Live Fire Training - The Missing Link

It is unknown exactly when fire service agencies began the practice of live fire training, however, it is likely that firefighter fatalities have occurred during this type of training since its inception.


  1. Develop a comprehensive standard operating guideline (SOG) to ensure compliance with NFPA 1403 and other applicable (state specific) regulations dealing with live fire training.
  2. Develop a SOG on live fire instructor qualification that addresses training, experience, and demonstration of competency in critical skills.
  3. Ensure that live fire training that your organization conducts is safe, effective, and conducted in compliance with applicable regulations, standards, and SOGs.
  4. Expand your training in crew resource management and fire dynamics throughout your department.
  5. Participate in the NFPA standards development process to ensure that professional qualifications standards (e.g., Firefighter, Fire Officer, and Instructor) and the live fire training standard address key competencies for safe operation on both the fireground and in training.

For a copy of Gresham Fire and Emergency Services Compartment Fire Behavior Training Instructor Qualifications system, please contact the author at hartin@ci.gresham.or.us.

References

  • Brunacini, A. (2002). Fire command (2nd ed.). Quincy, MA: National Fire Protection Association.
  • CFBT Steering Group. (2002). Fire service manual volume 4, fire service training, guidance and compliance framework for compartment fire behavior training. Norwich, UK: The stationary office.
  • Colletti, D., & Davis, L. (2004). Calculated risk. Fire Chief, 48(4), 48-54.
  • Demers Associates. (1982, August). Two die in smoke training drill. Fire Service Today.
  • Fahy, R. (2002). U.S. fire service fatalities in structure fires, 1977-2000. Quincy, MA: National Fire Protection Association.
  • Grimwood, P., Hartin, E., McDonough, J., & Raffel, S. (2005). 3D firefighting: Training, techniques, and tactics. Stillwater, OK: Fire Protection Publications.
  • Klein, G. A. (1999). Sources of power. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Klein, G. A., Orasanu, J., Calderwood, R., & Zsambok, C., E. (Eds.). (1995). Decision making in action: Models and methods. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.
  • Linskey, A. (2007a, February 13). City halts training exercise. Baltimore Sun.
  • Linskey, A. (2007b, February 13). Recruit firefighter dies. Baltimore Sun.
  • Little, K. (2002). One year later: Lessons learned from Lairdsville. Retrieved June 1, 2004, from http://www.firehouse.com/training/news/2002/0925_Pyear.html
  • National Fire Protection Association. (1986). Standard on live fire training. Quincy, MA: Author.
  • National Fire Protection Association. (1992). Standard on live fire training. Quincy, MA: Author.
  • National Fire Protection Association. (1996). Standard on live fire training. Quincy, MA: Author.
  • National Fire Protection Association. (2002). Standard on live fire training. Quincy, MA: Author.
  • National Fire Protection Association. (2007). Standard on live fire training. Quincy, MA: Author.
  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. (2003). Death in the line of duty (Report Number F2002-34). Retrieved July 2003, 2003, from http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/pdfs/face200234.pdf
  • Occupational safety and health act, 29 USC ?? 654(5) (1970).
  • Perrow, C. (1984). Normal accidents: Living with high-risk technologies. New York: Basic Books.
  • United States Fire Administration. (2003). Trends and hazards in firefighting training: Special report. Retrieved November 6, 2003, from http://www.usfa.fema.gov/downloads/pdf/publications/tr-100.pdf
  • Walsh, B. (2006, February 3). Rookie firefighters burned at training. Gannet County Chronicle Tribune.

Ed Hartin, M.S., EFO, MIFireE, CFO is a Battalion Chief with Gresham Fire and Emergency Services in Gresham, Oregon. Ed has a longstanding interest in fire behavior and has traveled internationally, studying fire behavior and firefighting best practices in Sweden, the UK, and Australia. Along with Paul Grimwood (UK), Shan Raffel and John McDonough (Australia), Ed co-authored 3D Firefighting: Techniques, Tips, and Tactics a text on compartment fire behavior and firefighting operations published by Fire Protection Publications. Ed has delivered compartment fire behavior training (CFBT) and tactical ventilation training in the US, Australia, and Malaysia. Ed has also authored articles in a number of fire service publications in the US and UK, and presented at the British Fire Service College's annual research conference in 2006. The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) at its 2006 Annual Conference recognized Gresham Fire and Emergency Services compartment fire behavior training (CFBT) program as a finalist for an Award of Excellence. At the same conference, the Commission on Fire Accreditation International awarded Ed Chief Fire Officer (CFO) designation.