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Police and Fire Department Training Safety

Training can be a double-edged sword; on one hand, we want to be prepared for events that happen in real time, so we consistently train. On the other hand, injuries can occur during training exercises and, at times, can be severe. To be better prepared during training exercises and prevent training-related injuries, consider the following items:

  1. Respective departments should conduct periodic standard operating procedure (SOP) audits that address training. When reviewing, ensure that SOPs:
    • Are written and current for specific training procedures.
    • Are easy to understand.
    • Are reviewed as part of pre-training preparation.
    • Are followed and enforced.
  1. New training curricula should undergo a comprehensive safety review by training supervisors prior to implementation.
  2. Establish a pre-training checklist with items that need to be addressed prior to and following training.
  3. Conduct a hazard analysis before each training exercise to identify and address safety issues in advance.
  4. If training is building upon a prior requirement, ensure that any prerequisite training has been completed first.
  5. If training involves physical abilities, ensure participants are screened beforehand to determine physical capability and fitness to participate safely.
  6. Ensure all needed equipment, including personal protective equipment, is in place, in good condition, and that proper training is provided.
  7. Prior to the actual training exercise, the training supervisor should walk the participants through a step-by-step process of how the training will proceed. An actual physical demonstration may be beneficial.
  8. Conduct a post-training review of the exercise to include what went right, what went wrong, any injury incidents or near-misses, and corrective action(s). It is also advisable to track injuries over several years to identify injury patterns.
  9. Working out and engaging in sports activities can also be considered training. Injuries can and do occur during these types of activities, too. Consider the following items to manage potential injury exposure:
  • Approve the type of sports that are engaged in.
  • Consider past injury history in the approval process.
  • Require annual physicals.
  • Don’t just work out, but train. Working out has no goal in mind, is short-sighted, and often creates underlying physical issues. Consider working with personal trainers to develop programs specific to job tasks and individuals.
  • Exercise can be more effective when personnel do it together because it keeps people motivated and can create friendly competition. Another benefit can be critiquing each other on form and keeping each other on task for completing exercises properly.
  • Participate in a wellness program.

 

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