Overview – This training was held for Sterling staff with the purpose of familiarizing all in attendance with the standards, practices, tools, regulations, and lingo of rescue personnel subject to NFPA compliance. It was taught by Eric Dunn, former Fire Captain in Portland, Former Fire Chief in Yarmouth, and part of the Sterling tribe almost since our founding. He is a fount of knowledge with several decades of experience operating and training. The NFPA breaks down knowledge levels into Awareness, Operations, and Technical, corresponding roughly to no angle, low angle, and high angle rescue. This was an Operations/low angle level class that incorporated some techniques used in high angle, but did not include usage of tools such as edge protectors, litters, and artificial high directional.
Sales: Victoria, Dave, and myself (with Sam and Matt H. stopping in on occasion)
Marketing: Erin and Heidi,
Details – The one-day class broke down into a PowerPoint lecture component and a practical experiential component. The lecture covered how NFPA standards differ from some of the others that we see or deal with in our industry (ANSI, EN, etc) and which numbered standards deal with rescue training and what they mean (NFPA 1670, 1006, 1500, 1983). It covered a good deal of terminology used to describe specific training levels, tools, and techniques used in rescue operations. The lecture also included a knot tying section, a practical do’s and don’ts of rope and anchor technique, and rope care and use guidelines. Eric folded in a lot of anecdotes and tidbits about how firefighters think and operate in real situations and ways that the NFPA or individual departments try to make things as safe and expedient as possible through thoughtful preparation. He also remained conscious of our goal as a company and would provide tips that we could use to convey to our customers to understand how Sterling product gets used in specific situations and help us understand where we could be suggesting add-ons or additional product to help a customer stay compliant while also using best practices.
The practical was a reinforcement of what was covered in the lecture and an opportunity to lay hands on equipment and set up rescue systems. Each of us had the chance to try different styles of descent and to set up and execute a basic 3:1 haul system with NFPA compliant tools and techniques. It allowed us to test our knowledge by going through each step to find out where we still had questions and where our knowledge and experience gaps were.
Takeaways – This class had a lot to offer for each of three departments that were in attendance. Engineering got a good dose of what types of tools and techniques firefighters are using and their mind set with simplistic preparations to ensure safe operations when they have so much else going on in an emergency scenario. I think this same knowledge of how and why a firefighter does what they do in a given situation and what types of constraints they face to remain NFPA compliant will help the Marketing department with how to engage and communicate effectively with our customers with some inside insight into their operational needs and departmental requirements. And from a sales perspective, knowing how to “talk firefighter” in their own terms and referring to standards and techniques that they use each day adds clarity and legitimacy to our conversations. It also helps us guide the customer better toward the appropriate products and add-ons for their needs and helps create lifelong Sterling fans and customers.