This very question was posed to me by a member who was complaining about training. I looked and thought about the question and then asked a question of my own: “Are we good enough? Are you standing here telling me that we, as a department, are good enough to quit practicing?”
The response was one of exasperation and a roll of the eyes. But, I never got the answer from him. I think I know what he was thinking, but he never gave me a real answer to satisfy my curiosity. I think he was torn between being frustrated that I asked him a question to answer a question and he was mad knowing that the answer was “no”, we are not good enough.
As I considered this moment, I had to ask myself, “How much is enough?” After all, like many of you, I probably spend too much time in my job. Well, more like my passion, but not everyone has that same passion and it is difficult to understand and relate to. But, when is enough enough?
I reflected on this for a while considering all of the fire service debates: smooth bore vs. fog, RECEO vs. SLICE-RS vs. DICERS, quints vs. engines vs. trucks, collective bargaining agreements vs. management, and the list goes on. Each topic, and there are many more that could be added to this short list, has it’s own place in the fire service. Each was created to address a situation that was encountered or a problem that existed, whether you agree with them or not.
All of the topics listed above, I realized, have come and gone in regards to popularity. It seems that in many cases the fire service has fads that will tip the balance, but eventually that balance is restored with a part of that fad becoming a part of the fire service in one form or another because it can be useful for some or all in specific situations.
However, what does not or should not ever go out of style is basic, fundamental training on a regular basis. What should never happen is the belief that we are some how above training because “we’ve already done that” or because “we run a lot of calls”. We can never train enough on advancing a hose line. We can never train enough on the deployment and placement of ground ladders. We can never train enough on securing a water supply. We can never train enough on basic forcible entry. We can never train enough………….well, I think you get the point.
The point is………………..we can never train enough. It’s that simple.
Keep the basics involved in all you do and remember why we are doing what we’re doing. I’ll give you a hint: it’s not for the days off!