How often do you listen to podcasts on your computer or smartphone? Have you ever passed along a podcast link to a friend or staff member? What I’m wondering is, are electronic messages making a difference in your life?
At the recent Arizona Fire Instructors Conference, we had a discussion about the wealth of training and educational materials available to the fire and emergency service today compared to 15 years ago. True, there are plenty of training videos on YouTube, but there is no regulatory agency that monitors those videos for good practices — let alone for common sense.
Today, fire chiefs and officers do have more Web-based resources from the U.S. Fire Administration and the National Emergency Training Center’s Learning Resource Center to NFPA Codes and Standards. The resources range from extensive to the simple, one-page Coffee Break Training from the National Fire Academy.
Podcasts, on the other hand, offer a range of downloadable programs that can range from entertaining to educational that can be listened to at any time, day or night.
Recently, I had a chat with Chief’s Clipboard columnist Ron Coleman about podcasts. I consider Ron to be fairly progressive and certainly always eager to learn something new. Coleman told me that he listens to an average of at least one podcast a week and has participated in several podcasts himself. His podcast experiences have ranged from “being bored silly and I check out…” to very stimulating. Coleman’s favorite podcasts are “short, to the point and lively,” he said.
If you find a podcast that you feel is worthwhile, do you incorporate it in part of your training segment or do you just pass along the link in an e-mail? I guess it depends on the content and nature of the podcast.
This week the Safety, Health and Survival Section will announce a new three-way partnership with the Near Miss Reporting System and the International Society of Fire Instructors to produce a monthly podcast to raise awareness of firefighter health and safety issues.
“Predominantly, the programs will follow the monthly topics of the Near Miss and SHS 2012 pocket-size calendar,” said Todd LeDuc — assistant chief in Broward County, Fla., IAFC SHS board member, and moderator of the podcast series. “And adding to the monthly topics,Administrator Ernie Mitchell will also be part of the podcasts as a special guest.”
The 30-minute, monthly podcasts will be available for listening or download mid-month on the SHS, ISFSI and Near Miss websites, as well as with links from other media sources. The first podcast will focus on joint topics of mayday command and roadway safety. Deputy Chief Ed Nied, Tucson (Ariz.) Fire Department, will discuss the command component of the IAFF’s Fire Ground Survival program and Steve Austin, project manager for the Emergency Responder Safety Institute will explore roadway safety issues.
“We’re really excited about the new podcast series,” said Eddie Buchanan, president of the ISFSI. “ The ISFSI is always interested in participating in anything that helps firefighters safe.”
I think podcasts offer a unique opportunity to tap into the national leaders and innovators from across North America, and listen at your convenience. How are you incorporating podcasts into your schedule or your department?