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Why I won’t stop…

Why I won’t stop…

13 years.  Over $25,000 raised.  Thousands of firefighters that I’ve had the great opportunity to climb, fundraise, and compete with for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Surely many would see that as a great accomplishment and lives saves, but sadly the battle for many goes on.  Cures have not been found, funding is not where it needs to be, and we still have a lot of work to be done.

As I sit here tonight looking back on many years, many honorees, and memories I am extremely excited and proud to be representing my family, my department, and the Great State of Ohio.  Two weekends away is the 2019 LLS Firefighter Stair Climb and the names/stories to these names I will carry forever and make it my work to find CURES!

Passing on the left…

Passing on the left…

I penned a slightly abridged version of this in response to a social media post regarding the 9/9/2018 Columbus 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb that I read yesterday.  The jist of posting showed a firefighter only Memorial Stair Climb showing firefighters stopping for each other, checking on one another, and trudging along at their pace.  As quoted, “Take note there is no one pushing past each other in the stairwell causing safety issues. Hint hint Ohio 9/11 stair climb organizers.”  The posting goes on to comment that “organizers who don’t even participate in the event combine those not in turnout gear that move much faster than those as we see here. That gives a very unsafe element to that event.”

I will say that again, I was not an organizer of their event this year, however as a skilled and seasoned climber the last thing that I want someone to get is the impression that the climb is being ran in an unsafe manner and see a decline or problem encouraging people to participate.  If I thought it was unsafe, well firstly I would have said something, secondly I would not have let my eight-year-old son participate (this was his fourth climb).  

I’ve seen firefighters in full gear do the entire thing on breathing air, geared up but not on air, wearing SCBA only, climb in their station shirts and shorts, station gear, SWAT members in gear, military with full ruck, Crossfit with plate carriers, civilians with baby carriers, and people of ALL ages.  I’ve seen people at a snails pace, and I’ve seen professional stair climb teams race through it and cheer us on the entire time.  

For me, it was climbing in my competition gear (yay to no carcinogens), wearing my Scott Pak, and climbing along with my son Jonas who was in his set of gear.  He’s not new to understanding 9/11 and knowing about that day (to a kid appropriate level), he’s not new to climbing and being around a firehouse either.  We chatted the entire time about that day.  He pushed me, I pushed him, we pushed and encouraged others.  

How we remember September 11th is a very personal choice, but I think the MOST important pieces are that we DO REMEMBER, WE NEVER FORGET, WE HONOR THEIR MEMORIES, AND WE PASS DOWN THE STORY.  

Saw the post and thought I’d hop in here.  As a participant of stair climbs around the United States (and now international as well), ambassador, climb organizer/committee person I wanted to chime in with what I’ve been a part of doing for 13 years now.  I am not on the committee at the Columbus 9/11 Stair Climb, however have participated in the Chase tower event twice now.  I don’t know 100% of everyone involved with the planning of this year, but know several of the minds that have been a part of this DO climb or have DONE climbs elsewhere.  This year I climbed the Chase building with my son.

Firstly, not all climbs are equal.  I will say that civilians in with firefighters happens at almost every climb that I have been to, unless it is strictly a firefighter only event.  I have yet to see a civilian climber cause injury to a firefighter in the stairwells as a part of passing, maybe that’s luck, I don’t know but I’ve been in some of the smallest all the way up to the nice wide stairs of WTC1 Freedom Tower.  I’ve seen my share of people slip in water, sweat, puke, and simply collapse on their own. As someone who is directly involved with the worlds largest firefighter climb event where FF are passing at all rates of speed, I just don’t see the injuries.  Annoying to some maybe, but I’ve seen those civilians push us along at climbs all over. I’ve seen them keep us going when we wanted to give in, stop, and not complete our climb.

Hats off to anyone that wants to challenge themselves to a grueling climb of 110+ floors in memory of our fallen and those lost on 9/11.  Are the ones racing and pushing their bodies as a part of their gym WOD disrespecting our fallen?  I’ve pondered that at many of the climbs I’ve been in, and after meeting and talking with many of them, hearing their stories, and seeing them struggle as much as us, I would say no.  For the greater part of them I would say no they aren’t being disrespectful.  At these events from coast to coast I have met former military, active military, law enforcement, family members of our fallen throwing on plate carriers, rucks, and pushing their bodies to the top, none of which I would call disrespectful.

