Training & Education
A program of free CPD seminars focusing on the lessons learnt from frontline operations will run at The Emergency Services Show 2019 at the NEC, Birmingham on 18 and 19 September. The Lessons Learnt Theatre, sponsored by UCLan, will feature case studies of major incidents including the Salisbury nerve agent incident, the recent wildfires on Winter Hill in Lancashire and the Ocado warehouse fire in Hampshire. Experts from across the emergency services community will detail findings from current...
Global fire systems provider Advanced has been awarded Highly Commended for Service Excellence at the annual Safety and Health Excellence (SHE) Awards 2018, held at the NEC, Birmingham. The company received the commendation, in the BSIF (British Safety Industry Federation) Customer Service Award category, on the back of its technical support and Advanced 360. This online portal gives customers free access, during the lifetime of their products, to a range of services including training, technic...
Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) as a member of the Safer Roads for Kent group, is on a mission to make the county’s roads safer. Over the last three years, firefighters have dealt with more than 3,350 crashes, many of which have involved vehicle cutting to free people trapped inside. Sadly a number of crashes have resulted in people dying or sustaining life-changing injuries, which also impact the lives of their families and friends. ‘Drive’ To Empower In a bid to reduce...
Infographics announced a joint collaboration between West Sussex and Surrey Fire and Rescue as part of their move to a fully managed Cloud delivery and maintenance model, with FireWatch on the Microsoft Azure platform. The new FireWatch Cloud solution, underpinned by Microsoft Azure, will provide them with flexible and remote access to their FireWatch fire service management system, including full management and upgrades. It will also deliver a live integration with Surrey and West Sussex Fire...
Kent Fire and Rescue Service’s (KFRS) very own canine crew member Buzz, is now well on his way to becoming a fully operational search dog within the technical rescue team. The cocker spaniel started his basic training with the Technical Rescue team when he was just six months old. Now, 12 months on, and thanks to the dedication of his handler Andy Parks, Buzz is making excellent progress with his training schedule. Buzz-eye-view camera During a recent three-day UK training exercise held...
CHEMTREC, the source of 24/7 call center support and information during hazardous materials incidents, partners with the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC) to offer the CHEMTREC HELP (Hazmat Emergency Local Preparedness) Award. Through this program, two volunteer fire departments will be awarded $7,500 to help enhance their response capabilities and increase local readiness to respond to and prepare for hazardous materials incidents. Eligibility Criteria To be eligible to apply for the CH...
The National Security Inspectorate (NSI), the UK’s independent certification body specializing in the security and fire safety sectors, shared in the success of this year’s IFSEC and FIREX exhibitions as the integrated events proved important forums for approved companies and applicants, as well as key industry stakeholders, to engage face-to-face with NSI experts. The three-day events provided a vital opportunity to raise awareness of the valuable role of independent certification in enhancing the performance and operational effectiveness across the sectors. NSI’s continued support for the Show Me How feature was evident with a series of sessions on the NSI stand. The topics included updates on PD 6662 for the installation of alarm systems, the new Kitchen Fire Protection Systems scheme (SP206), NSI’s CCTV Code of Practice NCP104 and the latest modifications to the SIA Approved Contractor Scheme workbook. Fire risk assessments NSI Chief Executive Richard Jenkins presented the heat winners’ prizes at the end of the final day in the Keynote Arena NSI’s Head of Field Operations (Systems), John Davidson spoke at FIREX to a packed theatre on the importance of using competent, trained risk assessors to complete life safety fire risk assessments. Once again, NSI auditors judged the work of teams competing in the Engineers of Tomorrow Competition, a key attraction within IFSEC International. This year the competition not only showcased the skills and talent of apprentices but laid the foundations for becoming a part of the highly respected World Skills competition. NSI Chief Executive Richard Jenkins presented the heat winners’ prizes at the end of the final day in the Keynote Arena. The heat winners on day three were Matt Eminson and Ryan Harker from Chubb (Intruder Alarm competition) and Callum Tootle and Chris Lomax from EFT Systems (Fire competition). Enhancing public security Independent certification is recognized as an important framework for continual improvement" Richard Jenkins NSI Chief Executive commented: “Once again IFSEC and FIREX exemplified the benefits of industry coming together to enhance public security. Our stand welcomed a considerable number of enquiries from companies interested in engaging with NSI’s highly trained team of experts. “Independent certification is recognized as an important framework for continual improvement for businesses; one we are pleased to spearhead within the security and fire safety sectors. We employ the most highly trained professionals who help to drive up the performance of businesses of all sizes as part of the assessment for approval. “It was inspiring to see so many NSI approved companies attend this year’s event and we were proud to play our part in helping to shine a spotlight on new talent within the sector. It was also a pleasure to welcome so many invited guests to our VIP drinks reception celebrating our collective commitment to raising standards.”
