Carlsbad Fire and Police; Training At It’s Best

In preparing this month newsletter article I fully intended to tout the hard work and accomplishments of the City of Carlsbad California, accolades they genially deserve. Interact Business Group had the pleasure of working with the facility staff and the police fire and facilities department of over the past 12 months helping them with their daily operations plan, staffing and budgets. I have come to learn firsthand how a forward thinking city like Carlsbad when working together can take very limited sized site, around 4 acres, and create a first class public safety training center. I would stop short of calling it world class because of their limited site and location they did not have not space for EVOC training. A nice sized grinder area will serve them well for maneuvering and driving tactic but speed is not an option for them. (continue..)

Carlsbad during a live fire training session, using FireBlast prop

Carlsbad Public Safety Training Center / August 11, 2012 | Photo by Charlie Neuman
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How My Fire Training Saved My Life

How My Fire Training Saved My Life

Survivability. When things go wrong for firefighters in the course of a fire incident, many factors come into play that ultimately dictate what the outcome will be. Some of those variables are controllable and some are not. The materials that are ignited, the age and condition of a building on fire, and the fire’s behavior and spread are generally out of the firefighter’s control. Factors that can be controlled include personal protective equipment and the firefighter’s training. For Dauphin Island (Alabama) Fire Chief Brad Cox, the quality and depth of his training played a significant role in his life during the evening hours of October 4, 2010.


Fire Blast Flashover

Flashover Trainer From Fire Blast

At approximately 9 p.m. the Dauphin Island Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched to a reported house fire on Barcelona Way. Being a small volunteer organization, the initial response included the Chief and a three-person engine company. Upon arrival, they found a moderate amount of smoke emanating from one home. Chief Cox made the decision to enter the house together with two other firefighters and investigate what was producing the smoke. They observed a relatively small amount of fire burning the casing around a fireplace in a room near the front of the home.

The three of them moved outside and Cox sent the two

firefighters to retrieve some tools from the engine. Being what he estimated as a “bread and butter” fire, he decided he would go back inside and quickly hit the flames using the hose line waiting at the front door. Although he did not realize it, strong winds had been blowing above the level of the homes, and at the instant he went back inside, a 40+ mile per hour gust blew directly through the door opening. What happened next can best be described as a firefighter’s nightmare. Approximately five feet inside the home, Chief Cox found himself in what he expressed as a “flashover and pressure blast” situation. At that point, he realized his life was in jeopardy. To make matters worse, the front door had slammed shut on top of the hose line, pinching off his water supply and wedging the door closed. That’s when his previous training kicked in and helped guide his actions.

Fire Blast Training Trailer

“I did have a sense of fear, but due to my training I

thought, ‘OK – step 1, step 2, step 3, don’t go there – go there.’ I had taught this process to others so many times it kicked in automatically. I sounded the mayday call and activated my PASS device. There wasn’t a window in the entryway and I considered going to one. Then I remembered that I shouldn’t get isolated. I recalled my live fire training experiences, watching fire mushroom across a ceiling and down the walls. I stayed away from the wall. I went into a fetal position just far enough from the door that I wouldn’t block it when they forced it open. I started controlled ‘skip’ breathing from my air tank. I even radioed for my own ambulance. And despite running out of air, I kept my mask on to protect my face from the heat.”

Without any breathing air, Chief Cox lost consciousness. Fortunately, other emergency responders on the scene were able to quickly assemble a rescue team and pull him out of the inferno. To make matters worse, the howling winds were now pushing the flames that engulfed the home to other nearby buildings, igniting three of them. As many as twelve other fire agencies ended up assisting in the fire fight. (Continue to read and watch Brian’s video …)

Some of the Best Training Public Safety Facilities

These facilities are not the newest or the most expensive, but they are all stand-outs for excellence in planning and execution. They are worth looking at and learning from before beginning your Training Center Business Plan to plan or build a police or fire new training center.

Click on the name of each school for their Benchmaked Report:

Luzerne County Community College, Public Safety Training Institute
Nanticoke, Pennsylvania
Northeastern Illinois Public Safety Training Academy
Glenview, Illinois
Tarrant County College Public Safety Institute
Fort Worth, Texas
Treasure Coast Public Safety Training Complex
Ft. Pierce, Florida
Washoe County Regional Public Safety Training Center
Washoe County, Nevada

Law Enforcement and Fire Service Training Trends

In today’s fast-paced environment, traditional classroom learning does not fully meet the training needs of police officers and fireman in dispersed organizations. Just as the Web is a critical business component, eLearning is now a critical learning component for organizations. Fast, anytime access to engaging content that is tracked and recorded enables organizations to enhance training in employee skills and competencies. Contextual learning in a more informal setting is the wave of the future as younger tech-savvy personnel enter the workforce. With the cost of implementing e-learning tools falling, more governments, businesses, and schools have added online courses and other forms of distance learning to their organizations. As evidence, The Continuing Education Coordinating Board for Emergency Medical Services reported a total of 593,167 course completions in 2009-10.

There has been widespread research by academics, corporations and scientists on the effectiveness of e-learning. The overarching result of all the recent studies has been that pure online learning is as efficient as pure face-to-face learning and can be better in some cases where the student has no time limitation. It has also been found that classroom learning enhanced by some online learning is the best approach to education. A recent meta-analysis[2 the US Department of Education proved the above facts. In addition to being effective, it has also been proven in a Forrester Research study that e-learning earns organizations a positive ROI in less than a year.

The e-learning industry is expected to see a lot more changes in the next 5 years than what it has seen over the past decade, primarily because of the technological advancements. Mobile instruments (phones, tablets) are expected to become the platforms of choice. Learners will utilize content when they need it. Games and simulations will become an integral part of workplace learning. We will see the emergence of personalized learning systems. All these will lead to shift in the way we measure performance with an increased emphasis on cost efficiency.

Public Safety Must Find Better Ways To Train

With budget cuts and staff reductions departments must find better and more manageable ways of delivering training. Only a short few years ago I began to see private companies offering training programs as “slide presentations” (the paper kind). Then after a couple of years we saw the introduction of the Computer Based Training (CBT) that was software based. In reality most were the paper slides with a few pictures thrown in. Ho how far we have come!

The following link will lead you to a download link to a white paper based on an extensive study of Law Enforcement and Fire Service Training Trends.

“Public Safety Training Trends Courseware Assessment Paper”