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Characteristics of effective public safety training programs

In this tip, Gordon Graham reminds first responders not to go on autopilot when it comes to completing training requirements, because “lives depend on it”

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Gordon Graham here with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. And Today’s Tip is for all public safety personnel who respond to emergency incidents. I want to talk about your training.

As a first responder, it’s easy to fall prey to the idea that training is just another “check the box” requirement. Incident Command System training? Check. Communicable diseases training? Check. Firearms qualification? Check. It’s way too easy to go on autopilot. And when that happens, your focus wanders. And when your focus wanders, you fail to effectively learn and retain the information.

Training matters because we will perform out on the streets like we train back at the station.

So, what should training look like? Here’s some suggestions for you.

First, it needs to be realistic. Use experiences to guide the training scenario. Use recent events or previous close calls to sharpen your skills.

Next, plan and develop the training thoroughly. Nothing is more unmotivating than standing around watching some instructor shuffle papers while you’re supposed to be training. So please be prepared.

Training should be a daily habit. Every day needs to be a training day.

And finally, make it verifiable. Have a record of what you trained on and when you trained on it. Individually and organizationally, adopt the attitude that you need to train as though lives depend on it. Why? Because they do.

And that’s Today’s Tip from Lexipol. Gordon Graham signing off.

Gordon Graham has been actively involved in law enforcement since 1973. He spent nearly 10 years as a very active motorcycle officer while also attending Cal State Long Beach to achieve his teaching credential, USC to do his graduate work in Safety and Systems Management with an emphasis on Risk Management, and Western State University to obtain his law degree. In 1982 he was promoted to sergeant and also admitted to the California State Bar and immediately opened his law offices in Los Angeles.