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  1. #1
    EuroFirefighter.com PaulGRIMWOOD's Avatar
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    Default Live FIRE Training!

    With the sad loss of a very experienced (30 years) brother firefighter instructor in PA can we learn from this tragic incident? I am not meaning to 'quarterback' this event without ALL the facts to hand. However, if I can prompt worthy debate that might save a life then its worth doing!

    How many of you take part in training burns where contraventions of 1403 occur?


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    Forum Member RyanEMVFD's Avatar
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    Without knowing majority of the details regarding the incident I will not comment. As for 1403 it can be downloaded free from the NFPA website. I think last time I looked you had to do a search for it on the site. There is also another free download, haz-mat I believe. Last live burn I conducted we followed 1403 and it went without a hitch except for our pumper went down and out, switch over to the back ups went smoothly and no one really noticed.
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    EuroFirefighter.com PaulGRIMWOOD's Avatar
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    No I am not asking for comment on the incident in question. But I would use it to prompt debate -

    How many of you take part in (or hear of) training burns where contraventions of 1403 occur?

    I think the full NFPA 1403 is a 'pay per view' document but I have found a free 'draft' PDF of the standard which is possibly incomplete HERE

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    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulGRIMWOOD
    No I am not asking for comment on the incident in question. But I would use it to prompt debate -

    How many of you take part in (or hear of) training burns where contraventions of 1403 occur?

    I think the full NFPA 1403 is a 'pay per view' document but I have found a free 'draft' PDF of the standard which is possibly incomplete HERE
    Unfortunately, more often than one would think.

    I wonder how many of these deaths and injuries happen when training burns are conducted in acquired structures as opposed to a dedicated burn building.

    Ignorance of the 1403 standard is not a defense that can be used if one is brought up on charges and brought to trial... Alan Baird and his attorney Robert Moran tried that in Lairdsville a few years ago.

    At the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy, training burns are conducted to NFPA 1403 standards, with straw and pallets the fuels used.
    Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 10-26-2005 at 08:44 AM.
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    MembersZone Subscriber jaybird210's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulGRIMWOOD
    No I am not asking for comment on the incident in question. But I would use it to prompt debate -

    How many of you take part in (or hear of) training burns where contraventions of 1403 occur?

    I think the full NFPA 1403 is a 'pay per view' document but I have found a free 'draft' PDF of the standard which is possibly incomplete HERE
    Following the events in Lairdsville and the subsequent criminal trial NFPA 1403 is now a free document.

    I have refused to take part in, and have removed my crews from live fire training that is not NFPA1403-compliant.
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    MembersZone Subscriber ChiefReason's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulGRIMWOOD
    With the sad loss of a very experienced (30 years) brother firefighter instructor in PA can we learn from this tragic incident? I am not meaning to 'quarterback' this event without ALL the facts to hand. However, if I can prompt worthy debate that might save a life then its worth doing!

    How many of you take part in training burns where contraventions of 1403 occur?
    As soon as I downloaded the document, I put it into the hands of our chief and told him it WOULD be followed. No exceptions. And like Jay, he was instructed to pull our people from live training with other departments if they did not comply.
    We have since become NFPA members, because quite simply, the legal issues surrounding "competent" and "qualified" are becoming too slippery. You will need these standards to properly defend yourselves if there is a problem.
    And believe me; 1403 is NO GUARANTEE that everything will go right, but it will greatly improve the chances.
    Smoke cans are great, but you pretty much control the behavior of the fire within them.
    In an acquired structure, as much as Mother Nature will let you control it, you really need those elements to determine and to improve your tactics.
    I believe in acquired structure burns, but I also believe that they should be made as safe as is humanly possible. Note that I said humanly possible.
    If more departments train to 1403 and leave training where it is not being followed, then I firmly believe training deaths will drop.
    IMHO.
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    MembersZone Subscriber ChiefReason's Avatar
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    And don't EVEN get me started on Lairdsville and Alan Baird III.
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    Forum Member Rescue101's Avatar
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    Paul,I think we are OBLIGATED to follow the investigation and results of this tragic event. I'm always saddened when a FF is injured (or worse)and try to get as many details on the incident as possible.We can learn from each and every event. As CR says,the use and adherence to 1403 will greatly improve the odds. I have had a couple "hotshots"that have wanted to venture beyond the boundaries of 1403. IT DID NOT HAPPEN! And they were required to give a detailed explanation of why they wanted to.Then their "arguement"was methodically gone thru and when they left,they had a much better grip on "why". T.C.

