Helpful tips from Roco Chief Instructor Pat Furr:
Is your rescue team in a rut? Do you end up practicing the same two or three rescue scenarios during your training drills? If you answered yes, then your’re probably getting bored – or, worse yet, you may be setting your team up for failure when confronted with an emergency that’s different than what you have repeatedly practiced.
Think outside the box a little. Come up with some “What ifs?” that are different than what you normally practice. Of course, you need to keep it realistic and appropriate for your response area – don’t waste your time practicing scenarios that have no chance of actually occurring. However, do challenge your team to the ”unexpected” scenario in practice before you face it in real life.
Rescue teams must also take into consideration the “types of confined spaces with respect to opening size, configuration and accessibility” within their response area when determining practice drills. OSHA requires practice from the actual or representative permit spaces at least once a year. For municipal responders, we recommend that they be prepared for all six confined space types because they never know what type of situation they may face. (Download Roco’s Confined Space Types Chart.)
If you’re the one who’s responsible for setting up proficiency training for your team, ask your team members to come up with some ideas that are different from your typical drill. You might be surprised with what they come up with. If you’re a team member, approach your training manager with some suggestions to change things up a bit. Once the idea is planted and your team starts to run a variety of training scenarios, the idea will catch on. In fact, team members may try to “outdo each other on coming up with the next new scenario.
Here at Roco, we know that one of the most popular training blocks for our students is the infamous “Yellow Brick Road.” This is a multi-station scenario where rescuers must “think on their feet” and adapt to an ever-changing situation. It is always challenging and gratifying for the teams. For those of you that have had me as an instructor, you know that I will be throwing a wrench into the mix somewhere along the road.
Of course, we all know that our victims don’t read the training manuals – they’re always coming up with new and different ways to get into trouble. If (and when) your team is faced with a rescue that is completely different than the “same old, same old,” then you will be ready to deal with the situation because you have practiced for the unexpected. As rescuers, we need to think “Semper Gumby” (Latin for “always flexible”) as one of those skill sets that doesn’t appear in the book. Remember, when it comes to your team’s practice drills, keep them guessing, but at the same time, keep it real.
If you’d like some ideas on keeping your practice sessions realistic, but challenging, contact us here at Roco.