5 Ways Continued Training Can Improve Your Firefighter Career
Between 2016 and 2017, the estimated property loss due to fire in the United States jumped by $10 billion, from $13.6 billion to $23 billion, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The devastating wildfires across Northern California accounted for much of this loss, yet the injuries and lives lost due to fire remained relatively steady across 2016 and 2017, according to the NFPA. Both years, there was a civilian death roughly every 2 hours and 35 minutes and an injury every 36 minutes.
Fire responses in 2017, especially in the face of a large-scale disaster, demonstrate the vitality of continually improving equipment, training, protocols, technology, and communication in firefighting. While training has evolved over time, each year holds its own unexpected hazards, and it’s important for your department to stay up to date so you can be prepared for whatever might come next.
Aside from helping you best protect against loss of life and property, continued training and education can benefit your department personally and professionally in several ways.
Protects the public, your community, and your firefighters.
Staying up to date on the latest training can make a life-or-death difference for the firefighters in your department and those they serve. Training helps routine tasks and best practices become automatic, which allows your team to concentrate on what matters most in critical situations. When your team’s training and EMS education are at their best, you can ensure the best possible outcomes in your community.
Keeps you compliant, up to date, and legally protected.
In order to make the best decisions in life-altering situations, firefighters need to move forward with confidence and commitment. Delays in response time translate into lives and property lost. Continually refreshing your department’s skills ensures the best outcomes, keeps you compliant, lowers insurance rates, and protects your team against mistakes, regret, lawsuits, and litigation.
Facilitates personal growth and improves job satisfaction.
Firefighting is physically and emotionally taxing, and it’s a profession that can lead to burnout and high turnover rates. Nearly half of all firefighters in the U.S. are likely to experience burnout and the health problems that often accompany it. Continuing training and education can help combat burnout by expanding capabilities, resources, professional networks, knowledge, and overall job satisfaction. When your team feels competent and capable in their profession, confidence and new opportunities naturally follow.
Helps prevent future damage.
Community fire education starts at the department level. When your department has the latest knowledge and training, that information trickles down into the community, helping to prevent fires or minimize damage. In addition, continual training can improve response times and help your department obtain fluid, automatic responses that mitigate loss.
Advances careers and leads to new opportunities.
With exposure to new information comes unexpected opportunities. Facilitating continuing education and training for your department will help your firefighters experience professional growth, explore new concepts or careers, build networks, and help them be prepared to seize new opportunities when they arise.
No matter what your department goals may be, continuing your fire training and education will lead to better outcomes for your community and your career. Learn more about online CE and training options here.
- Evarts B. Fire loss in the United States during 2017. NFPA Research. October 2018.
- Haynes HJG. Fire loss in the United States during 2016. NFPA Research. September 2107.
- Wolkow, AP, Barger, LK, O’Brien, CS, et al. Associations between sleep disturbances, mental health outcomes and burnout in firefighters, and the mediating role of sleep during overnight work: A cross‐sectional study. J Sleep Res. 2019; 28:e12869. ttps://doi.org/10.1111/jsr.12869