The Action Training Systems Emergency Responder Blog

Making Training MeaningfulGuest 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 traini...

Blog Creating a safer environment for your crews and your communityGuest 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,

Guest Blog written for ATS by Robert Avsec

Create an environment that doesn't just support their individual motivation, but makes their motivational fire "grow"! How do you do that? By creating an atmosphere that supports "combustion."

Firefighters learn early in their training on the necessity for fuel, heat, and oxygen to combine in the proper measures for the chemical reaction that we know as combustion or fire to occur. That process has been represented by the fire triangle:

Fire Triangle

I believe the same principle—combining elements to create a chemical reaction—can be applied by volunteer fire service leaders in creating...

Guest blog written by Robert Avsec for Action Training Systems

FirefighterThe fire service continues to evolve, and so do the communities that volunteer fire departments serve. Many of these changes have had a direct impact on volunteer fire departments and their ability to recruit and retain members. Just a few examples are:

• Population growth in rural and suburban communities—the types frequently served by volunteer fire departments--add to number of calls for service.
• Changes in the economy, and the way America works, requires more volunteer firefighters to work outside of the community they serve; many volunteer firefighters must work more than o...

Fire Instructor smallGuest 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 sam...

Guest Blog for ATS by Robert Avsec

Taking Advantage of TechnologyThe 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...

Guest Blog for ATS by Robert Avsec

The Essentials of a Successful Training Program image only"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 ...

Guest Blog written for ATS by Robert Avsec

trainingAdults 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.

Creating a positive learning environment for adults does not happen by accident; it is the direct result of actions taken by instructors w...

Guest Blog written for ATS by Robert Avsec

FO2During 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 other...

Guest Blog written by Robert Avsec for Action Training Systems

Online09The 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...