How To Jazz Up Fire Extinguisher Use And Safety Training For Full Engagement

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Whether you operate a small manufacturing business, manage an office full of dedicated staff or own a retail company, fire prevention and safety is an important part of employee training. For most companies, the training is mandatory. Under OSHA regulations, the training is required when the employee is first hired and then annually thereafter. As with many activities that occur on a routine basis, the annual education program can become boring for long-term employees, especially if you do the same old thing year after year. But making sure your employees have the knowledge and tools to deal with a fire is too important to let the education become just another mundane chore that has to be endured. By turning the training into an engaging event instead of a humdrum litany of facts and rules reviews, you'll capture your staff's attention in ways that can save lives and property in case a fire emergency does happen in the future.

The Power of a Guest Presenter

Like many companies, yours might rely on having a staff member present the training. No matter how thorough this person is in going over the required material, there's an element of familiarity that makes it easy for minds to wander instead of paying close attention. Shake up the routine by bringing in a guest presenter. With someone new standing in front of the class, curiosity can be a powerful motivator to capture and maintain attention. Yes, you will need to plan well in advance to get a special presenter on the schedule. But it's worth the effort to ensure eager participation.

Who makes a great presenter – and how do you find them?

Fire chief. In many communities, the local fire company's chief is available to make presentations to students, civic groups and employee gatherings. Depending on the fire chief's preference, they may conduct the entire training session, including the hands-on portion showing the proper way to use fire extinguishers. Another approach is to have the chief make opening remarks and give encouragement before your designated staff person does the hands-on portion of the training.

Firefighters. Dressed up in their full gear, the men and women on the front lines of firefighting make a commanding presence. It helps that firefighters are considered local heroes, and what they say will be heard loud and clear. Adding to the excitement, many fire companies are happy to arrive in their fire truck. Take advantage of the opportunity to have employee pictures taken in front of the shiny vehicle. You may even have firefighters pose in the pictures, too.

Professional Trainers. Schedule a trainer through the National Institute of Fire and Safety Training (NIFAST). The presenters are fire safety experts with experience in the field and membership in safety-related professional organizations.

Manufacturer's Specialists: Some of the largest manufacturers of fire extinguishers and safety products have specialists on staff who are available to do group training sessions. Contact your fire extinguisher supplier directly to schedule an appearance at your next training session.

Memorable Bonus Material

Make the training memorable by including a special bonus for those who participate. You don't have to spend a lot of money to add a little excitement to the event with special features such as:

  • beverages and cupcakes or donuts topped with red and white sprinkles – the colors most closely associated with firefighting and fire prevention
  • fire-themed give-away items like mugs, magnets and pens for each participant as little reminders whenever they're used
  • a drawing for tickets to an entertainment event or a gift certificate. (Tip: have training participants drop their names in a fireman's hat, then ask the presenter to do the drawing at the end of the session.

With these tactics, you can jazz up the required training for fire extinguisher use and fire safety procedures in ways that your staff will be talking about long after the event has passed. For more information on safety equipment like fire extinguishers, contact a company like Tri County Fire Protection.


24 August 2016

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