This year, the event grew so much at Columbus, it was amazing to see the numbers that were had. Mother nature decided however to screw with the plans and forced everyone and the ceremony inside.  I can’t fault the event for this unfortunate problem. Yes it was packed.  Yes communication about who went where was a little harder to disseminate because pretty much you were on top of each other in there from the start.  I started out the first lap in the stairwell with mainly FF in it, no problems other than the typical puke and elevators being packed with people at the top.  For ascent number 2-5 we went to the other stairwell that had more civilians that were going up and down.  Little less smell of puke.  Little faster pace.  Less jam at the top of the stairwell.  Saw people passing both up and down, never saw a single firefighter or civilian injured from a trip or fall from this.  Water and sweat slip hazards, yes, but that’s in every event out there like this. The cooling fans from whomever sponsored this one were AMAZING and definitely want to look into a few of these for size.  Water was readily available.  Cooling station at the bottom with all the fans was a nice idea.  If you didn’t cool enough there, step outside.

All things considered for their third year in the Chase building I think that the organizers did an amazing job with the curveballs dealt this year.  Had the weather not forced things inside I would probably say it was the best they’ve done thus far.  That’s the thing, stair climbs, runs, they all have issues at some point.  Every year you’re going to find something, otherwise if they were so perfect and simple WE WOULD SEE EVERYONE DOING THEM.

Kudos to those involved with keeping Chase as a partner for the event like they are.  Getting a building to “let you in” and do an event like this is quite hellish. A lot of cleaning needs to occur, there is the liabilities, the security risk, the chance of damage, and simply the inconvenience of it all.  Keeping the building happy is a huge endeavor in and of itself.

With better weather next year allowing everyone outside, I can see it being MUCH easier and the climb will continue to grow.  If it grows much larger they might need to look at moving to the Rhodes tower because of the larger lobby for staging and two stairwells.

Just my .02 for what its worth, but I’ve not seen anything that would keep me from coming back here to the event.  Great cause, good location, AMAZING turnout.

 

 

 

 

Why do I climb and compete?

Why do I climb and compete?

I’ve been asked this question a lot over the years at the competitor level, at the ambassador level, as an honored climber, or in the coffee shop.  Why do you climb, why are you doing these events?  As recent as this last weekend at the Columbus 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb I had firefighters stop and ask, “aren’t you that guy that does the events”?  Yep, that’s me.  “Why do you do it, where have you been to, what drives you, why participate?”   Yep, heard those and a million other questions.

From event to event there may be some differences in the answer that I give, the underlying foundation is the same.  First and foremost it is the ability to “Pay Forward”.  The iconic football coach Woody Hayes from The Ohio State University, made an amazing commencement speech in 1986 at the University on the topic of paying forward.

Coach Hayes encouraged the mentality of paying forward and that the graduates should, “take that attitude toward life, because so seldom can we pay it back.”  He went on to teach several other life lessons in his commencement speech that spring day and give examples of paying forward, but also many lessons from football that also pertain to life.  It was four years almost to the day that someone else followed the mantra of “paying it forward” by donating lifesaving bone marrow that cured my mother with little time to spare on March 14, 1990.

Paying forward is indeed a huge reason why I climb, why I compete, why I champion for the cause that I choose to champion for.  I have the ability to pay forward and make a difference in the lives of others now, and the lives of others in the years to come.  What we accomplish will be felt.

How can you not climb and compete?  Have you seen some of the causes we do this for?  Kids with cancer, adults with other diseases, people dying, suffering, other events that promote helping veterans, helping those with impairments.  How can you not get involved with that?  I did my first stair climb in 2007 and before the event even started that morning I knew I was addicted and wanted to come back. You hear from a child of their story battling.  You hear from a mother or father of the child they no longer have because they were taken too young.  Your battle with the stairs or the road race is minute, and then you get to relax and have a normal life.  Their battle continues.  When I comes down to it, when you see the faces of those that your work affects and how it can positively impact their lives, that is the real deal and gives you the “buy-in”.

I do it because, it’s the right thing.  Hey, so many times in our calling we see only the end results, we only see the bad days of peoples lives, we are focused on the task at hand.  We get focused on putting out the fire, handling the emergency and our mission is complete.  Being involved with many of the events, at least those in the role of a firefighter event lets us give back and put even more positive influence into the world. Some might say “using the office”, I look at it as just another very positive extension of the office and the oath that we take.

Whatever your reason is, stay true to it and be proud.  Share your reason, live your reason, and let that reason help encourage others.  Every one of these events out there didn’t grow to the level they are at without people sharing their mission, reason, goals, and joys of doing what we do.

