The Action Training Systems Emergency Responder Blog

Firefighter Training - A Solid Foundation for Unpredictable Scenarios

Posted by Elise Andreasen on Thu, May 01, 2014 @ 08:25AM

One of the most revered professions in the world today is that of the firefighter. Motivated by purely selfless compassion for their fellow human beings, firefighters place themselves in harm's way to extricate victims from a variety of hazardous environments. While society expresses gratitude and awe for these brave professionals, the perils of the job make fire service training crucial for the safety of both rescuer and victim.

Firefighters must perform many duties throughout their careers (Essentials of Firefighting) The most widely publicized responsibility of a firefighter is of course to extinguish threatening blazes in any number of settings--townhouses, apartment complexes, detached homes, warehouses, and even wide open spaces. Possessing the expertise to recognize the chaotic patterns of one of nature's most destructive forces is not innate; indeed, that knowledge must be learned so that victims can be rescued and fire personnel leave unscathed. 

Firefighters must also be able to operate highly specialized machinery (Driver/Operator Training)--firetrucks, hoses, extinguishers, pumps, hydrants, etc.--with a dexterity that permits the quickest action in the most stressful situations. Emergencies never slow down while firefighting personnel struggle with the very equipment that is supposed to save lives. Training in the intricacies of these tools is absolutely essential to preserving life.

Unfortunately, fires are only one of the many dangers that threaten life and property. Hazardous materials, natural disasters such as floods and tornadoes, and accidents are ever present in both small and large societies. As trained emergency medical technicians, fire personnel are able to treat critically wounded individuals, even after rescuing them from the very situation that caused them such harm.

In addition to the observed work of the firefighter, there are many unseen expectations that a firefighter must maintain. With any incident, there will be reports that must be completed to record the event and the response. While any type of paperwork can be a bit tedious, such documentation is absolutely essential to the integrity of the system. Consequently, firefighters must know how to properly complete such reports.

Firefighter Training

Equally important to the written report, firefighters must ensure that their minds and bodies are at peak levels of performance. Regular drills and physical fitness training become routine in the life of fire service professionals. Understanding the reason behind these measures, but also adopt the lessons learned from these experiences will guarantee that the firefighter is the best prepared they can be.

Fire service training provides the solid foundation for such a meaningful career; in fact, the societies and victims that a firefighter will assist in the future demand no less than the very best training possible. Please contact us today to begin the exceptional training that will positively affect so many.

Tags: Fire training, firefighter training, firefighter training, first responder training, Fire Officer, Fire Simulator

Vehicle Extrication Training Arms Firefighters with Precise Response

Posted by Elise Andreasen on Mon, April 14, 2014 @ 10:31AM

Firefighters must be trained for so much more than fire fighting. As public servants on the front lines, firefighters are often the first on the scene for any number of cataclysmic events. One of the most common incidents that firefighting professionals encounter is car accidents; unfortunately, some of these accidents will require that victims be extricated from their vehicles. It is precisely such cases that call for the expertise only found in those who have successfully completed vehicle extrication training.

vehicle extrication training

Every accident has its own characteristics. The vehicle's make and model, the accident's location, the position of the vehicle, and the severity of the victim's injuries are just some of the factors that must weigh heavily on how the professionals address each situation; however, the result must remain the same--safely removing the victim from an entirely unsafe environment in an expedient amount of time.

Since there are so many variables in an accident, it is essential that some of the basic strategies for such cases be invariable. Consider, for instance, some of the following parameters that must be considered, no matter the conditions:

  1. Stabilization has always been one of the first tasks for the responding crew, but today offers a variety of new products that more quickly and efficiently complete this step. Keeping up with this new equipment takes recent and specialized training.
  2. Just as with the stabilization devices, there is new glass removal equipment that allows the glass to be taken out in a more controlled manner so that neither the victim nor the responders are sprayed with additional glass. This equipment also allows the responders more access to the victim.
  3. Removing the door provides the best access to the victim, but each vehicle's make and model provides a different set of principles that must be employed. Where brute force may work okay in certain circumstances, finesse is better used in another. Crews must be trained to recognize which to use when.
  4. Like door removal, roof removal proves to be quite challenging. Where a door can possibly be removed by a single firefighter, a roof will require a team effort. Crews must be trained to recognize the sequence of cuts that should be made for successful roof removal.
  5. Once the door and/or roof is removed, it's not at all uncommon to find the victim pinned down by the dashboard. It is paramount that crews know how to handle this situation when it arises, and it will. Whether jacking with spreaders, rolling using rams, or using any other technique, crews must have the training they need to perform this task quickly and efficiently. At the scene is never the time to talk about theories that may or may not work.

