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Adding Stressors into Fire Simulator Training

 

Integrated fire simulator training—like that available through the Continuum of Training—offers huge wins when it comes to honing and coordinating your firefighting crews into seamless teams.

But that’s not all—or even the most important—gain that you’ll see when you adopted an integrated fire simulator training program.

Phil Duczyminski is a fire department training officer for the City of Novi (Michigan). He has 24 years in the fire service and has spent close to a decade of training firefighters. In his experience, the true value of the Continuum of Training goes beyond learning simple coordination among tasks and responders. An integrated fire training simulator is the only way to hone the most important life-saving skill a firefighter has:

Stress management

“If you walk up to a pump panel and begin pulling levers and discharging water,” Duczyminski says, “that’s not really realistic to any type of scenario you’ll be in [as a responder]. There are other stressors involved in real life. So, you have to build those stressors into the training to build a real environment.”

Using the Fire Simulator to Build Stressors into the Training

Why does stress matter?

Because it’s often STRESS that drives mistakes:

“It’s very different, doing something on the scene when you’ve heard about it in a classroom. You freeze. It could take seconds to remember … or it could take forever until someone walks over and corrects it for them. … At just about every fire or training event you look at, you’ll see mistakes take place. … On the training ground, I’m hoping students will make those little mistakes, so I can catch them and correct them before it happens in the real world.”

This is what Duczyminski likes about holistic fire simulators, like FAAC’s Continuum of Training:

“When you have a Continuum of Training, that brings you much closer to a real-world” stress level because it forces them to transition between tasks without a ‘mental reset.’

“You take that student,” Duczyminski explains, “they drive to the structure fire—you’re adding that additional stress. Like in real life, they’re building up that stress as they drive to the scene. Next, the have to jump out of the truck and go around to the pump panel, seamlessly, and start taking care of their next responsibility, which is actually pumping on the fire. They’re being evaluated on that transition. I find that continuum really helps to build the students to where they need to be and helps create a successful operation.”

Training under real, complex stresses—bad roads and ugly weather, panicked drivers, confused victims, pump malfunctions—is absolutely the best way to be sure firefighters are prepared to respond under stress.