Strategizing Future Firefighter Training
Editor’s Note: This is the second tip from TargetSolutions’ special report, “Eight Great Tips for Training Your Crew,” a best practices guide. To view the entire report, please click here.
As a training officer, you have probably lost your share of sleep over what to train on next. You know what is at stake — but how can you be sure you are investing your limited resources in the right places at the right level?
After all, your team needs to be well rounded — from ventilation, to high-rise operations, to medical response, and everything else.
Here are two simple steps to help you in your planning process for future firefighter training:
Conduct a ‘needs assessment’ to determine your members’ training needs vs. training wants

Look to the past for training lessons — the past will predict the future
Step No. 1: It is important to make sure you provide the right balance of training at the right frequency on the right topics. Conducting a “needs assessment” will help determine what type of training personnel want vs. what they need. Your goal is to provide training that makes a difference in personnel’s overall performance. One topic might be challenging for one person, but refresher material for another. That’s why an assessment can help lead to training that is comprehensive and appropriate for all levels on your staff.
Step No. 2: It is a safe bet that whatever incidents happened in the past, will happen again in the future. This doesn’t mean the exact same accident or fire will happen at the exact same place — but odds are something similar will happen again. Keeping records of previous incidents can help you make training decisions in the future. When emergencies strike, first responders’ skills come to light, as do their deficiencies. Post-incident reports, which can be tracked and delivered with TargetSolutions, give great insight into upcoming training opportunities.