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    I think it is pretty much common knowledge that I investigated an incident that had eerily similar results ("New Jersey Training Burn; Real-life Lessons".
    Fire Engineering Magazine, March 1994, pp. 42-50.). Usually, when one of these incidents occur, we have limited info. On this one, we have no info, so I refuse to comment.

    In the general sense, however, we have a long history of killing FF in training in this country using live fire. Ordinarily, these incidents occur in acquired structures. I am of the understanding that this one occurred in a legitimate training academy building. This is an investigation we should all watch with keen interest because it is likely to teach us a few things about the way we work at our academies.

    Just to back up what Steve said, it is 100% correct that following the NFPA guidelines is not a guarantee of an incident free training burn. But I think that following the standards and getting a buy-in from the department that you are going to do things the right way sets in motion a mindset that increases the level of diligence and caution throughout the FD. Not only in training, but in all aspects of the job.

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    Default Correction on the cost of the NFPA 1403

    Just checking on what Paul Grimwood posted regarding the cost of NFPA 1403.

    It seems it is no longer a free document. They are now charging $27.00 for it. Does anybody know when or why this happened? I am not imagining this (click here and scroll halfway down). I then logged-in to see if you had to be an NFPA member to get it for free. It was still $30.

    I understand that NFPA is a private organization in business to make money. But if we are going to be held criminally to this standard......

    Then again, thirty bucks ain't a lot of money, especially when it gives you the tools to make this dangerous act quite a little bit safer.
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    Forum Member DeputyChiefGonzo's Avatar
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    Anyone who claims that the $30 cost for a copy of NFPA 1403 is too expensive should step down right now. Putting it into perspective....

    $30 buys:
    a couple of cases of beer ( for off duty consumption in the privacy of your own home)
    Two CD's at the local HMV records
    10 gallons of gas or diesel fuel
    a night at the movies w/ the wife/gf/significant other
    6 Large caramel macchiatos at Starbucks
    10 Blizzards at Dairy Queen

    or... $30 can buy the safety of our personnel.....

    Choose wisely!
    Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 10-26-2005 at 11:33 AM.
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    EuroFirefighter.com PaulGRIMWOOD's Avatar
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    Yes Gonzo .... Reason .... George .... Jay .... all the people who I KNOW (and expect) fully support the 1403 document and what it stands for.

    It does seem that firefighters often have limited knowledge of its content. Perhaps there is (should be) a much briefer version in checklist format? I agree fully Reason that 'cans' are much more controllable and that is why they should serve as the 'first taste' level one entry to fire behavior training. Following on from this, yes, live training in acquired structures is essential for level two advanced training.

    Both forms of training should be to 1403 standards - in EVERY way. Its good to hear your positive views. I just wonder how many firefighters are led into burns without prior knowledge of what the standard demands.

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    MembersZone Subscriber jaybird210's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulGRIMWOOD
    Yes Gonzo .... Reason .... George .... Jay .... all the people who I KNOW (and expect) fully support the 1403 document and what it stands for.

    It does seem that firefighters often have limited knowledge of its content. Perhaps there is (should be) a much briefer version in checklist format? I agree fully Reason that 'cans' are much more controllable and that is why they should serve as the 'first taste' level one entry to fire behavior training. Following on from this, yes, live training in acquired structures is essential for level two advanced training.