The recent FIREX International exhibition proved a great success for the GGF, as the glass industry's trade body was inundated with enquiries on fire-resistant glazing. The GGF had its biggest ever platform at FIREX with a 30m2 stand that included three full size product exhibits showing the various stages of the fire-resistant glazing process, as well as glass performance before and after the effects of smoke and fire. Host of visitors It certainly was an attention grabber with a constant stream of visitors to the stand of representatives from local councils, emergency services, training companies, health and safety services, construction companies, the media as well as architects, specifiers and building managers. Adrian Blaydon, GGF Technical Officer and Secretary of the Fire-Resistant Glazing Group commented, “It was a great show and really raised the profile of the GGF and Fire-Resistant Glazing. I was delighted with the full attendance at my seminar on the Importance of Fire-Resistant Glazing. I am sure the interest shown from the show’s visitors will lead to many future opportunities for the Federation and our Members.” Importance of Fire-Resistant Glazing Steve Bond, Chair of the Fire-Resistant Glazing Group added, “I was pleased to see the GGF have a much-enhanced presence at this year’s FIREX. The live exhibits showing the effects of fire and smoke captured the imagination of visitors and the GGF video showing fire resistant glazing in action also attracted interest. “With so many enquiries, it has clearly been a worthwhile show and one I hope the GGF can repeat next year. I can’t emphasize enough how important shows like this are, to educate those responsible for fire safety in buildings, on the correct specification, installation and performance of Fire-Resistant Glazing.”
Lake Assault Boats, part of Fraser Industries and a manufacturer of fire, patrol, and rescue craft, announces that Ed Watkins Marine of Denver, North Carolina is now the service center for Lake Assault Boats vessels in North Carolina. Ed Watkins Marine will provide a wide range of support services for first responders in the region. “We are thrilled to announce Ed Watkins Marine as our official North Carolina service center,” said Bob Beck, director of sales and marketing at Lake Assault Boats. “Ed Watkins and his team have demonstrated expertise maintaining and upgrading Lake Assault Boats fireboats and patrol craft serving in the region. They are true professionals, and a great resource for all first responders in the region.” Offshore Boating Enthusiasts “Our background is serving lake, river, and offshore boating enthusiasts with top-notch products and unmatched support,” said Ed Watkins, president of Ed Watkins Marine. “In addition, as the preferred service center for Charlotte Metro fire and police boats, we also understand the unique needs of first responders. Being named a service center for Lake Assault Boats is a great opportunity for our team, and we look forward to supporting their customer base.” As a crew member for a NASCAR championship racing team, Ed Watkins understands the importance of teamwork and performance. His organization employs that same approach to its marine customers.
Euralarm has released its Annual Report 2018-2019. The period was a year of change for Euralarm. With a new President, Board, General Director and sections leaders in place and the final integration of the extinguishing section in the overall structure, the association is ready for moving forwards into the future. The annual report covers the period running between the General Assemblies of the association. The report follows the structure of Euralarm, with every section and technical committee of the association summarizing their activities over the previous year and, where appropriate, providing forecasts and plans for the future. A running theme of the report is Euralarm’s work on building strategic alliances. Throughout the annual report, the activities of the Euralarm sections underline the importance and necessity of co-operation in the fire safety and security business. It ensures that Euralarm’s voice is heard in Brussels both on the political and the standardization side. New Challenges And Opportunities New technologies, changes in the macro economic environment, the new EU parliament and the reshaping of the international landscape will give Euralarm challenges and opportunities. Against this background, it is important for Euralarm to create wide acknowledgement among European politicians and policy makers and to keep these and other relevant stakeholders involved in the industry. Communication is the key word here. Over the 2018-2019 period, Euralarm also testifies of an ongoing growth in membership with Eaton Electrical Products Ltd and Halma plc as new members of the Fire Section. This continuous growth, in line with the trend of the previous years, is as a sign of trust in Euralarm, its organization, vision and strategy, which are all detailed in the report.
