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Off-Topic Experience Training First Responders

Sam Goldner

Level 5 Valued Member
Howdy,

Anyone have regular experience training FR and want to chat? Individuals, but also department-wide training.

I am the Health and Performance Administrator for a suburban fire department in Wisconsin; I do their physical therapy, S&C, and nutrition (all voluntary participation). I haven’t been doing it for that long; I’m confident in what I’m doing (it helps that I’ve also been a FF/EMT for 3+ years) but I am definitely looking to hear from other people who have more experience than me.

And if there’s a way I can be helpful to anyone else in this field, I’d love to do that, too.

Reply here or PM me.
 

3letterslong

Level 6 Valued Member
Anthony DiLuglio had a DVD out specifically for firefighters and Tim Anderson used to be a firefighter. If you can't find many people here with that experience, you might want to see if they've written something on the subject. (But we've got such a diverse group of great people here I'm sure there are several who are able to exchange experience and info with you.)
 

silveraw

Level 7 Valued Member
Second this. Zar ran the training for the busiest fire department in the country for years. I don’t think many people have trained more first responders than him.
On top of that he is an awesome guy. Definitely reach out to him for anything regarding training first responders en masse.

He helped me a ton to pass my SAR pt test. Although my “regular” conditioning is now based off of tactical barbell 2: the conditioning. More because it is one of the only systems that is simple enough to make sense to me.
 
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Poolcue

First Post
Interested in this thread. I have been an LEO in Europe for 15+ years. I consider myself very much a kettlebell student at this time.

Interested to chat all things First Responder.
 

Sam Goldner

Level 5 Valued Member
Here’s a question to get things started (but at any point feel free to hijack and talk about something else):

We all have entry standards…but then what once we’re in? Do your departments retest? Is there something extrinsic mandating fitness maintenance/improvement? The standard in the fire service, at least where I live, is that once you’re in you’re in, and its intrinsic motivation from there on out.
 

T T

Level 4 Valued Member
In my old agency, only specialized assignments (SWAT, K9) were required by policy to test every year. Other members could test IF they wanted. The command staff tried to incentivize everyone by offering time off based on score.
 

Poolcue

First Post
Similar to the above, once you are in, you are in.

The only requirement to remain fit is if there is a specialism you need to qualify for. Personally, I train BJJ and lift, taking pride in my ability to take care of both myself and my colleagues.
 

Sam Goldner

Level 5 Valued Member
In my old agency, only specialized assignments (SWAT, K9) were required by policy to test every year. Other members could test IF they wanted. The command staff tried to incentivize everyone by offering time off based on score.
We’re working on an incentive program but right now it seems like it’s going to be stuff, not time off or something similar.
Similar to the above, once you are in, you are in.

The only requirement to remain fit is if there is a specialism you need to qualify for. Personally, I train BJJ and lift, taking pride in my ability to take care of both myself and my colleagues.
Do you see that in a lot of other people or is the culture to just let it slide? It’s slowly changing where I am, a lot of people are really gung-ho while others don’t prioritize it. I recognize it’s a multiyear process, but what have you (anyone reading this) seen that helps speed it up?
 

T T

Level 4 Valued Member
We’re working on an incentive program but right now it seems like it’s going to be stuff, not time off or something similar.

Do you see that in a lot of other people or is the culture to just let it slide? It’s slowly changing where I am, a lot of people are really gung-ho while others don’t prioritize it. I recognize it’s a multiyear process, but what have you (anyone reading this) seen that helps speed it up?
BLUF: Leadership

Cultural change is generational. There is a lot of inertia from the "old timers" (this is the way it has always been). If you want buy in, if you want faster progress, the leadership must not only "talk-the-talk", they must really "walk-the-walk." Everyone has to see the brass participating in meaningful way. Lip service doesn't get it done.

The problem with incentives is that those whom you want to incentivize must see what's being offered as valuable/useful to them. Not everyone is equally motivated by "stuff." Money and time off seems to be universal motivators. Holdouts will come around when they see their teammates getting results and having an easier time doing the job.
 

