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Giddyup Probies: Getting on the Gear

Giddyup Probies: Getting on the Gear

Photo Courtesy of TonyStl's Flickr Stream

Ethan Vizitei

3) Slow Down

This is a practice tip that I learned from a long career as a musician: if you can’t do it slow, you can’t do it fast. When I practice a piano piece, I slow it down to the point where I have ample time to think about good solid accuracy for each upcoming note and to make sure I’m making the most efficient movements possible, traveling the shortest distance between chords, using fingerings that allow me to keep any extra motion to a minimum. After practicing it this way a few times, I can speed it up again to full tilt, and my fingers are still reaping the benefits of those slow and careful repetition. The same thing held true for my gear. It may not help you, but if you’re struggling It’s sure worth a shot. Every day I did several slow repetitions at my house, thinking it through, seeing where I could minimize extra steps, and it really paid off.

4) Control your emotions

If you have a voice shouting “GO GO GO!” in your head and you start doing everything at twice the necessary strength, you’re going to make mistakes and ultimately slow yourself down further. One time I was all-hyped-up trying to push myself to my speed limit and I yanked on my pants pocket so hard to get to my gloves that one of my gloves flew out of my pocket a good 15 feet away from me, which meant I had to go rummage for it before I could finish getting dressed. When your body knows what to do, you don’t need to push it hard to get good speed. Calm focus is infinitely better than a panicked frenzy.

5) Multi-task

There are several little things you can do at the same time to improve your speed. For me, I shoulder my left suspender while using my right hand to close my pants, and I pull my coat collar closed with my right hand while picking up my helmet with my left, and then I tighten the chinstrap with my right hand while grabbing my gloves with the left. Anything you can train yourself to do simultaneously with another task will make you that much quicker.

Quiz: What Level of Hazmat Are You?

QuizHaz-Mat specialty quiz, created by FireLink user Brian "Moose" Jones. All these questions were taken from the course material of the June 2008 NYS Hazardous Materials Technician Basic Course. What level are you? Find out now!...

If you’re a new guy like me, than that list above may or may not be helpful to you. If it is, great, if not, that’s fine too, but it’s still important to find some way to encourage yourself to get your gear drill-time down as low as possible. Every extra second we can cut out of our response time can make a difference and save a life, maybe even ours. Good luck, and stay safe! Ethan