Why I Teach: Drew Smith

In this series, Fire Engineering Senior Editor Mary Jane Dittmar looks at the things that motivated and inspired instructors to present on their topics at FDIC International 2016. Segments will be posted on a regular basis up to and through the conference, April 18-23.

Drew Smith
Deputy Chief
Prospect Heights (IL) Fire District


Regional Multicompany Hands-On Training

Other Midwest fire departments have asked about how our mutual-aid region conducts its semiannual multicompany drills. There is always an interest in interdepartmental/mutual-aid operations based on the response to my past FDIC classes and the articles I have written for Fire Engineering. I hope that departments in a region will see the value of such training, the benefit it provides regarding ISO ratings, and how it can improve firefighter safety and survival by getting the right number of trained responders to the incident ASAP.

At FDIC, I have presented 16 times and conducted four HOT classes. After each of these sessions, students have contacted me for additional information about a specific need or situation or to share their success stories. Mostly, I present “how to do” related to specific drills or training sessions. In a class on aerial apparatus operations, I covered not only how to conduct them at an incident but also how to create the environment that allows for practicing the essential skills. Knowing that someone incurred the expenses to travel to FDIC and took what they learned in my class to share it with their department is what it is all about. Since no department can send all its members, those who are fortunate to attend need the instructor to cover “how to make this happen when you get home.” 

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