Computers have made things easier on officers and drivers but have also started to erode our intimate knowledge of response areas (first due and beyond). Newer firefighters are so reliant on the mobile computers that when something goes wrong they don't know where to go. Let's go back to our roots and start memorizing our districts again. We need to be masters of the map book! With that in mind today's training idea is on district familiarization.
Grab a map book and have everyone on your crew write down 2 addresses in your first due district and 1 other address in your battalion. Put them in a hat and have everyone pick a few. They will have to give directions (out loud) on how to get to that address from the fire house. The person running the training will be looking at the map book to make sure they are correct. Discuss alternative ways to get to the address that may be better for finding the best hydrant or that may allow for better apparatus placement. The most direct route is not always the best, but that is often what we revert back to when we see smoke in the air.
When everyone is done giving their directions, look up the addresses in Google street view and do a mark off/size up. Discuss the building construction, unique features, and where you'd search first and why. Stay smart, competent, and aggressive!