The problem with concrete burn structures is the tendency to provide an unrealistic view of the properties of fire growth and behavior. Another aspect of concrete burn buildings and their content fires that we create is that the ceilings are not affected by the fires growth or travel.
Burn buildings or burn towers are structures that are fire resistive and constructed of concrete. They are designed specifically for repetitive use and allow for a consistent fire dynamic that is experienced by those training in them. Fires that are set in these buildings usually do not spread like they do in acquired structures. Respectively the fire simply gets larger or smaller at a specific location in a burn room within the burn building depending on the fuel load provided. Combustible class "A" materials such as pallets and straw are set up or piled up in an area within the room and then ignited. If a large fuel load of these materials is supplied you can create excessive heat conditions sometimes so intense that they can melt helmets and protective clothing. Creating some of these fires and conditions is not the reality of fighting fires nor do they provide certain realisms that firefighters are exposed to at the real deal. Because of the type of construction of burn buildings which are predominately concrete, it is relatively easy to create these intense temperatures. Normally these types of temperatures would be telling us to get out of the structure when fighting fires out in the real world.
The problem with these structures is the tendency to provide an unrealistic view of the properties of fire growth and behavior. Typically a 20- by 20-foot open room has placed in it a pile of pallets and hay and then light as firefighters are then told to go in and put the fire out. The fire is usually easily found and in a common location every time. Unlike real fires in acquired structures or actual structure fires, a search for the fire through dark smoke is usually the case. In real fires the fire spread is capable of getting larger and larger and moving from one room to another. In burn buildings, fires do not actively continue to grow and go across the ceilings or over your head as they would in a real room and contents fire. We should also remember that it is also spreading into the structure itself at real fires. As stated earlier, another problem with concrete burn rooms is that excessive temperatures can be created. Firefighters would not normally present themselves within these types of excessive temperatures. Realizing that they would be exposing themselves to possible flashover conditions they would immediately leave.
Another aspect of concrete burn buildings and their content fires that we create is that the ceilings are not affected by the fires growth or travel. In real fires as well as in acquired structures, ceiling materials burn and fall from overhead. Usually when these fires are set up in burn concrete buildings little attention is given in adding furniture and other materials found at real structure fires. In essence, instructors may not provide the creativity and realism in setting up a room within the burn building.
It is interesting to note that even in concrete burn buildings or burn towers we still have to comply with the NFPA 1403 standard. At the same time, there are ways to become creative and inventive in supplying additional realism within a burn building while still being complaint with the standards of NFPA 1403. We must also realize that within a concrete room we can provide certain types of materials and furnishings knowing that the fuel load will never affect the structure creating fire dynamics that would be unpredictable.The following are some ideas in how to get the most out of a burn room made of concrete usually found in burn buildings or burn towers which will enhance more realism in your scenarios.