The Fire Safety Event 2019 and its co-located shows have enjoyed the most successful event to date welcoming over 11,733 visitors across three days at the NEC, Birmingham. The Fire Safety Event has firmly cemented itself as the fastest growing exhibition in the UK for the industry, providing a platform that ensures its visitors are equipped to maintain the highest fire safety standards. High-profile incidents in recent years have put a spotlight on the industry and The Fire Safety Event recognizes it has a role to provide ongoing education on new standards and legislation, best practice advice and help support the industry by providing them access to companies and products that will better prepare them. Events Exceptional Growth The Fire Safety Event has seen phenomenal growth since its inception in 2017 The Fire Safety Event has seen phenomenal growth since its inception in 2017. The event, which began with 16 exhibitors this year boasted over 50 and remains a firm favorite with many exhibitors who have been with the show from day one. Liam Hunt of Safety Technology International enthused, “It was refreshing to meet so many installers and end users who use, trust, and recommend our products – the Fire Safety Event provides a platform to target new faces within the fire and security industry. A trio of crowded days highlights a marked increase in footfall on previous years, STI look forward to making it four shows out of four in 2020.” Over 75% of 2019 exhibitors have already secured their space for 2020, promising that the events exceptional growth will continue into 2020 - and beyond. Fire Industry Exhibition The high caliber, industry-leading exhibitor line up for this year included Advanced, asecos, c-Tec, Checkmate Fire Solutions Ltd, FFE Limited, Fike Safety Technology Ltd, FireClass, FirePro UK Ltd, Kingspan, Klaxon, Turner & Townsend, WAGNER UK Ltd, and Xtralis UK Ltd. Ian Rose, Director of Global Fire Equipment (UK) commented, “The Fire Safety Event is fast becoming the key fire industry exhibition to attend for both visitors and exhibitors alike. With its being held central to the UK at NEC it is accessible to all. Global Fire Equipment will be returning for the 2020 show”. The event received high praise from both exhibitors and visitors, with feedback attesting that, “For all things connected to fire safety the fire safety event is the place to be.” Higher Profile Speakers The Fire Safety Event is an interesting and enjoyable experience for all those involved with an interest in fire" The Fire Safety Event’s intent is to break the mold for such exhibitions, aiming to challenge and educate audiences by offering creative, varied and dynamic features alongside its world-class exhibitor line up. Features which they hope visitors will continue to remember off-site. The exhibition achieved a fine balance of features, seminars and exhibitors, with another visitor noting: “The Fire Safety Event is an interesting and enjoyable experience for all those involved with an interest in fire. It covers all aspects; I will definitely be back next year.” As it grows in stature, it’s not only new exhibitors that are attracted to The Fire Safety Event, but higher profile speakers. Two impressive keynote speakers for this year being Neil O’Connor CBE, Director of the Building Safety Programme at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and former NYC Fire Commissioner Sal Cassano. Hosting Contemporary Seminars With 67% of visitors also pre-registering for seminars, The Fire Safety Event is shown to fulfill the desire within the industry for the latest product innovations, best practice, and advice on legislative changes. Particularly noteworthy for this year were the numerous specialist demonstrations on offer - such as the live burn tests from Kingspan and asecos’ DSEAR with a Bang Demo Area. This content helps translate the importance of fire safety into real world scenarios and has made a memorable impact on this year’s visitors. Brand new for 2019 and another great success was the Tall Building Fire Protection Area hosted by the Association for Specialist Fire Protection (ASFP). This feature brought together expert speakers from across the industry, hosting highly contemporary seminars. Business Protection The event was really helpful in getting what I needed all under one roof at the same time - Fire, Security & Health and Safety" Throughout the full 3-day duration, this Protection Area was a hive of activity across all the ASFP’s varied sessions. Visitors recognize the value of the concurrent seminar programme, commenting: “I would highly recommend this event to anyone within the field of Health and Safety, Fire Safety or Compliance.” The Fire Safety Event truly recognizes the importance of providing guidance and insight through such event features and they will continue to be developed in the 2020 edition. WBE (Part of Nineteen Group), owner of The Fire Safety Event saw impressive growth across the entire series, covering the three co-located exhibitions - The Security Event, The Facilities Event and The Health & Safety Event. One visitor commented, “The event was really helpful in getting what I needed all under one roof at the same time - Fire, Security & Health and Safety.” With such a comprehensive offering, The Fire Safety Event and its co-located events are a must attend for anyone who has an interest in improving life safety, business continuity and business protection within their organization.