 

 

 

 

Its a wrap

Its a wrap

What an amazing year that 2016 has been as things wind down and we prepare for a new year of possibilities, opportunities, and chances.

I started out 2016 with some amazing climbs throughout Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Indiana. I served as a second year ambassador to the Scott Firefighter Stair Climb for the L&LS and had a huge successful fundraising campaign to push to VIP status with some major help from MANY people!   I HONORED to be one of two honoree climbers at the inaugural Big Climb Philly for the LLS and spent a lot of time pushing their new climb that’s closer to home. It was unexpected to be called out during the ceremony to read my bio.   9/11 stair climbs out the wazoo, and I helped with numerous climbs behind the scenes, marketing …marketing …marketing…   I finally made the Tunnel to Towers Run in New York City, running in full gear with around 25,000-30,000 new friends…and ran Brother Siller’s steps in full gear.  The 15th anniversary nonetheless!!!!  It was an amazing race and if you’re on the fence about it, get in contact with me, hopefully i can change your mind about it…you won’t regret the trip!

I’ve spent most of the year not only in my normal training routines and competitions, but this year taking up a life dream of training in martial arts. Its once again forced me out of my norm, but also been an amazing way to meditate, focus, and train the body with some great HIIT. What started out with supporting my son and watching him compete and train has turned into the two of us competing and both bringing home some amazing hardware. If you’re looking for an amazing new way to challenge your body, lets talk about this…hopefully in 2017 I will.

You may have noticed that the amount of writing up here the last few months has been lacking, but the work behind the scenes has been pushing 110%. This year I had an unexpected setback, but that doesn’t even begin to describe what has transpired in the second half of the year. In actuality I still don’t have words for it all. While this post is a wrap-up of 2016, it wouldn’t be right to miss the opportunity to speak about Brian. In fact as I sit here blogging this morning I opened the laptop, tagged to several videos from June/July that have been reposted which were a reminder of just what can be accomplished.

Run after run after run, I took back to the road in the later part of the year to challenge myself and keep pushing the cardio that I let off of. Times are coming down, endurance is going back up, with work this will continue into the new year!

The later half of the year, while a confused whirlwind, has provided me with a reminder of the amazing support that exists, not just locally, but reaching worldwide. The phonecalls, text messages, IM’s, emails, and everyway that you have connected has been amazing and helped myself and others through it.

Thank you for blessing me with your continued support and assistance as I share what we are doing to push, promote, support others, make a difference, PAYFORWARD, and FIND CURES!!!!

The new look

The new look

This has been a long time coming. The first real major overhaul and revamp of not only the blog, but also the logo and branding of Firefighter4Cures. Its been on the radar, but just something that I couldn’t accomplish and something that I was very selective of who touches my project of the heart. They say that everything happens for a reason, people come into our lives for a reason, and that there is much meaning to this…. whomever the “they” is…they are absolutely correct.

After five very hard months of pondering life, direction, meaning and where this was headed I was ready to make it happen. I turned to an amazing friend and alum that I’ve known for years and handed Sabrina perhaps one of my prize possessions, a project of my heart. The original design, the core pieces, the meaning, and the whole project were handed to her with full trust and I let her work. If you know how protective I am this, who represents, touches this, and works with it, you understand what this means. The creative juices flowed and she added dimension, style, flair, and even helped place new elements into it. Some that we worked through, and others such as the smoke that were an unexpected meaning to me.

I was blown away seeing this come together and as a creative myself, learning new things. She took what I could not see with my own eyes and brought it to life where I feel the logo as a part of me.  There are no words that can completely describe how pleased I am, nor how much this means to me. Thank you will never be enough…

FIGHT – “We Fight Together”

CONQUER – “We will conquer battles together” “We will conquer cancer.”

STRENGTH – “We will be strong when others cannot” “We will show our strength to encourage others.” “When you don’t have the strength, let others pick up and fight for you.”

PERSEVERE – “We never give up, we keep on fighting” “Carry on” “Be persistent” “Be tenacious”

Be looking for this more in 2017!!!

We’re off to the races!

We’re off to the races!

This week wasn’t just any typical week, but it started the push toward a very busy time.  I’m back out hitting the steps, putting in the reps, and getting the miles in as I prepare for September and a slew of events from there on out.  Climbs, runs, and challenges, the month is full of them and then the push continues from there into 2017.  I’ve updated the page to show a few more of the events that are coming up, but we don’t have all of them in there yet.  So many of the races and climbs haven’t officially announced, but we know that these have been long running ones that will be out there just the same.

