9-1-1; What Is Your Emergency?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Zeroing In on the Training Target

Most of the time, training is labor intensive; 'one-on-one or one-on-two' handholding designed to deliver the basics. Often, when a certified course of instruction is used, it is looked upon more as a relief from liability or compliance with a standard than as an operational benefit. The real lessons are learned in the trenches.

How can we fix this? There are several ways. First, inject some realism and role playing into training...Instruction is a combination of theoretical and practical skills. Get the feel for the job. This applies to all areas of public safety. EMTs treat victims in disaster drills. Police recruits drive cruisers on closed courses and skid pads. It's time we did more of that ourselves.

A second goal should be to add to this realism by using simulation in the most effective way possible. Place trainees in front of the equipment they'll be using, or a reasonable facsimile thereof, and bombard them with calls. It's great that they know what questions to ask on paper. Now make them prove it while they properly enter the call into the CAD. The closer you can duplicate the actual process, the better prepared your trainees will be to handle it.

Additionally, don't forget your resources. We spend too much time using 911 tapes for litigation and not enough for training. Find the good calls. Let them listen. Have them hear the way it's supposed to work. Focus on the right things to do. All too often we reinforce the negative simply through our repetition of "don't do this" and "don't do that" instead of simply stressing the desired goal.

Finally, be innovative. Technologies such as computer aided instruction lend themselves well to telecommunications. Any step which helps to insure a better trained employee in a shorter period of time is certainly a great leap for mankind.

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