While the NFPA standards provide the principles and best practice guidelines for safely removing a trapped victim from a vehicle, those standards will not prove at all helpful without the proper training. Please   contact us today to discover how our training arms all first responders with the expertise that saves precious seconds on site.

Tags: Fire training, firefighter training, vehicle extrication training, emergency responder Training, first responder training, Fire Officer

Using Statistics as a Tool

Posted by Elise Andreasen on Wed, October 02, 2013 @ 08:05AM

Fire Officer Training

Every day, firefighters risk their lives to save people from fires, serious accidents and other perils. But in the heat of the moment, their own safety is often the last thing on their minds, and they often fail to recognize the dangers in routine habits and daily life at the fire station. As the supervising fire officer on the front lines, protecting your team’s health and safety must be the first thing on your mind. “Watching their backs” is your most important responsibility.

In its Fire Officer I series, Action Training Systems identifies statistics as a key tool to prevent potential injury and death.

As a fire officer at the unit level, you will be leading your team into many dangerous situations. If you know and can recognize what has caused fire service injuries and fatalities in the past, you will be better able to protect your team from harm in the present.

Online Fire Training

Statistical data and current trends can offer insight into how injuries happen and what you can do to prevent them. This important information can also help you identify fire training needs and recognize hazardous situations. 


They include:Several organizations closely track firefighter injuries and deaths and provide a wealth of data online.


Fire service trade magazines and websites also report news about special hazards to firefighters.

Your own department is also a good resource for statistics and current trends, especially as they relate to your area. By studying what has happened locally, you may recognize patterns that can help you anticipate and plan ahead.

Fire TrainingFor instance, your jurisdiction may have a highly developed downtown area, and you may notice that your department has performed several elevator rescues in recent years. This information may motivate you to update your team’s elevator rescue training and review the elevator surveys of the buildings within your jurisdiction.

Proactively studying statistics on how fire service injuries and fatalities occur should be a part of your routine. It is your job to research this important information and to then translate it into a solid, effective plan of action.

Remember, they’re not “statistics” when it happens to one of your firefighters.


Tags: firefighter training, EMS training, emergency responder Training, Fire Officer

Firefighter Training - Do I HAVE to Manage Conflict?

Posted by Elise Andreasen on Fri, August 02, 2013 @ 03:00PM

Yes! As a firefighter, you learned how to put water on fires.  As a supervising fire officer, you need to become skilled at putting out a different kind of fire: conflict. Managing conflict is an essential leadership skill. You will want to learn how to manage all kinds of conflict – from petty disputes to major disagreements with the potential to derail your team’s success.


Managing conflict is an unavoidable part of any supervisor’s job. Nobody likes conflict, but suppressing disagreements only produces frustrated firefighters and unhappy fire stations.


On the other hand, a fire service officer who can confront conflict skillfully can turn it into an opportunity to help individuals grow and improve the organization.

Action Training Systems’ “Fire Officer I Series” talks about applying specific skills and characteristics to approaching conflicts constructively:

  1. A willingness to intervene
  2. The ability to model non-defensiveness
  3. Show patience
  4. Sensitivity
  5. Optimism
  6. Credibility

The first step to resolving conflict is being willing to intervene while others are still engaged in the dispute. When a conflict comes to your attention, you need to step up and offer a problem-solving approach.

The second characteristic is the ability to model non-defensiveness. Collect personal feedback from those involved without getting upset yourself or taking anything said personally. In other words, be a good listener. All of the parties involved have information you need to find a constructive solution.  


Third, you will need to show patience. Make it clear that you are not rushing to quick fixes, but working to develop an agreement on how to resolve a problem.

Fourth, show sensitivity. Show that you understand and accept the emotions that people involved express to you. Feelings of anger, fear or frustration are common.

Fifth, as the leader you must always project optimism. Even though others may be seeing things negatively, you must keep your focus on the positive results that agreement and resolution will bring.

Finally, one of the most critical characteristics for approaching conflict is maintaining credibility. Your trustworthiness is important.