While a lot of people are still out there trying to get a little vacation in or get ready for school to start up, I was out there hitting the steps this week.  With over 300 floors in and some solid workout I feel confident that not only am I prepared for a busy September, but getting even more excited about March and the Scott Firefighter Stair Climb.  The last few years I’ve just been finding ways to chip away at the time and I certainly don’t want to disappoint this year!

Also off to the races is fundraising.  Sponsorships have been really popular early, so much that I wanted to get a new jersey out before too long and get these people seen!  As you know my sponsorships go toward my fundraising goals for the Scott Firefighter Stair Climb (benefitting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society).  Well, this year I’m already going to be starting the year out with the money set back.  Look out Elite 25, I’m coming for you and bringing it again.  If you’re interested in becoming a sponsor, please get in touch with me at jason@ff4cures.com or 740-627-1664 and I can get the information out to you.  We still have spaces on the jersey that I would LOVE to fill.

Thats the short update for tonight, get out there, get training, and get to making a difference!

Some changes coming…

Some changes coming…

This has been quite the ride so far and while I don’t know where the end could be, I know that the reach of FF4CURES is getting larger by the day!  I’ve watched Brian’s story go from local, to regional, to state and way beyond.  Now don’t get worried, these aren’t changes for the bad or anything like that, simply some things that need to happen up here to really continue the mission to raise awareness, make a difference in the lives of others, and the PAY FORWARD.

What will be changing…

1.  You’ll notice a few less events over the next 6-12 months.  While its been HUGE to get a lot of visibility I am trying to be select in where we are and also helping promote and help operate a few more events.  Also this gives more time for training and a little downtime to keep on the mission!  I’ve enjoyed a lot more time with those battling and time with family the last year.  With that said, we’ve got some awesome events we’re headed to, including the Tunnel to Towers Run in New York City at the end of September!  Some of the events I’m doing just have some more logistical costs to them, but are VERY important.

2.  More updates on the website.  I’ve wanted more articles, but honestly the last year it just hadn’t panned out as much as I planned.  I am hoping to feature something at least once a week of original content, plus also sharing others information and so forth.

3.  Events Calendar!  There are so many things going on out there that people just need awareness that it exists. Climbs (especially!), races, fundraisers, and more.  So I am working on this.  If you have an event you would like us to advertise, please email to jason@ff4cures.com

4.  Team FF4CURES.  Yes.  I see this vision of this becoming larger than me, because if I want more of an effect it needs to be.  More importantly, I want to reach even more places and more people to have an impact.  No, there aren’t applications yet.  No, there aren’t any ground rules laid out.  No, I don’t have the full idea of what all this will entail, but I am working on that.  I see this as standout firefighters from around the world with the same commitments and dedication to causes.

Thank you to everyone that has been a part of this so far.  Looking forward to the FUTURE and celebrating three years very soon!

Bike Run and Pool Tourney for Cancer

Bike Run and Pool Tourney for Cancer

Bike Run and Pool Tournament for Cancer
Foundations Helping Children with Cancer

Midway Tap

146 Union Street, Newark, Ohio 43055
Contact: Stella Pegan 740-405-0331

Sunday, July 10, 2016

First bike out at 11am-1pm, bikes in by 5pm.  Each person $10.00, passengers $5.00.
50% to the benefit and the best hand wins!

3 Bar box tables
Doubles tournament, Cincinatti Style $20.00 Sign up at Noon and Calcutta 12:30pm
Singles tournament $10.00 Sign up at 1:00pm and Calcutta 1:30pm.
Valley rules, race to two both side up to 32 players, after that raise to 2 on winners and one on losers.

Food, 50/50, auction, and various raffles.

Sent in by Team William.

Welcome to our newest firefighter

Welcome to our newest firefighter

JIM_0856Brian’s firefighter ceremony at my house the other night went off fabulous and was an absolutely amazing evening for a very special six-year old.  Family, friends, cartoon characters, community members, firefighters from multiple departments, and just people COMING TOGETHER for a cause.  He will no doubt be talking about the event for awhile, but the effect that he had on everyone that night and going forward is where we will see even more impact.  Those that got something from it as well and were able to take away strength, courage, fight, and so much more.