    Both forms of training should be to 1403 standards - in EVERY way. Its good to hear your positive views. I just wonder how many firefighters are led into burns without prior knowledge of what the standard demands.
    This is a very interesting point. How many fire academies introduce their students to 1403 so they know what they should expect before being exposed to live fire? I been through two and taught two; and never thought about teaching this standard. I think I'll change that for the next class.

    I know that the EMT classes teach medico-legal. But I know that Illinois has nothing like this in its firefighter curiculuum. To be honest, I didn't know it existed before Lairdsville (I wasn't chief then, but still should've known better).

    Very provacative......
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    MembersZone Subscriber ChiefReason's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TrojanHorse
    Well if it is coming out of my pocket it is significant. Personally, I believe every department should be paying the $695 subscription and making the entire set of NFPA regs avaliable to all of it's members.

    My problem is it is $30 for NFPA 1403. But a I also want several others taking the cost into the hundreds. So when we talk about the $30 it really depends on who's pocket the money is coming from.
    Who insures your department?
    Get them to get NFPA for you.
    Call it customer service.
    Some local libraries have them.
    We can go to a career department just south of us and they let us use their NFPA library.
    If you really want to learn, you won't let money stand in the way.
    Be creative.
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    It should include training and education, too.
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    ALOT of libraries have them.

    Quick question...how many standards making organizations offer their documents for free? You want to see expensive? Look at ANSI Standards.

    This is a ridiculous point. You don't have to buy one copy for every member. You just have to buy one copy. It is far less expensive to buy the online access to every code than to buy individual codes.

    Another quick question...how many FD's who bitch that codes are too expensive have cable TV? Cable TV won't help you fight fire or save your life?

    One more quick question...how many FD's who bitch that codes are too expensive have approached their corporate neighbors in town for a donation? How about asking for private donations. A whole lot of households would rather give you $30 for a legitimate copy of a code than a donation that will go to the softball team.

    Sorry, IMHO the argument that codes cost too much has way too many answers to be valid.

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    MembersZone Subscriber ChiefReason's Avatar
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    George;
    You can drive a stake right to the heart of it like no other!
    I have my own quick question:
    How many have Dash Whackers, a cool department shirt with badge, a leatherman tool, a rescue knife and NO NFPA manuals?
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    Forum Member Weruj1's Avatar
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    I am currently in the Fire Instructor class, on our second day we all got a copy of 1403 and went over every page, made for good highlights. I know that I will NOT offer any training that doesnt comply, I have also not been to anything that doesnt comply and got to already do a site/plan review for our last live burn. As per usual, it takes a tragedy to do it better.
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    Our state fire commision requires an instructor certification for NFPA 1403. You cannot have a live burn without the lead instructor having taken the class, to my knowledge (recently went through the instructor class.) My department requires 1403 be followed on all live burns. The chief, assistant chief of safety and training chief must all sign off prior to the burn beginning.

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    NFPA 1403 - see here for a free pdf download - NFPA 1403 I believe that this is the current edition.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaulGRIMWOOD
    How many of you take part in training burns where contraventions of 1403 occur?
    Down Under we don't have a standard like 1403 (but IMO we should be using 1403). I've seen quite a few things done that contravene 1403 in live fire training, including -
    - Use of live "victims" (obviously never heard of Laidesville)
    - lack of prior training before live burn training - One FF was on their first night of firefighting training ever "here stick this on yer back, and we'll help you get the mask on right - you'll be fine - don't worry"
    - lack of seperate sources of water supply for primary and backup lines (backup lines not even stretched sometimes)
    - no ambulance or EMS on scene apart from the first aid and O2 kits on the rigs, and no medical training higher than first aid
    - no walk-through of the structure by participants before training commences
    - flammable liquids being used inside structures
    - no safety officer appointed
    - no RIT in place
    - modern lounge room furniture being used for fires
    - no communications in place
    - no information on evacuation signals given during briefings
    - fires being lit simultaneously in multiple rooms on different floors
    and we won't even talk about the famous "Flamin' Highway from Hell" excercise!
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