Got Props, Give Props

Good morning from the jumpeat!  Have you ever noticed that there is only one way to become a skilled firefighter, by performing the skill! How often have you seen a seemingly knowledgeable firefighter unable to perform on the fire ground? You see there is only one way to become a skilled firefighter, TRAINING.  This can be complicated in many departments due to the lack of training props, funding, and access to learning tools.  Most of the skills that we use on the fire scene have something to do with tearing up or breaking something as we make access to the fire buildings.

Add some challenges

Add some challenges

So how does a department with a small budget train their firefighters?  How can the training department use their budget wisely to get the most bang for their buck?  Let us review a couple of jumpseat tips on becoming a skilled firefighter on a small budget.

  • Make contact with local building officials to use buildings up for demolition
  • Surf the web for less expensive training props to build in your station
  • Review technique used without performing the skill
  • Get Creative

With our departments budgets shrinking like a Hollywood actors waist line we need to be creative in our use of funding and imagination to get our firefighters ready for battle. Using props to simulate real conditions can be some of the best tools to teach firefighters their skills and can be made with little money.  Search for ideas on the web, use social media to interact with other training departments, and look back at what your department has done in the past for ideas.

One of the most often seen mistakes in training firefighters is the lack of realism when training. Many times, we train on flat open parking lots or bays of our fire stations.  When was the last fire where you did not have to deal with a couch, hallway, or some other factor that made the skill harder?  When training firefighters we should add some realistic touches.  Make them raise a ladder between two fire trucks to simulate a tight ally space.  Have them pull the crosslay up against a fence.  Pull the blitz line off the back and advance in front of the engine.


These simulated situations are real and cost no money.  Adding some imagination to your training session can prepare your firefighters for when things are just perfect, like most of our fires are.  By preparing them for obstacles now it will offer a safer more effective firefighter when it’s time for work….