Like he said, you hear folks say we need to " get back to the basics." I have been guilty of saying this myself to be honest, but I think I meant it different than it sounds. I do disagree that we need to go backwards but, somewhere along the way we have tried to get so technical and so advanced we have lost sight of something. We need to reevaluate how we are approaching things and ensure we start with the basics.
We all don't work for Detroit, Boston, FDNY, DCFD, L.A,, or anywhere that you are pretty much going to get a box alarm or 2 or 3 per shift. Some of us go for days, weeks, months without seeing fire. The most fire I have seen lately was a small camp fire set by a homeless man lol. That is why we must train and become competent in our skills because we aren't going to get there through experience with our number of fires decreasing. We need to master our skills and what better and easier ones to master first than the basics.
When I went through basic I was taught fire behavior, fire hose and streams, ladders, basic ventilation, ropes/knots, extinguishers, basic forcible entry, search and rescue, some on building construction and a few more things, those are just a few; that was 9 years ago. Now days it is all advanced this and that, RIT, Safety/Survival, ICS for everything under the sun, and whatever else you can think of. You know how long its been since I trained on throwing ladders, catching a plug, forcing entry, or knot tying( Lord knows I need help with this one lol).
I have an idea how we can incorporate our basics into our advanced training. Any time you are going to train start with the basics, make sure everybody is comfortable and confident then move on into the advanced portions. This will reinforce everybody's basic skills and make them more competent.
When you are sitting around the station shooting the bull about nothing, do some basic training instead. Small group sessions are better sometimes anyway. Pull your ladders off the rig, try different ladder carries, throw some ladders, practice tying them off. Pull and advance some attack lines, load and deploy different hose loads and become proficient in what works best for you. Practice catching a plug or setting up for drafting ops(depends on location). Or, if you still want to shoot the bull then do something as simple as tying some knots.
Here is one that chaps me... hose size and nozzle selection. Know what you are going to pull on what fires and why. I know people who say we should pull 2.5 inch lines for this, and we need to use smooth bore nozzles instead of fog nozzles. The problem with this is that they can't tell you why. They seen somebody on youtube or another site do it, thought it looked cool and now they think we should do it. If they would train on it, research it, and understand why or why not it would be ok. This is important stuff they should know.
Know how buildings will react to fire due to construction materials and design. Know how to read smoke and how to approach what you see. Understand the importance of coordinating your search, ventilation, and other operations with the attack team. These are all basic skills, train and become competent in them.
Remember these quotes: Let no mans ghost return to say his training failed him. And, train like your life depends on it...because it does.
Most of all, at the end of the day, EVERYBODY GOES HOME!!!
Be safe brothers!