4 Ways to Use AI to Improve Fire Training Programs

Applications of AI

Four uses in fire training

Save timeUsing generative AI to do fundamental research or explore a topic can potentially save time. Instead of searching the web or looking up existing training materials, users can type in a prompt related to a firefighting topic. An example of how ChatGPT can be used to save time is “Write 200 words about the evolution of fire trucks.”

brainstorming. Generative AI helps generate training ideas.

We've all had those moments when we couldn't think of a training topic for our next session and our minds hit a dead end. Common ways to overcome this challenge are looking at past trainings, looking at policies/standard operating guidelines, opening NFPA standards, checking websites, looking at social media, etc. Generative AI gives us an additional tool. An example of a prompt that can help you brainstorm training ideas is, “What are the 10 knots a firefighter should know?”

Generate an outline and a draft. Once you have identified the topic for your training session, you can use generative AI to create an outline or summary. As mentioned earlier, you can use a search engine to find existing information, but generative AI prompts do the hard work of building training information. An example of using generative AI to generate a training outline that takes into account a specific topic and time constraints is, “Can you create an outline for a 15-minute drill on rope rescue knots?”

Create content. There is a huge benefit for company executives and fire instructors to using generative AI to create training content. There are generative AI products that can take text and create images (CoPilot Designer, DALLĀ·E 3, Midjourney, Stable Diffusion), videos (Lumen5, Pictory, Sora), handouts (ChatGPT), infographics (Canva), presentation slide decks (DesignerBot, Prezi), and quiz questions (ChatGPT). A well-worded prompt can help you get what you want. A content creation suggestion is, “Can you create handouts for a training session on ground ladder operations?”

Warnings and Cautions

AI itself can be considered neutral. It is neither good nor bad, but it can be either depending on how people use it. As a tool to help improve training, AI can be used for good.

Anything generated by AI must be rigorously reviewed by a fire department officer or fire instructor. Officers and instructors are experts and must review what the generative AI program suggests to check the factual accuracy and applicability of the information before sharing it with firefighters during training. Often the information generated is contradictory, fake, incorrect, or factually incorrect. And even if the information is “textbook accurate,” it must be revised to reflect the department's operational and training requirements. It is the user's responsibility to ensure that the information generated is used ethically and in good faith.

Not all

Consider the suggestions above for using generative AI as a starting point for enhancing your training program.

When I asked ChatGPT, “How can generative AI help improve firefighting training sessions?”, some of the program's suggestions included “scenario generation”, “dynamic training exercises”, “virtual reality simulation”, “feedback”, and “assessment”, and then explained that “By integrating generative AI technology into firefighting training sessions, trainers can create a more immersive, dynamic, and effective learning experience for firefighters, ultimately increasing their preparedness and response capabilities.” This sums up my thoughts quite accurately.

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