Poolcue

First Post
We’re working on an incentive program but right now it seems like it’s going to be stuff, not time off or something similar.

Do you see that in a lot of other people or is the culture to just let it slide? It’s slowly changing where I am, a lot of people are really gung-ho while others don’t prioritize it. I recognize it’s a multiyear process, but what have you (anyone reading this) seen that helps speed it up?
I had a hard first few months as an LEO. We are not armed and I regularly found myself injured after confrontation. I was already doing Strength and Conditioning at my local BJJ gym so naturally started the classes soon after.

At the moment, my training consists of BJJ, Squats and Kettlebell swings. This works for me, my schedule and my aging body.

It is absolutely culture that lets it slide. The way I look at it, I MUST have a level of physical preparedness to protect not only myself and my partner, but most importantly the public.
 

Kenny Croxdale

Level 7 Valued Member
We’re working on an incentive program but right now it seems like it’s going to be stuff, not time off or something similar.
Incentives

I work in Commercial Fitness Equipment Sales; Police, Fire, etc. make purchases.

Some of the Police and Fire Departments have nice incentive program. However, only a minority of individual participate.

Money and time off seems to be universal motivators.

Money and Time Off

Initially, money and time off motivates individuals. However, that usually falls by the way with the majority.

Holdouts will come around when they see their teammates getting results and having an easier time doing the job.

Not So

The reality is that the majority of individual are not going to do it. It's not in their DNA.

That is what Dr Jason Curtis detemined in his research. That information is in this post...

The Calorie

Post 23 addresses Motivation.

Dr Jason Curtis' finding align with...

Pavel's Perspective On Motivation...

"Over the years people have ask me why I don't have motivation tips. The answer is that I have none. We are all adults here: either you have it or you don't."
 
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silveraw

Level 7 Valued Member
This is some interesting stuff.
My team is all volunteer, and I don't think I had any instruction on how to pass the PT test other than "you should do a lot of hiking". Which isn't bad advice.
I have noticed that when people have something come up that impacts their physical ability (age, injury, etc) they either just leave the team or switch to a supporting role like comms, quartermaster, or drone.
 

silveraw

Level 7 Valued Member
Here’s a question to get things started (but at any point feel free to hijack and talk about something else):

We all have entry standards…but then what once we’re in? Do your departments retest? Is there something extrinsic mandating fitness maintenance/improvement? The standard in the fire service, at least where I live, is that once you’re in you’re in, and its intrinsic motivation from there on out.
We don't have any retests, but have a pretty quick cycle of becoming training deficient and being deactivated. 6 months and you don't complete at least 2 trainings (which are usually physically demanding) a team meeting and attend a mission you are off the team.
I am the Health and Performance Administrator for a suburban fire department in Wisconsin
Oh hey, I grew up in northern WI just south of Duluth! Lived there until about 5 years ago.
Go Pack Go!
 
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T T

Level 4 Valued Member
Incentives

I work in Commercial Fitness Equipment Sales; Police, Fire, etc. make purchases.

Some of the Police and Fire Departments have nice incentive program. However, only a minority of individual participate.



Money and Time Off

Initially, money and time off motivates individuals. However, that usually falls by the way with the majority.



Not So

The reality is that the majority of individual are not going to do it. It's not in their DNA.

That is what Dr Jason Curtis detemined in his research. That information is in this post...

The Calorie

Post 23 addresses Motivation.

Dr Jason Curtis' finding align with...

Pavel's Perspective On Motivation...

"Over the years people have ask me why I don't have motivation tips. The answer is that I have none. We are all adults here: either you have it or you don't."
All behavior modification requires some type of incentive (motivation). From my post that you cherry picked two sentences, I said "The problem with incentives is that those whom you want to incentivize must see what's being offered as valuable/useful to them." I agree that internal incentives are stronger. You state that you know some departments that have "nice incentive programs." This is vague. What determines "nice?" Obviously, if most of the people don't participate, it is because they don't think it is so "nice." When is money and time off no longer a motivation? If money is not a motivator, I guess you work for free? If two jobs were equal in all other aspects but one was 7 days a week and the other was 4 days a week, you wouldn't opt for the 4 day a week?

