Like Tree3Likes
  • 2 Post By FyredUp
  • 1 Post By FyredUp

Thread: Live fire training in acquired structures

  1. #1
    Forum Member
    FyredUp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 1999
    Location
    Rural Wisconsin, Retired from the burbs of Milwaukee
    Posts
    10,172

    Default Live fire training in acquired structures

    This past weekend I was part of the crew running a live fire training exercise in an old farmhouse. First of all, let me say this training was run in complete compliance with NFPA 1403 and State of Wisconsin DNR regulations for asbestos abatement. While we were burning a few thoughts entered my head and I thought I would share them to see if anyone agrees or wants to tell me I am F***ed in the head.

    Safety in operations is stressed, proper PPE in good condition. Redundant water supply with one engine supplying back up lines and another supplying attack lines. the fire setter has their own line inside for fire control if the attack crews are delayed.

    1) We build fires using pallets, scrap lumber, hay or straw, paper and cardboard. No mattresses, no couches, no overstuffed chairs, no plastics, etc...

    2) We build good sized fires, equivalent to 4 or 5 pallets, a half a bale of hay, about that much paper or cardboard.

    3) We let the fire grow to create a challenging fire attack, with fire moving across the ceiling.

    4) Crews are accompanied by an experienced instructor, as well as the 2 person fire setter crew being inside with them.

    After we were done for the day I was talking to a group of students who commented on how good the fires were. Bigger and more realistic than at the burn tower. I made sure to say how many safety measures we had in place but then I said this "If we train you to be able to put out fires like this, with a good sized fire taking a room, then the everyday couch, or tv, or stove fire is easily handled and if you ever see a bigger fire like this you won't freak and you know what your capabilities are."

    Any comments?
    Chenzo and tree_house like this.
    Crazy, but that's how it goes
    Millions of people living as foes
    Maybe it's not too late
    To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

  2. #2
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Marble Rock, Iowa
    Posts
    217

    Default

    Sounds like you do things pretty much the same way we do when we have the opportunity to use an acquired structure.

    I don't have near the experience that you and a lot of other guys on here have and I don't have an "Instructor" role, but, I agree completely with what you said, that's how me and a lot of other FF's in our area have learned our limits and how to deal with those bigger fires and not lose our heads.
    Last edited by FF715MRFD; 04-09-2013 at 10:24 PM. Reason: spelling

  3. #3
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Posts
    224

    Default

    I completely agree with your line of thinking, Fyred.

    If all most members ever see of "structure" fires is in a concrete training building with propane simulators, no avenues for unseen extension, no real heat, and if you wait long enough it burns out or shuts itself off- they will be in for a REAL rude awakening when they respond to a real world fire.

    If you prepare for the big fires, the small ones take care of themselves.

    I can vividly remember one acquired structure drill, from some years ago. We lit the place up one room at a time- using real furnishings. Safety crews were in place at all times, with charged lines and full gear/scba. Inexperienced members were paired up with experienced ones, and experienced officers. We let some of the fires go for good while, and get rather large. Extension did happen, and members were trained to look for and expect it.

    We even invited the local news media, and set up a real living room fire- with a residential sprinkler system. What an eye opener! The newsies got to see the whole thing, from inception to sprinkler activation. They also got to see several heads outside the immediate area NOT activate. The sprinklers are the difference between a one engine response for mop up, and a fan or two- and a major loss. Wastepaper basket was toast, chair was partially charred, and a cloth tapestry was singed at one end. That's it!

    Shortly after, we did a fire attack scenario in the adjoining room. There was a large open arch between. Myself and two others got to lay prone in the non fire room, and watch as the fire developed and grew. The lead waited until the room flashed to send in the hose crew ( who were right outside the door) The room we were in had a large sliding door to the outside- which we left open. I kept a boot tip hooked on the sill to keep me oriented. Another eye opener- I had never seen this part of a house fire before, not like this! It got pretty damn hot in there, and I waited a touch too long to bail- the nozzle crew opened up, and knocked a bunch of ceiling tiles down on me...

    We tell people until we're blue in the face to get out NOW, and stay out because a fire can develop and spread extremely rapidly. It's quite another thing to see it happen right in front of you! I was actually too fascinated to be worried or scared.

  4. #4
    Forum Member
    Bones42's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    Location
    Pt. Beach, NJ
    Posts
    10,685

    Default

    Makes me jealous that you are allowed to run live burns in real structures.....in NJ, we don't have that ability anymore, we can only use propane burn buildings.

    After 30 years, 20 of which as an instructor....I can state that we don't train FF's as well as we used to. Safer? Possibly. Realistically? Nope.

    Sounds like a job well done.
    "This thread is being closed as it is off-topic and not related to the fire industry." - Isn't that what the Off Duty forum was for?

  5. #5
    Forum Member
    conrad427's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Just south of Canada
    Posts
    561

    Default

    We have been given two structures to burn down lately. The difference between the burn trailer and a house fire is staggering. The instructors did the best they could in the trailer but it was not the same when I went into a building fire. I would say the experience is priceless. I would say your thought process is right on the money Fyred, as for whether or not you are F@#$@# in the head, well, I don't know you well enough to make that call.

  6. #6
    Forum Member
    FyredUp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 1999
    Location
    Rural Wisconsin, Retired from the burbs of Milwaukee
    Posts
    10,172

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bones42 View Post
    Makes me jealous that you are allowed to run live burns in real structures.....in NJ, we don't have that ability anymore, we can only use propane burn buildings.

    After 30 years, 20 of which as an instructor....I can state that we don't train FF's as well as we used to. Safer? Possibly. Realistically? Nope.

