6 Training Tools for Instructors

6 Training Tools for Instructors.

This article was originally written for the training of SAR volunteers however, the principles here I think are universally applicable to all instructing.

We have a unique situation and opportunity training SAR volunteers:

  • They want to be at the training – at the course, monthly training, refreshers, SAREXs…
  • They are giving up their own free time.
  • Volunteers have the right reasons to be there – wanting to help others.

We have an opportunity during training to mould and influence SAR volunteers in a positive way for better performance and outcomes. We owe it to the SAR volunteers and ultimately subjects and patients to get it right and deliver top quality training.

Here are a few ideas that have formed over a number of years from training on the ground and discussing these concepts with peers that lead to quality outcomes.

1. What we do is principle based

  • We need to embed the basic principles of the training.
  • Keep coming back to check we are meeting the principles.
  • Keep questioning the principles to make sure they are relevant and current.
  • Examples: First aid – Air goes in and out, blood goes round and round, transport is treatment. Rope rescue – Safety factor, hands-free and critical point. Search – Search is an emergency…

2. Become better at the basics

  • So the basics are second nature and allow more capacity during an operation.
  • Can go to a higher level if the basics are solid.
  • Training is short, sharp and repetitive.
  • Simplicity and accuracy with an emphasis on quality.
  • Example: All Blacks Rugby training – not dropping a pass.

3. Practical, interactive and relevant

  • Practical exercises that apply theory and getting the theory practical balance right.
  • The training uses the knowledge and experience of the group.
  • Delivery in context. Suitably framed.
  • Able to apply the training material in a real environment.

4. Student-focused

  • Get the right ratios for training.
  • Great venues that work for the type of course and students.
  • The focus is that the students can, in the end, do the assigned task, job or role.

 5. Scenarios that test

  • The scenario tests the human skills by applying the techniques.
  • Mechanism of incident – what are we trying to test?
  • The stress of the event causes the outcome required.

6. Engaging training

  • Provide the spark for future learning.
  • Resources and material enhance the training and provide a future reference.
  • Collective experience, knowledge and passion of trainers who believe in what they are doing.


We owe it to the SAR volunteers and ultimately subjects and patients to get it right and deliver top quality training. We can do this by having training that:

  • Is principle based;
  • Makes you better at the basics;
  • Practical, interactive and relevant;
  • Is student focused;
  • Use scenarios that test, and;
  • Is engaging

By Grant Prattley, Over The Edge Rescue, 2016

Download the copy of the full report here which includes the additional group work by the participants at the conference:

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