1. #1
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    Default Time to stop training burns?

    In light of the tragedy at Lairdsville and this most recent incident (see the firehouse.com main page about 7 injured in NY), is it beyond our risk tolerances to continue burning real dwellings?

    Should we confine our live burns to buildings designed for such?

    Can we get as much out of those fires as a real house, or more?

  2. #2
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    The outright ban of all non burn building live burns is way over the top. In comparison to the number of live burns conducted yearly in the United States to incidents such as Lairdsville, most are conducted w/o incident and good trainings can result for usualy several depts for one weekend at a house. I think that a possible revision or creation of individual state regulations concerning these types of trainings maybe needed, but to ban live burns and restrict it to academies and burn buildings would robb many depts of needed experience and training of its members ,as well as the interdepartment cooperation that can result from participating in such trainings.

    What is needed is common sense and for people to learn from the mistakes and misfortunes of others, NOT taking valuable training away from FFs.
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  3. #3
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    Default Nah

    I don't think stopping live burns in acquired structures is the answer. Using some degree of common sense is a good start. Whether you like NFPA 1403 or not, it just makes sense. It provides a check-off for conducting a drill, so it's not really difficult to follow the requirements. Another step would be to stop unqualified persons from conducting these drills.

    One thing that has me thinking a lot is this. If an officer has no more knowledge about fire behavior and fire ground tactics than to be unaware that the floor above the fire is one of the most dangerous locations on a fireground, and that gasoline blows up when it's allowed to vaporize and reaches an ignition source, how in the world can they safely function as an Incident Commander, or an officer at all for that matter??

    If I had someone like that in charge, I'd think I'd have to look at a greeters job at Walmart.
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    Perhaps only in Upstate NY

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    OK, lets just punish everyone for a isolated few incidents.

    Maybe we should all just bend over and take it like real men or we could use a little common sense. I do not agree that aquired structure use should be banned, however I do think that maybe something should be done to tighten the rules under which they occur.


    The fact is that not all departments have easy access to these "burn buildings" that everyone refers to. Besides that, real structures or aquired structures are far better for "real life training". This of course is providing that the proper prep and saftey measures were taken. Pre-planning and a few extra minutes to ensure saftey is all that is needed, not drastic measures like "banning"!!
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    Wink Time to stop training burns?

    Live fire training in acquired structures can be a valuable tool, IF it is done under the control of competent, experienced, knowledgeable officers. One would hope that somewhere in that cranial space they might have some "common sense!" You can not use non SCBA certified "probies" as victims and you can not send untrained firemen into situations without them being accompanied by an instructor or highly experienced firefighter. They're going to get into trouble!

    Of course, senior officers, posessing basic knowledge regarding fire behavior, fire spread and the dangers of flammable vapors would also help....as it would seem that the officers involved with the aforementioned incidents lacked those basic skills. IMHO, a 19 or 20 year old officer can not possibly have the experience or fireground maturity to supervise any drills of this nature.

    Continue the live training exercises....but do it with some COMPETENT, TRAINED and EXPERIENCED supervision. Follow guidelines. Consider having another departments FAST team in place while the drill is in progress. Keep backup lines charged, in position and at the ready.

    Those officers might have been good decision makers under normal conditions, however:

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    I personally don't like live burns but I think banning them is not the way to proceed. I think the answer is in accountability. If a live burn is conducted it should be done so under the auspices of trained personnel who are responsible. That responsibility should be inclusive of all safety items. Naturally there are ways for errors to occur even if 1403 and common sense is followed. Fighting fire is like combat in that injury and death can come at the most unfortunate time. However, if the live burn goes bad and it is found that standards were not followed, then swift prosecution of those responsible should occur. Just my 3 cents.

    Jay

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    Banning live burns is not the answer. There is probably no other truer to life scenario that could prepare veterans and probies alike for what they will face. However, safety is paramount!!!!! The people that are running these trainings should be thoroughly experienced FF's or officers. Live victims should not be used, the overuse of any accelerants should be avoided, accountability should be strict, and handlines and sector safety officers should be utilized. I guess the prevailing attitude among many is that a training burn is a harmless fun activity. wrong!!! The incidents over the past few months have shown us the tragic consequences when a carefree attitude is taken. We don't approach a real structure fire with this attitude, nor should we with a training burn.
    "I have no ambition in this world but one, and that is to be a fireman. The position may, in the eyes of some, appear to be a lowly one; but we know the work which a fireman has to do believe that his is a noble calling."

