The Action Training Systems Emergency Responder Blog

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

Why is Fire & EMS Training so HOT?

Posted by Elise Andreasen on Tue, May 28, 2013 @ 01:24PM

Firefighter Training OnlineOnline learning is HOT and for a very good reason. Many departments and organizations around the world are turning to online training/learning as a way to decrease costs and improve the learners performance. Also, unlike a one-time classroom session, the online learning course is available to be accessed anywhere and can be reviewed a number of times to enhance the learners comprehension.

Many fire departments and EMS organizations are turning to online learning as a means to supplement their classroom training. Now, it is very important you understand that online training is not meant to replace hands on training, but simply be used as a tool to train students in addition to hands on and classroom learning. You can easily have your students login in from home and review or study material before coming to your weekly training night or before drills, so that the material to be covered is already fresh in their mind.

ATS online learning Supports your department/organization’s training goals

Improved training costs – Producing learning content is time consuming whether it’s online or not. With ATS Online learning, our course content is based on national standards and designed to follow training manuals by IFSTA/FPP and Brady/Pearson Publishing. With ATS Online, each time a course is accessed your return on investment improves because you are not limited by a classroom environment which means savings through decreased travel, reduced materials and improved (and more efficient) performance.

Increased productivity - Since ATS online is not bound by geography or time you can have control over when you want your students to take courses…during down time at the station or on their own at home . In addition, with the state of the current economy, we are continually being asked to do more with less. So ATS online is a great way to give students the tools and skills necessary to enhance their performance.

Standardization - Although you are an excellent training officer/course facilitator, there is no guarantee that the course material will be presented the same across all sessions. ATS online allows you to create a process where learning is standardized across sessions. With ATS online there will be consistency in delivery and content.

ATS online supports learner development

Improved retention - The combination of our high quality media and instructional design produces a very rich learning experience. With our interactive courses, quizzes and tests are available to help your learners retain the course content and better prepare them for hands on training and real world scenarios.

Real-time access - Live learning doesn’t allow for much flexibility. ATS online eliminates this because courses can be accessed anywhere, anytime on any computer or mobile device such as an ipad or smartphone.

Personalized Learning - ATS online allows you the freedom to customize your emergency response training to meet your goals for the day, week or year. You can purchase access to specific courses for a select number of learners based on your personal department/organizational need. This allow you control that you would not have in a classroom learning environment.

Ongoing access to courses/resources - If you take a class in the real world and need a refresher, you better hope that you took good notes. Otherwise, you’re out of luck. That’s not the case with ATS online. Ideally, you continue to have access to the online content and resources to brush up on what you learned and have the opportunity to share information as well.

A few questions to ask yourself: What are your goals for your emergency response training? What type of training are you currently using? Are you completely satisfied with your current fire training or EMS training program? Is it efficient, without sacficing the quality of content and learner comprehension?

Tags: Fire training, firefighter training, EMS training, Industrial training, emergency responder Training, first responder training

3 Fire & EMS Training Tips to Increase Competency

Posted by Elise Andreasen on Thu, October 20, 2011 @ 03:47PM

Provide a Constructive Learning Environment

The best way to create a successful lesson plan is to organize and rehearse your material well before the class. The learning environment you create will affect your students' success, so it is important that you prepare your lessons with these ideas in mind.

  • Create a learning environment based on mutual respect, shared vision, two-way communication, group discussion and reflection.
  • Support students in taking ownership of their learning experience.

Actively Engage the Learner

The world around us is busy and therefore we get easily distracted. Here are some ideas to get your learners focused on the material you are teaching.

  • Activities should be relevant, motivating and exploratory and should encourage problem solving, decision making, group collaboration, discussion, storytelling and reciprocal teaching.
  • Trainers can accomplish this by guiding learning with a humanistic approach. If you show your passion for the subject, are well organized and enthusiastic, you will notice a difference your students’ attentiveness.
  • Be a coach and mentor. Help with prior-knowledge activation, goal setting and action planning.
  • Provide opportunities for questions and conduct demonstrations and simulations. Provide frequent constructive feedback and be available to provide extra help.

After the Lesson

Reflect on your lesson and explore ways to improve it.

  • What did you take away from the lesson?
  • Did you learn something?
  • Were you open to suggestions and questions?

As education and training continue to develop and change, stay current and be open to new ways to educate yourself.


Tags: firefighter training, EMS training, Industrial training

Top 10 Reasons you know you need our Firefighter or EMS training

Posted by Elise Andreasen on Fri, September 16, 2011 @ 09:12AM


 First Responder Training

Top 10 Reasons you know you need our Firefighter and/or EMS training

10. You’ve been appointed training officer and your Captain just informed you that your budget has been cut in half.

9. You’re responsible to provide quality competency-based training that can be measured and you have no idea where to start.

8. Your students are falling asleep during their online training programs, so you need to engage them with interactive and compelling video.

7. You are bombarded by “affordable training” offers, but none are based on current national standards.

6. Sending your personnel to off-site training is not time or cost effective, so you need a better solution.

5. You would like the training that you buy to be a long-term investment instead of just an annual expense.

4. You want to simultaneously train all the personnel in your jurisdiction but don’t know how to make this goal a reality.

3. You are working on a grant application and need a training quote.

2. You need simulation software that can represent specific hazards of your jurisdiction and want help building it.

1. You would like to implement a new Firefighter training program, EMS training program or Industrial training program,  but don’t know where to start.

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Tags: Fire training, firefighter training, EMS training, Industrial training, fire simulation, vehicle extrication training, Rescue training