What happens to you when you get into a stressful situation? Do you freeze up like a deer in the headlights, or do you keep going, un-phased, “like a pro”?
We train our bodies and our minds in hopes that we are ready for what the future throws at us.
Choosing careers as emergency workers, we have been exposed to a lot of training. For enforcement training we practice modified tactics and scenarios used by military and police services from around the world. Shooting drills are rigorous and are modeled after police and conservation officer practices. In emergency rescue training we practice different situations that we may be faced with in our jobs. We take what we have learned in a variety of courses and put it to the test using a variety of scenarios and hands on practices throughout the year. This is our job. We are well trained.
Several studies have shown that when you are placed under stress you revert back to how you were trained. Don’t think … Do. “Training creates an automated response”. “Emergency responders, the police, and the military rely heavily on practicing in simulated high-stress emergency situations to train their crews. This is true in other high-stakes professions as well. Commercial aviation pilots learn to deal with mechanical malfunctions in flight simulators and surgeons become accustomed to unexpected occurrences on surgical simulators. The goal is to get people accustomed to performing their best when it counts the most. Practice can make perfect. But, the closer practice mimics what you are likely to face in the real do-or-die situation, the higher the likelihood that perfection will surface when it matters. It’s all about reducing the gap between training and the high-stakes event.”
One stressful situation I have been faced with particularly stands out for me. I was acting as a volunteer Search and Rescue Member on an avalanche rescue. I just did what I was trained to do. Move people to safety in a safe manner. I don’t remember how many people I escorted to helicopters or packaged for transport or sleds that I dug up. I just did it. I knew what had to happen.
So what does this have to do with you?!
We have been teaching avalanche training courses to the public and professionals for 9 years. We know that everyone learns in different ways. In our recreational course we provide you with the basics. It is up to you on what you take away from the training. How you use what you have learned is what matters. I don’t know how many times I have heard riders say… “oh.. I have a course…. I’m good” Our instructors take several courses over their careers. We take what we learn at these courses and practice! A LOT! We then take what we have learned and teach you. We teach you how to practice. We don’t make scenarios easy – what would be the point of that! It is up to you to recognize that a 2 day course is just the tip of the iceberg. There is a lot more training to be had. Do you TRAIN after a TRAINING COURSE?
– We want you to learn what to do to prevent stressful situations.
– We want you to be alert and maintain situational awareness.
– We want to help you reach that “automated response”.
Remember the old saying amongst soldiers: “You do not rise to the occasion in combat, you sink to the level of training. Thus, the best way to overcome the detrimental effects of stress on performance is to inoculate yourself from it altogether through consistent, realistic training.”
So – please – continue your learning journey! TRAIN and PRACTICE!
Amber is a Park Warden for Parks Canada
Chris is a Forest Fire Fighter and Avalanche Forecaster / Ski Patrol
They are both Professional Members of the Canadian Avalanche Association
Training Takes Over – Recommended Reads (REFERENCES):http://www.companyfounder.com/2012/02/in-stressful-situations-your-training-takes-over/