Using Simulations for Company-Level Training

The typical purpose of using simulations for company-level training is to help firefighters know what to expect, to get the routine down, and to practice working in their team effectively together. Through simulations, officers can teach firefighters to understand their roles and responsibilities in fulfilling company objectives.

When conducting company training, identify one or two objectives. Making these the focus of the training will keep the training focused and on track.

— Brian Zaitz, Assistant Fire Chief, Kirkwood FD

One of the great parts of the latest simulation-based training technology is the ability for any firefighter or fire officer to run it locally off a phone, tablet, or laptop computer. A fire company can be on the street, snap a photo with their device, spend a couple minutes adding smoke/fire to the screen, and then you have a small simulation that can be used to quickly illustrate a tip or provide a topic for an hour-long discussion.  Simulations can be used for one-on-one mentoring, or ways for company officers to discuss tactics or strategies with their crew regarding past incidents or potential scenarios. Additionally, smoke/fire can be moved around to change the scenario up, thus presenting several different strategic and tactical options.

Additional company-level training options include:

  1. Fireground Tactical Scenarios
  2. Haz-Mat Scenarios
  3. EMS/MCI Scenarios
  4. Developing RPDM
  5. Size-Up and 360’s
  6. Fireground Communications and Radio Systems
  7. Post Incident Analysis.


Simulations made based on local structures, potential hazards, or famous incidents can help company officers relate real-world experience to their crew, providing a concrete mental image rather than an abstract story. Incidents that the crew experienced can make teaching lessons and ‘what if’s more relevant and impactful, bringing theoretical concepts to practical reality. Simulated, specific situations can help the officer teach the crew to function well as a team. With several members, you can have them rotate through different positions to help them appreciate how their actions impact the team and beyond.

Next section: Part I.2 Using Simulations for Officer Development –>

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