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  9. #9
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    Thumbs down

    Ban Training Burns...
    That is not the answer by any stretch of the imagination. Live burn training in aquired structures is essential to the proper training of fire fighters. With-in a couple of burns, I can have the entire layout of a burn building memorized, great for basic training like fire streams, ventilation and ect, but is it a "real world" senario?
    The paramount aspects of safety for live burn training are spelled out in NFPA 1403, that's where the burns need to start, not when you show up. Maybe the answer is to ban those fire departments that don't recognize the NFPA standards. We all that won't happen, so the next best thing would be to prosecute those responsible. Reckless homicide/endangerment comes to mind...I hate to be the one to break the bad news, but this job can be dangerous, maybe even deadly. The only way to give us the edge is real world training. If that is to much, stocking shelves a Wal-mart may be in order for some. This isn't a hobby.
    You want to take the authority and perks that come with the white helmet, you had better damn well be able to take the responsibility that comes with it.
    Last edited by SPFDRum; 04-29-2002 at 10:29 PM.
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    Unhappy Questioning Leadership?

    Alright, I haven't even started training yet, but in the past couple weeks I have learned quite a bit regarding common sense. One of the questions I was asked in my oral exam was what would you do if someone in authority asked you to do something you felt was life threatening or you didn't fully comprehend. Does that apply here. Shouldn't someone in both incidents have said, "Wait a minute, I don't think we are all on the same page." or " Sir, I don't believe I have enough experience for this."
    All I'm saying is someone should have said something. Even if they get yelled at or something.

    God Bless

    PD

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    I agree with those that are for live fire training. It is priceless.

    So is human life. Therefore, I think we should hold those responsible for these disasters accountable--particularly if they blatantly ignore established standards.

    Accidents happen. But a total disregard for safety is no accident.
    Bryan Beall
    Silver City, Oklahoma USA

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    Shouldn't someone in both incidents have said, "Wait a minute, I don't think we are all on the same page."
    Yes! And you don't need to be a 30 year veteran to realize it Pro.

  13. #13
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    I feel the only thing that should be banned are unsafe live burn operations.
    May we never forget our fallen, worldwide.

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    If you compare live fire training for FD's with hazardous training conducted in other occupations, very few of those occupations conduct their hazardous duty training without regulations or standards.

    NJ was in desperate need of live fire training standards several years ago. A live fire training accident motivated the legislature to have them developed and promulgated. They were pushed by respected fire people in NJ who really cared.

    Seems to me that there has to be alot of fire people who care in NYS. Maybe it's time you guys got together to motivate the legislature to enact some standards before anyone else gets hurt.

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    All the standards in the world won't matter if they are not followed. Lairdsville is a perfect example. The standards already exist, they just didn't use them. As long as no one gets in trouble for it, why would they worry about it? Thank God that finally someone is being held accountable, although it should be more than one guy. I think that once a few departments get in some trouble for what they do and it is publicized, that will do more to force the issue.

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    Yes, all live fire training should be banned, in the state of New York. It seems that fire departments in that state do not know how to put on a safe live burn exercise. They should be banned in that state until every department develops standards and procedures, preferably using NFPA 1403, covering the operation at live burn exercises.

    Stopping live fire training will only hurt the fire service. If done properly, following strict safety guidelines, live fire training can be a very effective teaching tool.
    Last edited by CHFD-LT; 04-29-2002 at 03:33 PM.

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    I think that is an injustice to say that there isn't a FD in NYS that can run a safe live burn training operation. You don't really believe that do you? If you want to say that all live burn training in NYS should be suspended until safety regulations are adopted I could really agree with you. There are an awful lot of fire fighters in NYS who are committed to safety and would never get involved in a situation like that.

