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...

It is recommended that during the first burn evolution you do not cover the windows if the glass and sash are present with the plywood. Allow the window to blow out in order to allow companies to deal with real fire conditions. Be sure to guarantee that no fire extension or lapping will occur during the exercise to the floor or space above. After the first evolution the window/s will need to be cover over in plywood. The plywood material should be applied and fastened in such a way that the material can be easily removed or pushed in or out from either side that it is fastened from.


None of this will work unless one of the major areas of concerns of fire behavior is addressed at live burns and that's proper ventilation. When we talk about ventilation we refer to adequate controlled ventilation for live burns in acquired structures. This is accomplished through providing the making of proper sized and properly placed ventilation holes on the roof of the structure. Ventilation holes should be placed not only at the high points on a roofs pitch but ordinarily over the fire area as well. When burning in acquired structures it is imperative that multiple ventilation holes are made. A good rule of thumb is to provide two ventilation openings of a minimum size of a 4x4 opening made on each side of a pitched roof at opposite ends. One of the openings should be closer to where the rooms of the burn areas are. Also if another pitched roof intersects another portion of a roof another ventilation hole should additionally be provided for on that portion. These tactics provide for greater control and safety from the build up and pressures from heat, smoke and hot gases giving us more control of the interior fire dynamic making it much safer.

The construction of these ventilation holes on the roof should be prepared in such a way as to be totally manipulated at will and with great ease. Cut holes 3 1 /2-by-3 1/2 at the proper locations relative to the burns and then frame them in on three sides leaving the top open. Make sure when utilizing the 2x4's for framing that the frame allows for a piece of 4x4 cut plywood to slide easily within it. Nail a make shift handle to one side of the 4x4 piece of plywood along one of its sides so you can grasp it and slide the plywood out of the framing from the other side of the ridge. Do the same for the other ventilation hole at the other location and so on. By making these ventilation holes easily manageable we can provide safety for those inside as well as those on the roof. Remember these fires should never be allowed to get to a point that they would jeopardize those training inside as well as those attending on the roof.

Related: Live Fire Training - Part 1


Lieutenant Mike Mason is a 23 year veteran of the fire service and currently assigned to Downers Grove, IL, Fire Department Engine Co. 3and heads the high rise districts and its policies for his department and all responding area departments. He is a Certified Instructor III and Fire Officer II along with being a staff instructor for the Downers Grove Fire Academy and other academies throughout the state of Illinois. He is the author of R.I.C.O., Rapid Intervention Company Operations which is recognized as the largest and most comprehensive text available on Rapid Intervention. It is respected and used by many instructors from all over the country including some organizations overseas for its content and applicability in all areas of firefighter rescue. Lt. Mason has also originated the national program entitled (Rapid Intervention Company Operations) which utilizes an ever changing program involving the most up to date progressive procedures, maneuvers and techniques which are taught by some of the most prominent instructors in firefighter rescue from across the nation. Lieutenant Mike Mason can be reached at