By Ric Jorge, Tactical Resiliency Training, LLC –
In the fire service, we practice the Denver drill, the Pittsburgh drill, the Nance drill, entanglement, wall breech, low profile, and an assortment of packaging techniques. We train in firefighter survival techniques in the hopes of making firefighters more prepared to respond to our own emergency if/when the need arises.
NIOSH reviews of LODDs call for firefighters to become better adapted under stressful situations. To perform under these situations, and retain proper decision-making ability, requires more than just physical training. It requires layers of understanding. A few examples of this layering of understanding involve cognition, conditioning of physical/emotional/mental arousal levels, and how to prepare people to deal with their sympathetic nervous system response. The sympathetic nervous system is the part of the nervous system that accelerates heart rate, constricts blood vessels, and raises blood pressure – all potentially critical factors in firefighter safety.
It is impossible to get our people from good to high-speed low drag without pushing them physically, and mentally. But how do you know when you’re pushing too hard? How do you know when you’re not pushing hard enough?
At Tactical Resiliency Training (TRT), we specialize in the development of training instructors to get the most out of their training and their people. One of the tools we utilize to understand how the sympathetic nervous system affects performance under stressful and extreme situations is the Wearable Advanced Sensor Platform (WASP) system from Globe Manufacturing Company.
Using a small electronic module attached to a base layer shirt, WASP monitors the firefighters’ vital signs that indicate maximum heart rate productivity within safe parameters of training. Without this system, trying to accomplish how hard to push students is subjective.
At TRT, utilizing WASP allows us to keep our students in a “zone” for maximum efficiency, and avoid exhaustion from overexertion, by monitoring heart rate, respiration rate, posture, and other physiological factors. In order to maximize resiliency development of our students, this system allows us to push them within certain identifiable parameters. We also utilize this system for remediation of people who need improvement in their respective departments. Diet and exercise to improve performance can now be quantified easily using this system and science to monitor and document the changes.
The National Fallen Firefighters 16 Firefighter Life Safety Initiatives to decrease firefighter LODDs just got a big assist from science and Globe. Together we can accomplish what we cannot accomplish alone.