  • Be good for your word.
  • Be consistently truthful and fair.
  • And remember that integrity matters.

After seeing these six characteristics for approaching conflict, spend a few moments reflecting on conflicts you’ve observed in the fire station. Mentally reviewing these experiences, how would you apply these lessons on approaching conflict? Characteristics and skills for approaching conflict are central to your success as a supervisor. You’ll find that these characteristics will serve you well every day in many situations.

Tags: firefighter training, emergency responder Training, first responder training, Fire Officer

Firefighter Training: “No-Excuses” Safety Culture

Posted by Elise Andreasen on Wed, July 24, 2013 @ 07:27AM

Fire officers and assistant fire officers need to enforce a ‘no excuses’ safety culture with regard to policies affecting firefighter safety.

                                            Fire Officer Training

Many people talk about “changing the culture” of the fire service to reduce firefighter injuries and fatalities, but what will that mean to you as a team leader? What are the characteristics of a safety culture and what are the practices for fostering it in your team?


Action Training Systems’ “Fire Officer I series” describes a safety culture as:

… a safety mindset that extends to every operation and activity – in the station, en route to emergencies, in training and in emergency response.


It means that fire officers and firefighters make safety a part of the thinking process for every potentially dangerous situation. The idea is to create an environment in which all firefighters comply routinely with safe practices and expect their colleagues to do the same.


A strong safety culture means understanding that safety protects everyone from tragedy – firefighters and the public they serve. As supervising fire officer, your job is to reinforce, refine and engrain that safety culture in your team.


Five ways you can do that include:  

  1. Training and testing.
  2. Enforce “no-excuses” compliance with safety policy and SOPs.
  3. Walk the walk. Model SOPs and safe practices at all times.
  4. Restate and re-emphasize safe practices in your communications.
  5. Record, investigate and report all accidents and firefighter close-calls.  


#1 - Training and Testing

Training is where safety starts. Classroom and hands-on training are your best opportunities to educate your team about the importance of working within the system.


You can stop firefighters from acquiring bad habits in training by reinforcing or correcting their behavior.


Be sure that firefighters understand the dangers of deviating from established procedure. Also, discuss how your department's SOPs will counteract a potential hazard. Training is your firefighters’ best defense against accident or injury. But keep in mind that training in itself can be dangerous.


The U.S. Fire Administration reports that almost 10% of firefighter injuries and fatalities occur while training.


#2 - Enforce “No-Excuses” Compliance with Safety Policy

You’re not going to be liked for this, but when you accept the promotion to fire officer, this comes with the job. You’re expected to enforce safety policy regardless of who likes you or doesn’t like you. If firefighters resist the directive, explain why the policy is important. They have a right to disagree with it, but they must comply. If firefighters truly believe a practice is wrong, they must go through proper channels to implement a change.


#3 - Walk the Walk

You should know your department’s SOPs like the back of your hand and model safe practices at all times. Don’t take shortcuts, even if resources are limited.



#4 - Restate and Reemphasize Safety in Communications

Remind firefighters of safe practices on scene and in your radio commands when necessary.


#5 - Investigate and Report All Accidents and Near-Misses.

If an injury does occur, whether on the training ground or during an incident, follow your department's SOPs for reporting the accident. You should be prepared to help in the investigation and generate formal documents that explain your findings. By following SOPs, you’ll help your department respond to a possible time-loss claim and contribute to its wider knowledge about accidents to improve training, command and operations.


Encourage firefighters to discuss their “near-misses” as well. A near-miss is an unintentionally unsafe occurrence that probably would have resulted in serious injury or death had there not been a lucky break in the chain of events. The National Fire fighter Near-Miss Reporting System is a voluntary, confidential online reporting system that collects national data on near-misses with the goal of improving firefighter safety.


By sharing information about your near-misses though this system, you may save other firefighters’ lives. Enforcing safety and creating a safety culture isn’t easy. But on your most difficult days, it may help to remind yourself and your firefighters that you do it not just for their sake, but for the people they’ll go home to at the end of the day.


Firefighting is one of the world's most dangerous professions. Firefighters get hurt and killed in many unpredictable situations, but most of the fatalities are predictable and preventable. It behooves you to foster a culture in which your team supports safety as a matter of competence.


As company officer, you, more than any other member of the department, can save firefighters and their families from needless pain and suffering and ensure that everybody goes home.

Tags: Fire training, Industrial training, Fire Officer