsible for the rescue of patients from their damaged vehicles may also decrease mortality rates. Providing only first aid skills may even prove to be harmful where there is no formal system in place to control the extrication process. Teamwork is critical to extrication rescue success Extrication rescue not only equips rescuers to aid victims, but also to maintain their own safety on scene The scene of a motor vehicle collision is not the controlled environment of an operating or consultation room. The rescue scene has many dangers and risks associated with it and these have to be controlled. Extrication rescue does not only provide knowledge to rescuers on how to safely extricate patients, it also equips them with the skills to ensure that they do not become injured themselves during the rescue. Extrication rescue techniques also include the various activities that must be done to ensure that all personnel involved in the rescue scene are working in a safe environment. A perfect example of this is the importance of ensuring that the vehicle's battery is disconnected in order to remove the chance of an electrical short circuit starting a fire. In terms of safety, the other matter to consider is the fact that many different services have to work together on a rescue scene. The only way to ensure safety for all involved is for the services to work together as one team: each knowing exactly what their responsibilities are. Brendon Morris - Consultation & Training Manager, Holmatro Rescue Equipment
As part of the new agreement Holmatro will work with the IMSA Safety Team to provide vehicle extrication equipment along with training to support local crews and ensure the highest standards. “Holmatro has a long history in motorsports safety, and in fact over the years Holmatro tools have played a part in the rescue of several drivers,” said Tony Barboza, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Holmatro, Inc. Motorsports safety teams “As the biggest supplier of extrication equipment to motorsports safety teams, we’re proud of our new partnership with the IMSA safety team and look forward to supporting them in their mission of proving safety for the drivers in all of their events.” We have an expert AMR Safety Team that now has an expanded toolbox" “Safety is a top IMSA priority,” said David Pettit, IMSA Senior Vice President, Marketing and Business Operations. “We have an expert AMR Safety Team that now has an expanded toolbox with advanced equipment and services from Holmatro. The companies is considered a leader in its industry and we are proud to be associated with them.” High tech rescue equipment Having supplied tools for the IndyCar Safety Team since 1991, Holmatro has become a pioneer in supplying high tech rescue equipment to assist in the quick and safe extrication of race drivers following incidents on track. Holmatro’s cordless, portable and powerful tools are ideal for the on track environment, where drivers need to be extricated from carbon fiber monocoques and high-strength roll-cage structures. Over the years it has been Holmatro’s goal to translate their learning in the extreme racing environment into innovative rescue tools that raise the level of global postcrash response on the streets and highways. As of 2019, Holmatro is the official supplier of the FIA Safety and Medical departments.
New technology and strategies are urgently required if rescue services are to meet the enormous challenges they encounter in the modern world. Demographic change, the need for well-trained specialist personnel and responding to major incidents and disasters are just some of the keynote themes that demand answers. At INTERSCHUTZ 2020 manufacturers, suppliers, rescue services and training institutes will present their solutions and ideas for future-fit rescue services. At the same time, INTERSCHUTZ also serves as a platform for a professional exchange of know-how within this sector. Consequently, the visiting public includes emergency physicians, emergency paramedics, paramedics, medical technicians and first responders from every kind of rescue/emergency service, as well as decision-makers in local government, medical insurance companies and providers of funds and services. INTERSCHUTZ 2020 INTERSCHUTZ is a hub which addresses all the topical issues affecting the entire spectrum of rescue services" "INTERSCHUTZ is a hub which addresses all the topical issues affecting the entire spectrum of rescue services, both for domestic deployment and internationally", declares Martin Folkerts, Project Director of INTERSCHUTZ at Deutsche Messe. "One of the big bonus points of INTERSCHUTZ is that every sector in the field of security, safety and rescue services is represented at one convenient time and place. It is impossible to overstate just how important networking and communication between fire and civil protection services are to the development of rescue services that are future-proof and fit for purpose. In the final analysis, the players responding in day-to-day operations and those responding to major incidents and disasters all have to work closely together." Hall 26 will provide a central hub for the presentation of the rescue services