Live Fire Training - Part 2

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...


The acquired pallets can be used with hay to start fires or create fires as you normally would within a concrete burn room. Here we are suggesting that they or portions of them are attached or hung on the walls near the furnishings. This will provide an increase in realism through their auto ignition from radiant and conducted heat sources from the fire. They can also be used over and over again because they would never totally burn through and would burn again once another fire is set for additional evolutions. Pallets or portions of them can also be attached to ceilings over the immediate fire area of ignition which provides additional realism in having fire travel overhead as they do in real structure fires. It is important to note when utilizing this technique that drop down from fire brands and pieces of wood should be expected and that all members should be covered with the proper protective clothing and helmets with the chin straps applied. When attaching pallets to ceilings they should be secured firmly in order to guarantee that they would never drop-down as one-piece. This is an excellent way to provide additional realism to the burn.

The particle board that is mentioned can also be used on the walls and on the ceiling. It should be cut into two-foot strips and placed in that fashion. No more than two sheets cut into the two-foot strips should be used at one time for any given fire scenario. Again adhering to NFPA 1403 the concerns regarding the particle board is not the compression of the wood chips but the glue bases that may be used in holding them together.

It is important to note that what ever types of woods are being used that they should never be chemically treated. We're looking for the most natural woods in order to provide clean and safe burning.When attaching wood products onto ceilings and walls it is important that they are only applied in the areas of origin of the fire that is being set. At no time will these products be wrapped around an entire room or near entry ways whether they are overhead or on walls.By doing so will cause an unacceptable fuel load as well as possibly producing fires behind companies and their initial entry ways.

Acquired Structures

Some of the best training and also the most realistic can be provided through the use of acquired structure. Acquired structures offer realism in a truer sense regarding fire dynamics to the training firefighter as it relates to fire suppression activities at real fires. Before we begin to train or light fires in these structures it is extremely important that the inside and outside of these buildings are properly prepared following NFPA standards and guidelines. When we light a fire in a real building we will experience real conditions. With these real conditions come the real potentials regarding fire dynamics that may pose safety risks to those training within and around the structure. Whereas in a burn building a light fire never really leaves a room, it is quite different in an acquired structure where there can be possible involvement of the structure itself as well as extension into other areas. Fire as we know in real structures along with their construction features provide for the fires ability to extend and travel into walls and ceilings. This type of training is an invaluable experience to firefighters giving them a truer perspective on what to expect at the real deal. At the same time if the preparation and the awareness of those training at these acquired structures is not conducted properly injury and death may result.

To emphasize the point again safety and control in this type of training is paramount as stated earlier along with paying attention to the guidelines provided by NFPA 1403. The following information provides for the setting up, preparation and materials needed for a room and contents fire established within NFPA guidelines while allowing for some creativity. Through the use of this type of preparation we will be able to get multiple burns out of one particular room while minimizing its extension into the structure. We can also control the fuel loads by using close to natural products as seen in class "A" materials and additionally be able to better control the growth and spreadof fire while promoting realistic conditions.

Suggested Materials and Preparations

  • 2 rooms about measuring about 13 by 15 feet. Note: Any room used should be configured and prepared in a similar manner. Rooms chosen for burning will have floor joist systems below them completely intact or reinforced. All holes patched or covered. All routes for fire travel such as pipe chases and utility installations through walls and ceilings sealed off.
  • The 2 rooms should be set up at one time alternating burns between both. This allows for repeated evolutions by alternating between them while allowing for cooling and drying of each room after each ignition. Rooms should be far enough apart as to not allow fire extension to ignite through radiation, convection or direct flame contact to the other room or any of its furnishings and materials.
  • 8 4x8 1/2-inch drywall
  • Screw gun and drywall screws
  • 4 8x4 3/4-inch plywood
  • 4 10-foot 2x4's
  • Collected furnishings as used above in Burn Buildings.
  • Pallets and Hay
  • Electric powered saw for cutting plywood and other materials.
  • Hammer and 16p nails