  18. #18
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    Time to stop training burns?? No, that's not the answer. But stopping contributing factors to training injuries needs to be more of a focus.

    1. It's time to stop letting any FF off the street acquire a structure, set it on fire and call it training. There needs to be a uniform level of training for those running the 'show' and it needs to be enforced by things such as applying for live fire training permits and in that application process someone (or more depending on instructor to student ratio) with an instructor cert and a live burn instructor cert needs to put his/her name on the line and take the responsibility of running this exercise safely.

    2. Area 2 points right back to us as the FF's operating at the drill. Realize that ANY fire can go bad and can go bad quick. Take away the safety precautions built into some of today's academy burn buildings by using an acquired structure and you are just about learning via the old 'trial and error' method and those errors can and have cost lives. With that being said, we need to ditch the complacency and the 'it's training we don't need to be as serious here as we would be on a scene' attitude. Unfortunately complacency kills FF's. During Fire Prevention lectures we get upset when people don't take us serious and have the attitude of 'this won't ever happen to me' yet we turn around and do it to ourselves on the training ground. I doesn't add up!

    Sorry for the preaching, but I guess that's what they made opinions for

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    Thank you George. The problems recently experienced in upstate NY is not a statewide problem. Just as Mercer and Mesa and the accident in NJ didn't mean their respective states were all screwed up. The fact also is NY is a home rule state, just as NFPA with their AHJ blanket statements in regards to certain policies. NYS OFPC has a live burn policy, but it is for their SFI's. While its a respectful idea of the legislature to enact legislation regarding training burns, it can also cause later problems. Today live burns tomorrow something else, and when each chief/department has their own way about everything, I'm willing to bet it would be nothing but headaches. We have a speed limit in NY and a no cell phone while driving law and people still speed and still talk on their phones. The fire service is no different.
    For those of you who have read my past posts on this topic, many of you already know that I do not believe in acquired structure live fire training. I'm sure if all injuries related to live burns were actually reported properly the percentages would be much higher. We now have a great sense of awareness in regards to vacant large windowless commercial buildings from the Worcester fatalities, I've seen chiefs on TV and lectures talk about incidents in their areas and not putting firefighters into these buildings and many of us supporting those tactics. However, we still have these fatalities and injuries in training burns regardless of what is supposed to be followed. We have the ability to control these deaths/injuries. It also bothers me to see how much we take note to incidents like Worcester, Houston, and other fatalities that involve tactic type scenarios but many of us still do not have physical training policies or physical training equipment in our firehouses to reduce cardiac illnesses. Burn buildings may not be the most realistic form of live fire training, however it is safer, and controlled. It still allows the basics to be practiced, hose advancement and stream placement. You can also achieve much higher temperatures in a burn building then you can in an acquired structure, much higher then what you will see in your average (I know I hate that word also) structure fire.

  20. #20
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    I agree with ALSff, live fire training can be held in burn buildings, use the acquired structures for forcible entry, ventilation, overhaul, or anything else you cant do in burn buildings.
    As for the people that seem to be making gross generalizations, like I said in the other forum on this topic, you tend to detract from your credibility when you make those statements, not everyone in NY is an imbicile.
    Shawn M. Cecula
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    ALS and Lewiston (and anyone else),

    Is there no circumstance that you think using an acquired structure is appropriate for? How about teaching the basic firefighting skills in burn buildings and using acquired structures as advanced training?

    The live burn exercises I have been involved in were overseen by experienced officers and state instructors. Safety was paramount. In fact, I thought we went overboard on safey at the time, but I was REAL green (not that I've got that much time in now LOL). Looking back, I understand the decisions that were made, and if my current department were to do a live burn, I'd have the same concerns.

    Give appropriate safety measures, what's wrong with live burns?
    Bryan Beall
    Silver City, Oklahoma USA

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    Default LIVE FIRE TRAINING

    ALMOST 40 BURNS
    IN OVER 4 YEARS
    NO ACCELERANTS
    NO LIVE VICTIMS
    ------------------
    = NO INJURIES........