Infographics announced it has successfully streamlined and enhanced the mobilization processes used by Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service (RBFRS) within the Thames Valley Fire Control Service. By integrating FireWatch and Capita Vision, RBFRS can now automatically share intelligent vehicle availability data between systems and remove manual processes. The integration provides a level of live, connected management information and increased efficiency This latest phase builds on work undertaken as part of the wider deployment of Infographics’ FireWatch Fire Service Management platform, which connects RBFRS’ data, back office teams and front office operational staff to deliver a ‘complete picture’ of live organization status. Enhanced Mobilization Process The integration provides a level of live, connected management information and increased efficiency not achievable with separate silo systems. The result is a reduction in administration and enhanced mobilization process within Thames Valley Fire Control Service. The FireWatch-to-Capita Vision integration includes sharing directly, via FireWatch, this information, and the impact of live changes on vehicle needs and availability, with data coming from across the following areas: Real-time, integrated HR, training, fleet and availability Vehicle level availability status based on resource needs and priority calculated to-the-minute Graphical county-wide availability map status and change notifications of the same data Mobile-optimized client, with booking on/off duty facility and real-time status views SMS-based workflows and booking on/off duty processes with crewing exception notifications for managers Streamline Time And Attendance Processes RBFRS plan to deploy Infographics’ latest version of the FireWatch Capita Vision interface as part of a future FireWatch upgrade. This will deliver a bi-directional interface, with FireWatch processing live incident data from Capita Vision to provide a ‘closed loop’. It will also further streamline processes around time and attendance, and pay and maintenance of competency with event-related processes initiated automatically in the FireWatch system. Through the integration of FireWatch and Capita Vision systems, we have streamlined some ways that data is shared" Jim Powell, Area Manager for Service Delivery at RBFRS said: “Through the integration of our FireWatch and Capita Vision systems, we have streamlined some of the ways that data is shared and used in the organization. “We are committed to investing in information and communication technology that helps to improve the efficiency and resilience of our service. This will help us to deliver a more effective service to the communities we serve.” Enhancing Operations Of Customers Russell Wood, Commercial Manager at Infographics, said: “We are delighted to have assisted Royal Berkshire to successfully deliver this project. By working closely with multiple UK Fire Services and Capita to provide a standard set of bi-directional Mobilization interfaces, we are able to further enhance the operations of our customers. “FireWatch already connects departmental data, teams and processes to provide an integrated and accurate ‘big picture’ of resources and status. This same pre-calculated and integrated data is now available to Capita Vision and other Mobilization systems, and the collection and processing of event-related data can also be greatly streamlined in the other direction.”