We had never performed an honorary firefighter service, but from the looks of it that evening, NO ONE could tell.  The organized efforts of many that came together for this and the teamwork was so strong that it just went off perfect.  Sure we has little glitches, a vocalist for the national anthem gets sick, no problem, in a small town we know all sorts of people with connection…SOLVED.  Air Evac 107, the medical helicopter has to leave, no problem, there were still a lot of kids that got to see it and check them out.  The thing was, it didn’t make a difference, when you’re giving of your time, your heart, your soul, and helping others, you can’t go wrong!

_JHB7408We entered with bagpipes, an honor guard, the National Anthem was sung, we prayed, we spoke of what characteristics he has that make him an excellent firefighter, and we encouraged him and his family.  Numerous gifts were presented, custom fire gear, a helmet, an official badge, and many others.  He took his oath and then was carried out to the rescue to put out his first fire.

Take a look at the short video from the event, the full video is still being edited.  What an amazing night for Brian to be able to feel the love and know he’s not in this alone.

 

Plan your training and see the success…not just your fitness, but your firehouse

Plan your training and see the success…not just your fitness, but your firehouse

I’ve struggled for a number of years and thought about posting this topic or a very similar one for quite some time. “Why training plans matter,” is a topic that crosses over from fitness training right over to fire training programs and the importance is almost identical. While I was out in Seattle for my 10th competition in the Scott Firefighter Stair Climb and surrounded by people with a strong desire to excel through planning, I decided it was time and had the life experience to speak about it.

When I started the journey to a #FIREFIGHTERFIT life back in 2004, I didn’t know the complexity and the extent of where it would take me. The explanation could be confidence based, the unknowns, the doubt, the lack of knowing how to get from Point A to Point B, but looking back at it now the problem kind of sticks out. While I had a “plan” which was “work out” that’s a very loose plan that lacks structure, direction, goals, and benchmarks that are all important for success.  I knew I had to run, but maybe I didn’t truly understand why I needed to do something specifically or why I needed to look at technique.  I knew cardio was important and I needed it, but didn’t understand or utilize the benefits of intense interval training and how that could add to success in my endeavors.

Working out or training was sometimes “showing up” and simply  “going through the motions,” and while I felt like I accomplished something I didn’t always see the improvements. I wasn’t all in, and all dedicated to a plan that had a direction. In fact it really wasn’t a plan at all.  It was show up, get the job done and go home.  Does this sound like maybe your plan, or sometimes your department?  We’ll get to that in a few paragraphs…

What a plan did for me…

Fast-forward several years to when I started to see times improve, weight fall-off, body fat reduced, and a much healthier lifestyle. What was the difference you ask? A plan. Sure I had dedication to a point, but adding a plan and being dedicated to it drove me into positive directions and I began to reap large rewards.  Planning it out was more than just writing it down and executing it, it also involved educating myself more on techniques, sorting fads from successful methods, and evaluation.

My plan was one that not only included daily goals for steps, floors, activity, and what workout was going to happen, but goals on a monthly basis and even further out. Part of that plan was how to reach the goals and the journey that I was going to take. I wrote it down, because when you have to put it to paper or on your blog, its hard to miss and pretty hard to back down from.

Even more importantly if you are married or have a family and other obligations, by writing these down you can share with others that this is a 45-minute training, or this is going to be a longer night, or this night is my rest night. Have you ever come home from a workout to find your wife unhappy that you were an hour late and she cooked your favorite meal? The lack of sharing that plan sometimes has some adverse affects around the house that put stressors on relationships.

Plans require organization…

The first time I began an organized fitness program with an instructor, we sat down and did roughly an hour long session wherein we discussed my goals, did measurements, tests, and setup a plan. When I worked continually one-on-one with a trainer, they almost always had a book, a clipboard, or a tablet with what we were working on, and I loosely knew before attending what exactly we were going to do that session. When I attend group classes with a fitness instructor, I know exactly from the schedule what training was that night, what different clothes I may need, equipment I may need, or preparation that I might need. It’s a plan and something that I keep and work with. I modify it for training for some events or at different parts of the year, or indeed on competition day like in Seattle I have a plan for that event as well.

The cross over to your house…

Where does this cross over to the firehouse you ask? Imagine if you will what it would be like to only “go through the motions” in your firehouse training, or simply “show up” and figure it out” without any plan? “Just showing up,” lacks almost all accountability and shows no type of plan, direction for the future, goals to achieve, or structure. This is where I make a transition to talking about the importance of firehouse training. Does that sound successful or that it would drive any type of performance? Does it sound like a true dedication of leadership to your organization, firefighters, their families, and the community that you serve?