  23. #23
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    Thumbs up Live Fire Training

    I'm with my fellow ghettotruckster

    10 years
    Approx. 100 burns (in acquired structures)
    No accelerants (ever!)
    No live victims (ever!)
    1 injury (However this "victim" learned (actually "re-enforced") a valuable lesson..... Never, ever put a VERY, VERY hot glove into the fire stream.....just take it off....outside!)....Small burn on hand, due to steam.

    Everyone that has attended this training has called it the "Best training" they have ever had.

    Just like the Porsche ad says

    "Acquired structures.......There is NO substitute!"
    FTM-PTB
    trk4

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    Ok, I'll try this one more time, thanks to this forum system, I lost the first one I typed due to it said I wasn't "logged on."
    Anyway, yes Silver, I believe they can be used for exactly what Lewiston put in his post. They are valuable for Vertical ventilation on a real roof, forcible entry, overhaul, and Search & Rescue. I've also been involved in numerous acquired structure burns when I was an instructor in Virginia, and never had any problems other then routine bumps, scrapes, and a few minor steam burns. However, that still doesn't account for the numerous other fatalities and injuries we have had nationwide over the past 2 decades alone. I still believe that you can have effective live burns in burn buildings. What effect do you get in a acquired structure vs. burn building. We still get rollovers, have "windows" that need to be taken out, and can build up higher temperatures in a controlled environment. Class A materials are class A materials. I don't think many of us can even find a couch that is pure class A. We have panels on our building that simulate wallboard. Our building is also a replica of a residential house, and we have the ability to get high rise live fire training also. Myself, and the guys I work with are products of burn building trained firefighters, and even our probies do just fine on their first actual structure fires. I just still find it ironic that many depts/agencies evaluate themselves and/or their tactics when a fatality occurs and NIOSH issues the report and/or deficiencies, but when they occur in a training burn we hear quotes of "we don't do it that way, we are safe, we follow this, they're just stupid." We can have standards/laws whatever you want, but that won't ensure 100% compliance, banning acquired live fire training will. This isn't just limited to NY either, AZ, MI, and NJ have had incidents with non-burn building live fires that have led to death or injury. The aftermath of NJ's accident led to the ban on using any transportation vehicle for live fire training. Why not add acquired structure to that list and leave it to burn buildings.
    On a lighter note, I just wanted to say this is a good forum, honest opinions, questions and answers with bashing, or beligerent tones. This is the way it should be and is a compliment to those of us who attempt to maintain professionalism even during times of disagreement and humor.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    The above is my opinion only and doesn't reflect that of any dept/agency I work for, deal with, or am a member of.

  25. #25
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    The standards developed by NFPA Committees are consensus standards- everyone is given a chance to comment on them when they are developed and it always amazes me at the people who complain yet have never bothered to contribute to fixing the problem. Thus the comments I hear about standards being "unrealistic" tend to rub me the wrong way.

    There is a standard for live fire burns and I have no idea if it was adhered to in this last case or not, but where I come from, if someone screws up, they should take responsibility for the outcome. I don't care if you're volunteer or career, standards are there to protect us (from ourselves, sometimes it seems) and it amazes me when I hear someone say, "Well, these standards are just too hard to live up to". Well, if that's your philospophy, my suggestion is to get out of the business and leave it those of us that follow the rules and can do the job, especially since these are MINIMUM standards. That goes for fitness standards; otherwise, the heart attack parade is just going to keep on coming. It goes for professional standards; if volunteers are going to keep throwing out the old "we're professionals too", then they should back it up by supporting professional standards across the board. And it goes for safety standards.

    I wholeheartedly believe that those of you out there who are volunteers and meeting the standards are truly professionals. And likewise, if you are career and not meeting standards, you are unprofessional. Fire doesn't differentiate between volunteer or career, so therefore the requirements should be similar.

    My prayers are with the firefighters that got hurt last week. I don't, however, believe that banning live burns will solve the problem. Getting rid of the leaders who fail to protect their crews and getting rid of people taking shortcuts WILL solve the problem.

    Well, let the screaming begin...
    Michael "Mick" Mayers
    Acting Director, Urban Search and Rescue
    South Carolina Emergency Response Task Force
    www.sctf1.sc.gov

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