Be the spotter


By Mark van der Feyst

When training someone new to the fire service, remember that this person may lack the skills and physical abilities common among firefighters. This was highlighted to me recently when showing a co-op students how to raise a 24-foot ladder using the one firefighter method. The co-op student was eager to learn but did not have the physical capacity to pull off the raise unaided.

This is where we become the spotter. In weight lifting, a spotter helps complete a lift with the lifter doing the majority of the work. This can be transferred to the fireground — instructors can lend a little assistance while the other person does the majority of the work. This will help build confidence and hopefully independence with the skill. 

Another good idea is to seek out building managers who will grant you access to their facilities to use for certain training initiatives. Scaled down models can provide an overhead view for things hazardous materials operations training.  

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