Every year, beginning the first weeks in May, Utah County Fire finishes its preparation for the upcoming wildland fire season.
During these two weeks the focus is on 3 things:
- Knowledge and skill development
- Physical Fitness
- Crew Cohesion
Knowledge and skill development is an important aspect of firefighting and is a constant process. From the first year/rookie firefighter to the seasoned veteran, there is always additional knowledge and expertise to be gained. In the classroom setting, students and teachers go over factual and technical aspects of the job. Upon leaving the classroom, students and teachers implement their knowledge and engrain the teachings in field exercises. Classes include but are not limited to: Medical, Water handling, Saw training and certification, Leadership techniques, etc. . . .
Physical fitness is key to firefighting. In the wildland fire environment, individuals are called upon to work long, strenuous hours in extreme environments. In order to be prepared for the arduous work, physical fitness is a consistent part of a firefighter’s schedule. During the annual training, UCFD’s firefighters can be seen hiking, running, dragging charged hose lines, along with a variety of other exercises to improve their muscular and cardio strength. Although individuals are expected to prepare physically before the fire season, the physical training provided in the annual training can tax even the most prepared.
Crew cohesion is one of the most rewarding and most difficult aspects of firefighting. The importance of a unified crew cannot be understated. Babe Ruth once stated:
“The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.”
The same holds true in a fire organization. A group of individual firefighters that find a way to work together will achieve greater results than a fractured group.
During the annual and other trainings, the goal of the department is to develop a team minded approach to all aspects of work. When cohesion is achieved, then the long hours of firefighting don’t seem quite so long and the team can rely upon each other whenever an emergency or unforeseen event occurs.
The annual crew training, although difficult and taxing is a perfect opportunity to more fully prepare for the upcoming season.