I gave a lot of thought to identifying the biggest challenge facing the American fire service in 2019. Many things came to mind: funding; fire prevention - if every building was sprinklered and all had working smoke alarms, it would solve a lot of other problems; political influences; initial, regular and ongoing training, and a bunch more. But the one constant that kept popping up is the people issue. Staffing. This obviously isn’t the first time you’ve heard that. Normally, when we talk about staffing, we talk about the number of firefighters on the apparatus. That is not exactly what I'm talking about. What I mean is, in 2019, we better figure out where our next group of recruits is coming from. Measurable Drop In Applicants If one fire department is paying more than another, members jump ship On the career side, numerous areas are reporting a measurable drop in applicants—in other words, they need people who want to be firefighters and medics. In some areas, it’s a bidding war. If one fire department is paying more than another, members jump ship. And who can blame them? They have families to take care of. But when the dust clears, there are still far fewer people interested in this job than we need. Some theories are that the new generation: Doesn’t like helping people Are self-focused Aren’t into doing physical things Are lazy Can make the same money without shift work Can make the same money without risk None of these theories gets us far in addressing the problem. The goal of any fire department is to deliver staffed, trained interior firefighters just a few minutes after someone dials 9-1-1 Big Picture Focus On the volunteer side, all you have to do is listen to a fire radio nearly anywhere in the U.S. (and Canada) and you will hear volunteer fire departments toning out... toning out... and toning out—with little response when members are responding from home or work. It, too, is a measurable problem. There are volunteer departments with little funding and others with plenty of funding. Regardless, there seems to be little “big picture” focus on solving the problem based upon what’s best for the people having the fire. Some say to simply hire career firefighters. Is it that simple? What are the pros? And are there any cons? There certainly are. Trained Interior Firefighters Some departments solve the problem by having their volunteers on duty, in quarters, ready to roll The old model of volunteers responding from home or work doesn’t work very well when you consider the proven fire spread in 2019 vs. fire spread even just 20 years ago. Some departments solve the problem by having their volunteers on duty, in quarters, ready to roll. That may be the least expensive option depending upon the local model. Some hire part-time firefighters. Some unfairly and regularly rely on mutual aid. Some have a fair and balanced mutual aid system. Some have their heads in the sand. The goal of any fire department is to deliver staffed, trained interior firefighters just a few minutes after someone dials 9-1-1. If we don’t have people knocking on the fire station doors to become career firefighters or to volunteer, that goal is in jeopardy. I simply can’t see a bigger, more immediate challenge for 2019 than the “people” issue.
In order to recruit and retain, you must change your mindset to that of a business. While we continue to scratch our heads on how to recruit and retain members among the ranks of our departments, we might want to take a look at ourselves. Sometimes looking in the mirror is a hard thing to do, as it may give us a clear view of who and what we are as an organization. For years, the volunteer fire service has had to overcome many obstacles such as funding, a not-so-friendly environment or poor leadership, to name a few. They may even have had to re-create themselves. Business Mindset And Reputation Whether you are in a rural, suburban or urban area, what drives us? Is it pride? Is it fulfilling a need to belong? Ultimately, it is the end user, the customer – the resident, the taxpayer. In order to target new membership, we must be able to sell ourselves as a good, a service and a product. Business models have been around for years and, if followed, yield positive results We need to begin to think about running our volunteer organization like a business in order to be successful. Businesses that are successful have a great reputation. People want to work for them and they easily retain and recruit top talent. Business models have been around for years and, if followed, yield positive results. Building Community Of Employees Let’s take Google for an example, a company with more than 64,000 employees with growth to the tune of billions of dollars each year. When looking at Google’s performance, it raises the question: what is Google’s success secret? How can a company amass $9.7 billion in revenues mostly from advertising? How can they keep great help and recruit? The answer is its leadership being innovative, actively advertising, creating a unique and rewarding work environment as well as creating and executing their business model daily. A business that goes above and beyond by treating their employees great will in return get motivated and loyal employees. Google allows their employees flexibility to work on passion projects and tap into their creativity. Google also encourages its employees to become teachers and coach one another to help build a more creative, satisfied and intimate community of employees. One needs to make fire departments attractive to potential recruits, there are small moments of observation that are then used to make bigger decisions are called “thin slices” Positive First Impressions In this day and age, we need to be ahead of the curve. People want to be informed and they want it now. They want a quality product and will shop around until they find it. They also want to be part of something big. They want to be recognized. Remember the statement, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”? Well, it was the tagline for a Head & Shoulders shampoo ad campaign in the 1980s. Are we continuing to make our fire department attractive to potential recruits? How do we expect to garner new membership if we don’t make that “first impression” a positive one? These small moments of observation that are then used to make bigger decisions are called “thin slices.” Potential candidates for membership are constantly assessing us, slice by slice, as “recruiters". Business Model For Your Demographic We need to create a business model and execute it at all times Is the fire station in good shape? Is it clean and orderly? Is the organization structured? Is the leadership strong and decisive? Or are there cliques and groups that work against the common goal or the command? These are easily seen and quickly discovered by potential candidates. They are looking to see what we are offering them: why should I risk my life, my health, my safety – what’s in it for me? How do we take all of these “thin slices,” package them together and make them attractive for potential recruits? We need to create a business model and execute it at all times. In order to sell, we need to advertise. In order to advertise, we need the leaders of our departments, the innovators and recruiters, to all come together and develop a business plan that works. It should work for your demographic. It should pour information to the masses. It should build on a reputation that you are a place that you’d want to work for! We need to begin to think about running our volunteer organization like a business in order to be successful Utilizing Current Volunteer Membership We need to begin to think about running our volunteer organization like a business in order to be successful. So, what does this mean for “my fire department”? Simply put, it means that you need to rely on the staff you have in place; lean on them and their expertise. Your current membership may hold the keys to your success. Develop a mission statement that is creative and energetic Canvass your current membership for professionals who could be utilized. You may have trained CPAs, human resource professionals, CEOs of corporations, advertising and marketing experts or veterans already inside your organization. They may remain quiet as they are unsure that they are needed to assist. Ask for the help and utilize them! Learning From Shortcomings Do not hesitate to implement them into your business plans. Help them look at how to target demographics in your area. Remember that great leadership will work to identify an individual’s strongest points and work to utilize them for maximum effectiveness. When you create a plan, be sure that you set obtainable goals. Develop a mission statement that is creative and energetic. Don’t eat the elephant in one bite: set a timeline in your plan. Meet often with your team, as you will learn more from your shortcomings than from your successes.
