Improving Training Effectiveness and Safety During COVID-19

Training effectiveness has taken some hits during the COVID-19 pandemic. Social distancing requirements have led many departments to curtail or cancel most live, in-person training in favor of online learning.

Online Training Options

While the increase in online instruction during the pandemic was born out of necessity, the advantages of having training available 24/7 are tangible. The upside is that barriers to attendance such as travel restrictions, and having to coordinate instructors, equipment and trainee schedules fall by the wayside.

Online classes can be an effective way to provide training on subjects like respiratory protection, bloodborne pathogens and hazard communication, where material is presented lecture-style in a prerecorded video format. Live webinars offer trainees the ability to ask questions and discuss technique with instructors and peers. The face-to-face aspect of the Zoom era also helps boost morale.

But certain topics are best presented live and in-person, especially those that require familiarity with equipment and apparatus; and where good teamwork and practiced coordination make all the difference.

COVID-19 Training Challenges

Social distancing guidelines present challenges to training effectiveness. No longer can you gather around the instructor so everyone can hear what’s being said. You can’t lean in safely. Face masks muffle speech, which raises frustration levels further. And a large percentage of firefighters, both young and old, already suffer from some form of hearing loss.

Training often involves equipment that requires two hands to control. If you need to ask a quick question while operating a cut-off saw, you have to stop the exercise, turn off the saw, ask your question, get your answer, then fire up the saw and begin again.

How, then, can instructors and firefighters safely return to in-person training and overcome longstanding issues with having to shut down equipment to communicate? One way is to leverage the same wireless communication headsets that many firefighters rely on for emergency response.

Advantages of Portable Wireless Communication

Wireless headsets let instructors and students hear clearly at social distances and far beyond. There’s no need to frequently repeat information. Sensitive microphones automatically amplify voices, even through face masks.

With a wireless headset that offers advanced hearing protection, you can still ask questions without the noise getting in the way, even if you’re trying to listen to instructions while running the cut-off saw.

Firecom Portable Wireless Systems take the familiar feel of dashboard intercoms from the apparatus and transform them into a rugged and mobile communication system that can be used wherever your training program requires – up to 1,600 feet from the rig.

  • Use them anywhere – The headsets and ComHub fit neatly into a Pelican storage case that you can move from rig to yard to command vehicle without installation.
  • Eliminate missed and misunderstood messages – Broadband wireless technology makes speech clear and understandable.
  • Improve focus and concentration – Noise cancelling microphones and passive noise reduction combine to reduce background sound and protect hearing while you train.
  • Maintain situational awareness Listen-Through technology mixes outside sound with voice intercom when you need it. You can hear equipment, approaching traffic and civilian voices without removing the headset and its hearing protection.
  • Radio integration – Transmit and receive over a connected portable radio, as you would during fireground communication drills.

Improve Your Department’s Training Effectiveness

Training continues to be critical for the operational effectiveness of departments. But the pandemic requires new methods to overcome communication challenges while complying with necessary safety precautions.

Portable wireless communication systems offer instructors and students a platform that adapts emergency response technology into a mobile classroom format that’s reliable and effective for in-person training while maintaining the safety of instructors and trainees.

For more information on Firecom Portable Wireless Systems, visit firecom.com.

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