at INTERSCHUTZ 2020. Offering a display space of more than 21,000 square meters, this venue provides visitors with a clear overview of manufacturers, suppliers and special themes. The hall is a magnet for any professional seeking information on rescue aids, transport, data management, equipment, disinfection equipment, medical equipment, tools/equipment for rescuing accident victims or information on training courses for the rescue services. The key topics of water rescue and high-angle and high rescue operations form the focus of displays in halls 17 and 16. Connectivity And Digitization Connectivity and digitization are issues that have long occupied emergency and rescue services" "Connectivity and digitization are issues that have long occupied emergency and rescue services", says Andreas Ploeger, director of the ambulance and rescue vehicle manufacturer Wietmarscher Ambulanz- und Sonderfahrzeug GmbH (WAS). "Although many countries are ahead of Germany in this respect, INTERSCHUTZ should get things moving. As far as WAS is concerned, this trade fair is something of an international benchmark." This is a view shared by Binz Ambulance- und Umwelttechnik GmbH, whose spokesperson, Matthias Quickert, deputy head of distribution and head of the special vehicles and series production segment of Binz operations, reported: "INTERSCHUTZ 2020 is an important national and international showcase, where our company presents its key products. One focal point is weight optimization in vehicle interiors for ambulances and rescue vehicles, as well as in other BOS emergency vehicles for which weight is a key factor, but naturally we also focus on the intelligent networking of voltage and power supply systems in vehicle modifications and data acquisition and presentation for diverse vehicles and vehicle modifications." C.Miesen, Gruau And GSF Ltd Among Exhibitors In addition to WAS and Binz, several other exhibitors have already announced their intention to exhibit in 2020, including C. Miesen, GSF Sonderfahrzeugbau, Groupe Gruau, Ferno-Washington, Weinmann Emergency, X-Cen-Tek, Holmatro, Lukas, Weber Hydraulik, Dönges and Andreas Stihl Ltd. While exhibitors from industry are clearly important to INTERSCHUTZ, great value is also placed on the participation of professional service providers, i.e. those organizations whose teams of professionals and volunteers deliver the emergency and rescue services. Their ranks include the German Red Cross (DRK), the national branch of the International Red Cross which operates in Germany and in voluntary operations assisting the German authorities in humanitarian missions. "For us it is self-evident that we should take part in INTERSCHUTZ as an exhibitor in 2020, but it is also very exciting," explains Dr. Ralf Selbach, chairman of the board of the DRK Association in Lower Saxony. Communication In Disaster Response The lead theme of connectivity and digitization is a very topical aspect of the work of the Red Cross" In the federal state of Lower Saxony, alone, the DRK employs around 3,500 in the rescue services, with a further 7,000 or more volunteers on standby. "The lead theme of connectivity and digitization is a very topical aspect of the work of the Red Cross – for instance, it is vital in communication in disasters and major incidents, or in the training of rescue service personnel," says Dr. Selbach. "This is something that we want to convey to the visitors to our trade fair stand in a tangible and practical fashion. We also want to inform them about the opportunities for working on a professional or voluntary basis in health-related services such as rescue and emergency, civil protection and disaster protection and relief." Likewise, INTERSCHUTZ is an important event in the calendar of the Johanniter Unfall Hilfe (German Order of St John) as Hannes Wendler, the Director of the organization in Lower Saxony and Bremen, is keen to explain: "INTERSCHUTZ not only affords an excellent overview of this sector, including all the latest developments – as a nationwide provider of rescue services and an established partner in general public services it also provides us with an opportunity to demonstrate our consistent efforts to upgrade and improve our services in line with current trends and standards." Johanniter Unfall Hilfe The Johanniter Unfall Hilfe at INTERSCHUTZ will not only place the focus on connectivity between teams and technology – it also aims to reach younger visitors and address personnel recruitment. The Akkon University in Berlin and the Johanniter Academy are two training facilities at which the Johanniter staff educate and train highly qualified personnel for the rescue and emergency services. Our training measures hinge on modern technology and innovative methods in order to prepare the participants" "Our training measures hinge on modern technology and innovative methods in order to prepare the participants as well as possible for the kind of challenges that rescue teams meet today," adds Wendler. "At INTERSCHUTZ we want to show visitors, especially young visitors, that we are a competent, modern and progressive employer – whether as a provider of terrestrial rescue services or in air rescue