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Guest blog written for ATS by Robert Avsec On-line training and education. Buzzwords in today's fire service training circles. Fire departments, large and small, are leaping into the on-line training and education "pool" as a solution for their every-changing training and education needs for their members. Training and Educational Needs Many fire departments across the U.S. and Canada struggle with meeting their training and educational needs because of many factors such as, but not limited to:• A body of knowledge that keeps expanding for the multitude of services that
Guest Blog wirtten for ATS by Robert Avsec Allow me to begin by saying that this article is not focused on treating any individual who is having negative responses to post traumatic stress (PTS), especially those who are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Those folks need the treatment and guidance of mental health professionals and others far more knowledgeable on the subject. Many people have many opinions about why fire and EMS personnel are being exposed to more on-the-job stress (career or volunteer, you’re still on the job when providing service), but there seems to be general agreement that they are. So, if we know that stress is to be expected, shouldn’t we prepare ourselves to minimize the risk? We know the risks involved in
Guest blog written for ATS by Robert Avsec Training and preparation should be a significant part of every firefighter's career, whether it is their chosen profession or they volunteer their time to their community. First, it's the only way they'll have the required knowledge, skills and abilities to be a safe, effective and efficient firefighter. Secondly, training done with one's peers is a powerful means for developing teamwork and camaraderie, both important qualities for firefighting (After all, it is a "team sport"!). So, whether you're a company officer in a career or combination department, or you're a training officer for your volunteer fire department, here are some key areas for your training focus that will help you conduct training that matters. 1. Knowing your district
Guest blog written for ATS by Robert Avsec Where to start? Tackling such a broad topic in your fire department might seem like trying to get a drink of water from a fire hose, no? Well, how about we take that water flow down to water fountain-size and get a good drink! Let's start with us Firefighters and fire officers can be their own "worst enemy" when it comes to safety. In his outstanding book, I Can't Save Your Life, But I'll Die Trying, Dr. Burton Clark, a long-time advocate for safet
Guest Blog written for ATS by Robert Avsec Kind of a misleading title, don't you think? Because as we continue to venture forth into using on-line platforms to deliver fire and EMS training, don't you need to be more than an instructor? Certainly, in the traditional sense of the word, instructor. And most certainly in the context of instructor-led training. Previously, instructor-led training meant having an instructor physically present before students in a classroom. We now have an expectation that those same instructors become proficient at leading the delivery of on-line training and education. We also have an expectation th
Guest Blog for ATS by Robert AvsecThe training of firefighters and officers has come a long way since I began my career in 1981. Back then, 8 mm movies, 35 mm photograph slides, and transparencies (or overlays) were the only off-the-shelf training products available for instructors. And training had to take place in a physical location, such as, the fire training center or the fire station. For ad hoc "graphics" in the classroom, the instructor's options were a chalkboard or clear vinyl sheets (transparencies) that the instructor could draw or write on and have it projected on the screen on an overhead projector (Google the names for those pieces of equipment to see what they looked like). Today's Classroom Today, with computer technology the classroom can be anywhere: the fi
Guest Blog for ATS by Robert Avsec"Training teaches what Operations does, and Operations does what Training teaches." That's the Training and Safety Division's motto for the Chesterfield County (Va.) Fire and EMS Department where I served for my entire 26-year career. The motto is on a large banner that hangs in the main hallway of the Fire Training wing of the County's Eanes-Pittman Public Safety Training Center.From my experiences, which included serving as the Chief of the Training and Safety Division for 3+ years, such a motto should be the starting point for any fire chief that wants to have a successful training program. For too long, too many young firefighters have heard this (or something similar) from senior department members and
Guest Blog written for ATS by Robert Avsec Adults are different than children.Especially when it comes to the classroom. The difference is defined by the two primary fields of education: andragogy and pedagogy. Successful teachers and trainers of adult learners have an appreciation for the differences between andragogy and pedagogy. This appreciation, and understanding, enables those instructional leaders to keep their adult students motivated and engaged in the learning process.FundamentalsCreating a positive learning environment for adults does not happen by accident; it is the direct result of actions taken by instructors who understand how adults learn best. The characteristics of such a positive learning environment are trust, open communication and shared learning experiences. Successful adult educators maintain the
Guest Blog written for ATS by Robert AvsecDuring my fire service career, one of my roles that brought the greatest amount of personal and professional satisfaction was that of being an instructor. Whether my students were there for entry-level training or continuing education or professional development, there was nothing like the "high" of helping people learn the job, or get better at doing the job, of being a firefighter/medic.Along the way, I had many great teachers and mentors who were great at teaching the KSAs (Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities) from the curriculum. More importantly, people like Deputy Chief Jim Graham and others, also taught me how important it is for the instructor to also be an effective leader.Why Instructional Leadership is ImportantIn the department where I served for
Guest Blog written by Robert Avsec for Action Training Systems The training and development of its people is one of the critical functions that any fire department must conduct. Without good entry-level training and continued training of its incumbent staff, a fire department will be hard-pressed to deliver high quality emergency services in a safe, efficient, and effective manner.The challenges in delivering that training are greater than ever before. Reductions in funding for training, reductions in available instructors, and increased training requirements are just a few of those challenges that fire department leaders face.The good news is that all training and development does not have to originate with the Training Division. Individual officers within the
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