What Is Involved in Volunteer Firefighter Training?

Lori Kilchermann

There are many aspects of volunteer firefighter training, from basic firefighting methods to first-aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). A portion of volunteer firefighter training also focuses on the operation of firefighting equipment, including the firetrucks. One of the most important components of volunteer firefighter training involves the use and operation of self-contained breathing apparatus, commonly called the air tank. It allows the firefighter to breathe after entering a burning building to search for survivors and to fight the fire.

Volunteer firefighter training will focus on the operation of firefighting equipment.
Volunteer firefighter training will focus on the operation of firefighting equipment.

Many members of the world's firefighting forces are volunteers. Basic firefighting methods and techniques must be taught to all volunteer firefighters to make certain that all responders to a fire scene are operating in the exact same way. Attaching fire hoses to hydrants, venting buildings and implementing search patterns in an attempt to locate victims are all procedures that are typically covered in volunteer firefighter training. Other basic techniques, such as the correct way to hold the fire hose and the proper settings to use on the fire hose nozzle, are also covered in the training.

Firefighters must know how to perform CPR.
Firefighters must know how to perform CPR.

Firefighters are also trained in first-aid and CPR so that assistance may be given not only to victims of a fire, but to firefighters who may become injured while working at a fire location. Part of the volunteer firefighter training is devoted to vehicle operation and procedures. The modern firetruck is loaded with valves, pumps and various components that could overwhelm an untrained member of the fire department. This unfamiliarity could lead to increased damage to a structure, as well as injury or death to other firefighters relying on the knowledge of the individual designated to safely and efficiently operate the truck.

Volunteers learn standard firefighting techniques to maintain procedural consistency when first-responders arrive at the scene of a fire.
Volunteers learn standard firefighting techniques to maintain procedural consistency when first-responders arrive at the scene of a fire.

Understanding not only the operational methods of the self-contained breathing apparatus, but the limits of its use is a critical component of all volunteer firefighter training. Due to health concerns, there are suggested limits to how many tanks of oxygen a fireman can consume within a certain amount of time while on the scene of a fire. Failure to adhere to this limit can be dangerous to the well-being of a fireman.

It is also imperative that all firefighters be able to effectively communicate using the department's radio equipment. Radio communication is a valuable resource to all firefighters, but especially to those who enter a burning structure. As a component of volunteer firefighter training, this type of training may be the difference between getting out of a burning building alive and becoming a statistic.

Basic firefighting techniques must be taught to all volunteer firefighters to ensure that all responders at a fire scene are reacting in a safe and coordinated manner.
Basic firefighting techniques must be taught to all volunteer firefighters to ensure that all responders at a fire scene are reacting in a safe and coordinated manner.

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