services and offshore rescue operations." Holmatro Extrication Challenge The exhibits and information offered at the individual stands at INTERSCHUTZ are complemented by an impressive supporting program rich in opportunities for discussion, knowledge transfer, learning and for making valuable new contacts. Demonstrations, activities and examples of practical applications are staged throughout the whole trade fair on the open-air site. Another daily highlight will be the Holmatro Extrication Challenge with rescue teams from all over the world competing against one another in exciting simulated scenarios in which they demonstrate their skills in extricating road-traffic accident victims from vehicles. No doubt, the scene will be less intense, but equally interesting, at the meeting of the rescue services, which is being organized mainly by the German Fire Protection Association (vfdb). This event will feature talks and panel discussions on current issues and challenges. One of many interesting topics will be the comparison of European emergency and rescue services. Directly adjacent to this event various rescue services' training schools will stage diverse activities simulating the kind of operations that rescue teams have to face today and showing ways of tackling future scenarios and challenges. 22nd Hannover Emergency Medicine Symposium Another key element of the supporting program is the 22nd Hannover Emergency Medicine Symposium from 19-20 June Another key element of the supporting program is the 22nd Hannover Emergency Medicine Symposium from 19-20 June, organized by the Johanniter Academy of Lower Saxony/Bremen in collaboration with the Medical University of Hannover. The symposium is held over two days, thus giving participants the opportunity to benefit from both the high-caliber theoretical content of this event and the experience of the leading world fair INTERSCHUTZ. The Johanniter Unfall Hilfe also organizes the Hans-Dietrich Genscher Prize and the Johanniter Junior Prize. Both awards are traditionally presented in Hannover to mark the achievements of courageous helpers. In 2020, the award ceremony will take place on the Wednesday of INTERSCHUTZ. The Hans-Dietrich Genscher Prize is awarded to adults – for example, an emergency physician or some other rescue or emergency worker – for their exceptional achievements in a rescue situation. The winner could be a professional or a volunteer layperson. The Johanniter Juniors' Prize is awarded to young people up to the age of 18 who have shown an exceptional level of commitment by providing first aid and/or other services in emergency situations. Hannover is, of course, also the place where German politicians and administrators responsible for the rescue services meet. Thus, on 16 and 17 June the German Federal States' Committee for the Emergency and Rescue Services will convene at INTERSCHUTZ. The participants will include the representatives responsible for the emergency and rescue services in the various German states, as well as representatives from the German Federal Ministries of Internal Affairs, Health and Defense, representatives of the German police air units, the German Federal Highway Research Institute (BAST) and the major local authority associations from across Germany.
As officially announced at the FIA Conference 2019 in South Africa, Holmatro has become a FIA Official Supplier and will provide its latest hydraulic cutting and spreading equipment to FIA sanctioned circuits worldwide. As part of the new agreement Holmatro will work with the FIA Safety and Medical departments to provide equipment along with training to support local crews and ensure the highest standards. In addition, FIA National Sporting Authorities will have direct access to FIA approved and standardized Holmatro rescue equipment for their racing series. Manufacturing rescue equipment Having supplied tools for the IndyCar safety team since 1991, Holmatro has become a pioneer in manufacturing rescue equipment to assist in the quick and safe extrication of race drivers following incidents on track. Holmatro’s cordless portable and powerful tools are ideal for the motor sport environment Holmatro’s cordless portable and powerful tools are ideal for the motor sport environment, where drivers need to be extricated from carbon fiber monocoques and high-strength roll-cage structures. Over the years it has been Holmatro’s goal to translate their learnings in racing into innovative rescue tools that raise the level of global post-crash response. Latest rescue tools Adam Baker, FIA Safety Director, said: “We are delighted to be able to provide Holmatro’s state-of-the-art equipment to our circuits worldwide. It is crucial that rescue teams have access to the latest rescue tools which meet the rigorous standards we set and to training programs that further enhance safety.” Harm Hermans, Holmatro CEO, said: “Holmatro is proud to be chosen as an official supplier to the FIA and bring our rescue equipment to circuits worldwide. We believe in constant improvement and innovation when it comes to safety, and this is a further demonstration of the quality of our world-class tools and extrication training & consultancy.”