When you lack planning, direction, goals, communication, and dedication, you lack key ingredients to a successful training and have nothing more than a gathering of people. Just so we are clear, that training I am speaking of is not just physical fitness, but overall fire/rescue/EMS training as a whole.

We as firefighters are athletes, and arguably many would even throw out the word warriors. When I think of athlete I think team, and when I think warrior I think of the Navy SEALS. Do you think that either of these programs gained success at achieving their goals without plans for training, plans for missions and game time, or in everyday operation? Imagine where the two teams from the Super Bowl would be if both simply told their guys, “hey just show up and we’ll figure it out tonight.” Would they be successful? Would the missions of our military elite be successful if they “just showed up and figured something out”?

Going back to that training plan.

Having a mapped out plan enables your firefighters to recognize that you as leaders have a solid direction and they will feel as if their skill building and training to improve are important.   The phrases “training is important, and “we take training seriously here”, are thrown around so carelessly sometimes. If training is that important and serious, then you need to have plans for it.

If some of the largest fire organizations around the world have figured out regimented training programs, then we already know its possible. Whether you are a full-time, part-time, combo, or all volunteer house, having a plan is important. For the full-time house, you have a more captive audience if its occurring on shift, but for the volunteer house where they are taking additional time away from family, jobs, or other duties, its even more critical.

When I mentioned sharing that personal training plan with your family being important, in the life of a first responder, having a balance with family is highly important. Your family doesn’t need to know every intimate detail about training that night, but knowing a little information can help them plan accordingly. Have you ever came home before training to find a well cooked meal, only to tell your spouse that you can’t eat a heavy meal tonight? Has your family ever made plans, only to find out that training changed for this night and is short and they could have spent more time with you.

To take it a step further here, this next statement goes right at the training officers, line officers, chiefs, and those handing the planning of said training. As leaders in the fire service, you need to take into consideration that your planning, or lack of, not only affects your firefighters, but you affect their families as well.

Warriors are hungry…

Of course we are hungry, the food aspect at a firehouse goes without saying, however I mean a deeper kind of hunger. We are hungry to be challenged, we are hungry to train, we are hungry to be empowered, and we are hungry to excel. If you aren’t “feeding” your firefighters enough when it comes to the training aspect, you are setting your house and your mission up for failure. Not only are your firefighters going to become complacent about their skills, but also that complacency spills over to other aspects of the firehouse and fire ground.

If you as officers or those over training can’t take this seriously, how do you expect your crews to? When you fail to plan well enough and provide adequate training you jeopardize not only mission, but losing your firefighters as well. Gradually over time you will see them become more and more complacent at the trainings, maybe opting to train at another house or perhaps look to train at outside resources or events. Worse yet, they not only will seek the training elsewhere, but if they aren’t getting out of it what they seek, you risk losing them to another house.

How to plan…

By doing something you are moving forward. Seems really simple, right? Maybe the issue is that you have great training plans for those weekly or bi-weekly training nights but no one knows? Simple enough fix, put together a calendar that details like this:

  • March 1st week – Classroom: New vehicle concepts and considerations
  • March 2nd week – HOT: Pump operations / tanker shuttle w/ Mutual-aid
  • March 3rd week – HOT: Live burns at training house
  • March 4th week – HOT: Search and Rescue

The above sounds like a nice month to me as a firefighter, but do you think that there are some difference things that your members might do to prepare for each of those? Different clothes, gear, meals/hydration possibly? Maybe they have to miss one of those training nights and are trying to make plans at home. If they just went to a class on vehicles, maybe they can skip that class, but attend the other three.

Maybe the issue is a little deeper than just listing your training ideas for the month, and mapping out the calendar year. Maybe you have training officers, but they just randomly pick something and put little organization into the training and what this will do to improve the skills of your department? This is a much bigger issue that is going to take more than writing some ideas on the calendar, its going to take some coordination between training officers, and the brass above. Its time to have a lil’ sit down and put some heads together.

As the training officer do you have the support from above and have clear expectations? If not, then you need to hammer expectations out and then build your training plan from there. Do you have certain fundamentals that you want to hit every year and split the year with other specializations? Maybe part of that plan is bringing in a major speaker or guest instructor every year, but regardless these are all pieces of the plan if you want to see success and keep interest.

From the largest house to the smallest its just going to take communication and dedication from those involved to make the plan functional. Look out, when you get this rolling, you’re going to experience changes. Changes in motivation, attitude, performance, ability, morale, and just maybe it will change from going through the motions to being the warriors.