Live Fire Training - Part 1

Over the last few years we have seen it time and again regarding the injuries and deaths to firefighters on the training ground regarding live burns. They involve individuals from the rookie to the seasoned veteran and the cause of these injuries and...


When conducting live fire training in acquired structures instructors should be sure to establish at least 3 hose lines in a ready position before ignition of the fire and entry of participants into the structure. One hose line will be used by the participants advancing and attacking the fire while an additional hose line will be placed for the purposes of a backup crew and a final third to be used as a safety line kept in the burn area.

Ventilation activities will ultimately be provided and controled by the instructors making sure that ventilation is occurring continuously in order to avoid buildup of extreme heat and gases. Ventilation activities should also occur during water application on the fire in order to lift smoke and steam away from the attack crew.

In summary conducting a safe live fire training exercise in an acquired structure it is imperative that the preparation of the training site, the students or participants along with safety briefings be provided with everyone paying strict attention in what is to be expected regarding the evolutions.

During the preplanning of the live fire training exercise it is a good idea to mark all egress areas with brightly colored paints. Make certain that all utilities have been disconnected. If you can't make the building safe and adhere to NFPA 1403 than take into consideration that it may be best not to use it.

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Lieutenant Mike Mason is a 23 year veteran of the fire service and currently assigned to Downers Grove, IL, Fire Department Engine Co. 3 and 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 R.I.C.O.tm (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 fire178dg@att.net