    Sounds like a job well done.
    I have seen a phenomenon I like to call the burn room firefighter, Fires there are pretty much smoke free, never really hot, and easily extinguished with a little squirt of water. When I have had some of these same firefighters in live fire training in acquired structures they either get a little freaked out because of heat and smoke, OR they do the little squirt and wonder why the fire didn't go out.

    I made sure these students knew that when we said flow water to do it until the fire darkened down.
    Last edited by FyredUp; 04-10-2013 at 09:43 AM.
    Crazy, but that's how it goes
    Millions of people living as foes
    Maybe it's not too late
    To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

  7. #7
    Forum Member
    FyredUp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 1999
    Location
    Rural Wisconsin, Retired from the burbs of Milwaukee
    Posts
    10,172

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by conrad427 View Post
    We have been given two structures to burn down lately. The difference between the burn trailer and a house fire is staggering. The instructors did the best they could in the trailer but it was not the same when I went into a building fire. I would say the experience is priceless. I would say your thought process is right on the money Fyred, as for whether or not you are F@#$@# in the head, well, I don't know you well enough to make that call.
    If you knew me you would know that I am!!
    Chenzo likes this.
    Crazy, but that's how it goes
    Millions of people living as foes
    Maybe it's not too late
    To learn how to love, and forget how to hate

  8. #8
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Northeast Coast
    Posts
    3,868

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post

    1) We build fires using pallets, scrap lumber, hay or straw, paper and cardboard. No mattresses, no couches, no overstuffed chairs, no plastics, etc...

    2) We build good sized fires, equivalent to 4 or 5 pallets, a half a bale of hay, about that much paper or cardboard.

    3) We let the fire grow to create a challenging fire attack, with fire moving across the ceiling.

    4) Crews are accompanied by an experienced instructor, as well as the 2 person fire setter crew being inside with them.

    After we were done for the day I was talking to a group of students who commented on how good the fires were. Bigger and more realistic than at the burn tower. I made sure to say how many safety measures we had in place but then I said this "If we train you to be able to put out fires like this, with a good sized fire taking a room, then the everyday couch, or tv, or stove fire is easily handled and if you ever see a bigger fire like this you won't freak and you know what your capabilities are."

    Any comments?
    Your thought process is aligned with our way of thinking as well. Given we have no real burn buildings in our area, acquired strutures have ruled the day for the last 25+ years and we've seen the evolution of safety regulation from buring anything we could to today's hay and pallet fires.

    The only comment I'd add is this: These students must somehow be made aware that the same volume of fire that does involve over stuffed chairs, TV's, plastic toys/furnishings will likely be much hotter, grow much faster, the smoke will be more dense and the fire will not be quite as easy to extinguish.

    We must ensure the safety of our personnel, but to do so to too great a degree on the training ground can harm them on the fireground, conducting realistic live fire training is imperative and a very instructor heavy event. I know that in every training I've attended I hated the moment where afterward the instructors have to qualify the previous evolution with: "Just remember in a REAL fire..."

  9. #9
    MembersZone Subscriber

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    Lusby, MD
    Posts
    1,035

    Default

    Your approach sounds very similar to our approach. I've been fortunate enough to be involved in several house burnings, both as a firefighter and member of the training team. They are invaluable training tools if done correctly (which it sounds like you did). As several have mentioned, a real house is a different experience than the burn building. Our training facility uses racks of straw or wood fiber as fuel. It just burns differently than even pallets do in a house. I've also seen the tendency to stop early so that the fire can be easily re-lit or not to blow the straw all over the place.

    Don't forget the training that can take place before the actual burning. RIT/Mayday, forcible entry or even just simple hose line advancement without any fire.

    The preparation of the buildings and in our case, the coordination of additional departments, water supply etc is a lot of work, but the experience that our guys get in class and in the burn house just isn't the same as a live burn in an acquired structure.

  10. #10
    Forum Member

    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    TN
    Posts
    100

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by FyredUp View Post
    I have seen a phenomenon I like to call the burn room firefighter, Fires there are pretty much smoke free, never really hot, and easily extinguished with a little squirt of water. When I have had some of these same firefighters in live fire training in acquired structures they either get a little freaked out because of heat and smoke, OR they do the little squirt and wonder why the fire didn't go out.

    I made sure these students knew that when we said flow water to do it until the fire darkened down.
    Every time I take a "burn room firefighter" (I like that description!) into their first real fire, they come out bragging about how hot it was and how they couldn't see ****. I then remind them that they will seldom be able to see much and that the structure was well ventilated and fairly cool or I'd have gone in with an experienced guy instead of taking them with me.

    We get an aquired structure to train on occasionally, which helps soften that first real fire experience, but I wish we could do it more often.
    Last edited by tbzep; 04-12-2013 at 07:58 PM.

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Similar Threads

  1. Acquired structure training ideas
    By Catch22 in forum Emergency Services Training
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 04-19-2012, 04:51 PM
  2. Calling all instructors that use acquired structures...
    By Firellc in forum Emergency Services Training
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 03-05-2004, 09:31 AM
  3. Live Fire Training
    By PaulGRIMWOOD in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 16
    Last Post: 01-13-2003, 08:21 AM
  4. Live Burn - Acquired Structure Training
    By PAVolunteer in forum Firefighters Forum
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: 08-05-2002, 03:07 PM
  5. Do you get to do live fire training?
    By CV639 in forum Fire Explorer & Jr. Firefighting
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 05-26-2000, 11:01 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts

Log in

Click here to log in or register