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Who Did You Light Today?

Who Did You Light Today?

Michael West, Fired Up Training Services, LLC

I am a big fan of quotes. It amazes me to see how eloquent many people have been over the centuries; how a few words can really say so much. One of my favorites is “A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle.”These words are credited to several sources but most commonly to Father James Keller, a Catholic priest who wrote the bestselling book, You Can Change the World.

It’s a pretty simple quote and one that tells me how we can all be an inspiration to others around us, and for the fire service, how each of us can be a teacher. Each of us has something we can offer to help train our brothers and sisters.

I’ve said that a lot over the years. I believe it. Each of us has a role in training. Many people, it seems, dismiss it though. I wonder why? Sometimes it feels like training has been given a black eye in the past. Training is often equated to PowerPoint and the lecture hall; mandatory contact hours and repetitive subjects to meet some guideline.

No one wants to be the bad guy who forces the members into the stiff and sterile classroom for yet another bulleted slide on PPE.

Maybe the idea that we should all be trainers strikes fear into the hearts of The Bravest. We all know that according to past surveys people fear public speaking more than they fear death. Are you afraid to get up in front of your brothers and sisters and pass on your valuable knowledge? Don’t be, you’re talking to family.

I say it’s time to stop thinking about training as something the training officer does and time to start creating departments full of teachers. Here’s how you can start to light the candles around you;

1. Do it in short bursts. Many people have a fear of public speaking and talking to a group of your coworkers can be intimidating at first. Develop a 30 minute class on the subject that you love to train on and start there. Be sure it is meaningful and keep it fun. Include plenty of time for practice and hands on. What we do is a psychomotor sport. Train that way.

2. Know what you know, and know what you don’t. I work with a number of very competent builders and mechanics. I’m more of the demolition type. I’m sure I could develop and deliver a good building construction class but I would rather defer to the experts. That said, each of us has strength to share with the team. What do you know something about?

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