When dealing with individuals, I would agree that a "majority" will not participate, especially in something that is optional and that they don't see the immediate consequences of. Losing 15 lbs now to add potential years to your life is different than losing your job tomorrow. Your sports psychology study applies to individuals not to an organization.

The reality is that humans are tribal and will do what is necessary to remain in the tribe they identify with. I agree that those who aren't motivated to workout won't if it is something that is optional. If there are clear standards that are a condition for continued employment, those who want to continue being in the organization will do what is necessary to meet those standards. If the individual doesn't identify with the tribe they will not.

The question I attempted to answer from the OP was how to accelerate culture change. Your post seems to be aimed at discrediting my input and to tell the OP that "The reality is that the majority of individual are not going to do it. It's not in their DNA." So what, does this mean it is a hopeless cause and he should just give up?

I look foward to your answer on how YOU would LEAD a group of firefighters to become more physically capable to do their job.
 

grouchyjarhead

Level 5 Valued Member
Here’s a question to get things started (but at any point feel free to hijack and talk about something else):

We all have entry standards…but then what once we’re in? Do your departments retest? Is there something extrinsic mandating fitness maintenance/improvement? The standard in the fire service, at least where I live, is that once you’re in you’re in, and its intrinsic motivation from there on out.
To get in, basic Cooper standards. Some specialty units have other standards (e.g. SWAT, EOD).

Once you're hired, though? No testing whatsoever. Which is a huge mistake. There are officers on our department who are so large they can only ride/drive certain vehicles.

We have a younger department now so hopefully that will change. I'm in my 16th year and try to keep a high standard of fitness - can't have the boss out-working you, so it's hopefully motivation to them.
 

grouchyjarhead

Level 5 Valued Member
In my old agency, only specialized assignments (SWAT, K9) were required by policy to test every year. Other members could test IF they wanted. The command staff tried to incentivize everyone by offering time off based on score.
We tried that too. I was part of the committee pushing for elective PT testing with time off as a reward. It didn't pass. Even with just Cooper standards and how ridiculously low those are. We had an officer complaining because she couldn't do the one required sit-up for her age group. One.
 

Kenny Croxdale

Level 7 Valued Member
I look foward to your answer on how YOU would LEAD a group of firefighters to become more physically capable to do their job.

Pavel's Perspective On Motivation...

"Over the years people have ask me why I don't have motivation tips. The answer is that I have none. We are all adults here: either you have it or you don't."

You can encourage individuals to some degree. However, "Leading" them (talk about being vague), really?

It like "Leading" a horse to water. You can't make it drink",

or "Beating a dead horse."

discrediting my input and to tell the OP that "The reality is that the majority of individual are not going to do it.
Yes

You can read (comprehend words put together in a sentence).

You might want to consider working Pavel on correcting his attitude, view and statement,. or...

Asking Pavel to provide you with "Motivtion Tips" but he's already covered that...

Pavel's Perspective On Motivation...

"Over the years people have ask me why I don't have motivation tips. The answer is that I have none. We are all adults here: either you have it or you don't."

This concludes this interaction with you. :)
 
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offwidth

Level 9 Valued Member
Decades ago we had some ‘consultants’ come in and do the typical corporate makeover / improvement program. (If I had a dollar for every one of those I’ve been through…) Anyway… these guys were big proponents of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. one of the concepts that they were pushing was that… wait for it…. Money is not a motivator. (Which of course is music to leaderships ears). I was highly skeptical. But after almost 4 decades of experience managing projects, leading (and trying to motivate) teams, and departments (in multinational settings) I came to realize that this is essentially true. Money may work for a short time, but over the long haul people are generally looking for other things from leadership.
 
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