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.
Tamworth-based trade association, DHF (Door & Hardware Federation) is emphasizing the importance of making fire safety an ‘absolute priority’ in new-build homes, following an investigation into potentially dangerous fire safety issues in houses developed by Persimmon Homes and Bellway Homes. Fire Safety In New-Build Homes The BBC’s Watchdog discovered serious breaches that had gone undetected during the construction process" The findings, by BBC Watchdog Live, highlighted that a number of new builds constructed by the firms were sold with missing or incorrectly installed fire barriers, which are used to form a complete seal between different areas of a home, and prevent the spread of fire. Without them, experts say, fire and smoke can spread five-to-ten times faster. “The BBC’s Watchdog discovered serious breaches that had gone undetected during the construction process, leaving homes and lives potentially at risk in the event of a fire,” explains DHF’s Commercial Manager, Patricia Sowsbery-Stevens. “In many new builds, particularly timber-framed buildings, fire barriers are a vital part of fire protection and we would urge house builders to ‘get it right’ at the construction stage and to have a workforce that is trained in, and understands, the importance of installing the fire barriers required to prevent potential problems down the line. Ultimately, responsibility for ensuring that buildings are compliant with Building Regulations lies with the house builder.” Importance Of Fire Safety Following the investigation, Bellway Homes stated that it was ‘committed to improvement’ with regards to potentially flawed fire safety issues in developments in Kent and West Lothian, and that mandatory training on, amongst other subjects, fire stopping, has been introduced for all relevant construction staff.Following the Grenfell disaster in June 2017, DHF’s voice has been one of the loudest and most passionate in its call for third-party certification by a UKAS-accredited body of manufacture, installation, maintenance and inspection of fire, smoke and security doors, in order to offer complete assurance on their performance. With a history and heritage dating back to 1897, the federation is undoubtedly one of the most revered organizations, widely respected as the industry’s independent authoritative voice. Fire Door Training Courses DHF works assiduously with BRE Academy to offer fire door training courses Fierce advocates for appropriate levels of training across all the sectors that it serves, DHF continues to place the importance of training firmly ‘up-front-and-center’. The organization works assiduously with BRE Academy to offer fire door training courses; this has been central to its on-going fire safety campaign. Additionally, in March 2019, DHF announced a high-profile collaboration with Secured by Design (SBD) and Fire Industry Association (FIA) to publish a guidance document on fire safety. Named A Guide for Selecting Flat Entrance Doorsets; A publication for housing associations, landlords, building owners and local authorities in England, the publication accentuates the key issues of fire safety for those selecting fire doorsets, recommending all fire doorsets are factory-prepared (as opposed to prepared on-site), that all work be completed under factory production control, and in addition, audited by a third-party. Fire Doors “Since Grenfell, the wider issue of fire safety has been thrust into the spotlight and we are delighted that progress is being made in this regard,” said Patricia. “We continue to stress that the use of fire doors, correctly installed and with robust fire door maintenance procedures, are an essential part of fire safety and urge those in positions of responsibility (such as house builders) to ensure that they are not only fulfilling regulations, as well as legal and moral obligations, but insisting upon appropriate levels of training with regards to installation and maintenance.”