Learning vs Training: Application of knowledge.

Good evening from the training officer.  I must take a moment and explain the changes that I have personally experienced.  Over the past month I have left the comfort of the Jumpseat and accepted a position as EMS Training Officer for my home department. This journey has started as a exciting new segment of my fire service career with challenges and rewards. It was a tough decision to leave shift work and the backseat of the engine to take on this new challenge. I am pumped to have the opportunity to teach, learn, inspire, and lead within my home department.
Enough about Ryan let’s talk firefighter education, the blog is called Jumpseat Training for pete’s sake.
What is the difference between Learning and Training?  Are they both words that describe the same function of being exposed to or revisiting a topic that will help further our knowledge base?



Learning and training could not be further from the same in my humble opinion and I think it is a trap that many fire departments fall into. Learning without training is knowledge that may or may not be applied in an efficient manor. Training without learning are tasks carried out not understanding why they are being used. Truthfully learning and training in our business MUST go hand and hand. Without each our firefighters will not be prepared to make informed decisions and carry out tasks.

Which comes first?

Found this awesome book in the training division. Great stuff inside.

Found this awesome book in the training division. Great stuff inside.




Learning should always lead the two by educating firefighters on the why, where, and explaining the how’s of any task. An example would be forcing an inward swinging door. Firefighters must understand the locking mechanism, the hinge swing, reenforced areas, and how to properly use the tools to make entry. They also must understand the dynamics of creating a unrestricted flow of air into the building and how to control it. The why.
Having learning the why’s and how’s practical application is required to apply the knowledge learned. Getting hands on and building the skill through repetition is required to build the muscle memory and skill. in this example using a door prop or finding condemned buildings within your district will allow firefighter to apply what they have learned in a controlled environment.

Hands on is where the rubber meets the road and where proficiency is built, period.  If firefighters can not apply the knowledge foreground functions will not be completed and an entire operation can be placed in jeopardy.
With ever decreasing budgets, increasing call volumes, and various factors that we cannot control affecting our services firefighter must insure that we are gaining knowledge and skill.  Get creative!  Search out various online videos, read fire engineering, listen to podcasts and get creative when applying the knowledge learned.



Every drill session should include learning and training in each session.  Even the simplest of session can have new variables to explore and ways to make even the simplest session challenging. More importantly firefighter should seek balance. Balance in book knowledge and hands on application is what builds firefighters that have the skill and education to make informed decisions inside the fire house and on the foreground.





Be safe everyone, and always Train like it’s your first day in the Jumpseat!


See you at FDIC 2016!




Ps. Feels good to be writing again……..

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