By: Robert Avsec, Executive Fire Officer
It may be hard to imagine it right now—especially for those folks out in western USA who’ve experienced record snowfall this winter—but hot weather is only a few months away. And with the warming temperatures comes the opportunity to “get out of the house” and get some serious training and drilling done with your firefighters after being cooped up all winter at home or in the fire station.
But just like professional athletes, firefighters and officers need to get some “pre-season” work before jumping into a couple of hours of heavy physical activity on a hot day or night. Sure, you and your people have been doing the job all winter, and probably under some pretty adverse conditions.
Keep in mind, however, that training and drilling are opportunities to “sharpen the saw”, that is, work on the full range of firefighting and rescue skills necessary to do the job and make sure that everyone is still doing them safely and correctly.
Review and update your “rulebook”
For fire service managers, the pre-season is the time to take a look at your SOGs and processes for conducting training, particularly for live fire training sessions. Get out your copy of NFPA 1403 Standard on Live Fire Training Evolutions, and review the standard and its guidelines with your staff (You know that the standard address all types of live fire training, not just sessions using acquired structures, right?). For a complete listing of all of the NFPA Standards for the Fire Service, check out this link.
Firefighter Rehab during hot weather training
According to NASA and NOAA, the past three years have been the three hottest years on record and that trend is likely to continue. Many areas of the country have been experiencing hotter than normal springs and summers the last couple of years.
Does your department have an SOG that addresses hot weather training outdoors? If not, check out this Sample SOG for Training Activities During Hot Weather that we prepared when I was the Training and Safety Division Chief with the Chesterfield County (Va.) Fire and EMS Department.
In the same vein, firefighter rehab is not just for the emergency scene. Conducting firefighter rehab during hot weather training exercises is a great way to:
- Develop a firefighter rehab “attitude” in your firefighters and officers;
- Exercise and improve your current firefighter rehab SOG and processes; and
- Try out new equipment that can improve how you deliver effective and efficient firefighter rehab.
Remember: Your people are going to play the game the same way that they practice.
For more information and tips and the latest news about firefighter rehab, check out the FireRehab.com website.