We interviewed Lewis Dolman, a Supervisor from PD Fire Protection after he attended an MRS Training & Rescue course. As a delegate who has attended our courses before and during the pandemic, Lewis was able to provide his view on how training differed after the implementation of COVID-19 safety measures.
PD Fire Protection is based in Leicestershire and is a family run business that was established in 2003. PD Fire Protection specialises in surveying, supplying and installing passive fire protection systems. The majority of their work takes place on construction sites as their products are designed to provide enough time for firefighters to evacuate buildings safely helping to save people’s lives and keep the integrity of the building.
In his role, Lewis oversees work carried out by operatives, trains employees and is also involved in project work and installation. Here he talks about his experiences attending COVID-19 safe MRS Training & Rescue courses.
Was the training of staff at your company affected by COVID-19?
Initially, at the start of the pandemic whilst we determined if our work could continue, myself and others were placed on furlough for a few weeks. During that time, we completed three online training courses. I had never done any online training before and it seemed a good use of time to complete it then.
However, for me, I much prefer classroom-based training. It is more engaging, and the online courses seemed very drawn out too.
What were the main challenges you faced?
Logistics were one of the biggest issues we faced as we had to travel individually rather than sharing vans. Our vans are 2 or 3 seaters and we usually plan work, so all seats are occupied, but this wasn’t possible during the pandemic. This added cost and complexity to the organisation of jobs and training too, but one we were able to overcome.
Do you feel face to face training is still necessary and if so, why?
I would much rather do face to face training. Personally, I get a lot more out of it and it is really good to hear first-hand experiences of both the trainer and delegates.
Why did you choose MRS Training & Rescue?
I have been on many training courses over the years with MRS Training & Rescue at their centre in Swadlincote, as it is just a stone’s throw from our offices. All courses have been really good and as a company, we prefer to work with local providers if possible.
What COVID-19 measures were in place during the training?
From the minute I arrived at the training centre, I felt very safe. There was a safety screen at reception, and we were each met and taken to the training room to avoid having to wait. All desks were socially distanced in the classroom and the instructor wore a face mask throughout. The number of courses being run at the centre was limited compared to during non-Covid times, and all breaks were staggered with other courses, to ensure social contact was limited.
Did the training differ during COVID-19 compared to previously?
I took both an Emergency First Aid course and a PASMA Towers for Users course earlier this year whilst Covid measures were in place.
Both involved lots of practical experiences and during the first aid course, a personal resuscitation mannikin face shield was provided and resuscitation mannikin lungs were also given to each of us to insert into the mannikin ourselves, which was changed after each training session. Previously we didn’t have this and although it was different – didn’t detract from the training we received.
On the PASMA course, we did have to work as a group to erect the scaffolding, but we all sanitised before and after and wore face masks throughout the exercise.
How important/useful were the practical elements of the course?
Very important. Having practical elements is essential as far as I am concerned. When it comes to a real-life emergency first aid situation, you need to know what you are doing. So actually doing this during the course embeds the information much better and ensures you can remember what to do should you be called on to help someone in need.
The same is true of the PASMA course. Building the scaffolding and doing it step by step, again embeds the process and ensures you have the skills to do this when back on site.
Did the practical parts of the course feel COVID-19 safe?
Absolutely, I felt very safe and don’t think MRS Training & Rescue could have delivered this any better. I’d have no hesitation in recommending them.
COVID-19 Safe Training
MRS Training & Rescue continues to operate as lockdown restrictions ease – with strict COVID-19 procedures which have been put in place to keep our team members and delegates safe.