Great info, This will help me and my project!
Matt Green said:
I work for two fire training centers, one that is an engineered, purpose-built training center with a tower and actual designed burn rooms, the other is a local fire academy that has put shipping containers together into a small burn room area.
It would be hard to accurately describe how the containers are actually put together, but basically, they are sitting on a concrete pad, running lengthwise. I've attempted to attach a diagram, we'll see how well it actually works.
Hopefully the diagram is pretty self explanatory... however, there are a few definite details that you guys need to keep in mind.
As far as flooring goes, most of the container floors have been covered in thin sheet metal, just to add a little bit of protection for the wood flooring. The interior walls that you see are also constructed out of thin gauge sheetmetal and 1" square tubing, just enough to add some structure inside. Nothing that actually adds to the structural integrity of the containers though.
As you can see in the diagram, both containers were sectioned off into smaller rooms to simulate bedrooms or whatever. However, in doing this, it made the rooms SMALL. Small rooms + live fire = HIGH heat. So that is one definite downside to doing things. Maybe make one bigger room to burn in and change the configuration?
I wasn't involved in the design/setup of the containers, however, there are several things that after working in them over the last few years I would definitely do different.
#1: Make all of your doors swing outward, or don't put any stops on them, allowing them to swing both ways. The doors in the containers all swing inward, into the rooms, which is obviously more realistic to a real house... however, if the doors get jammed up, or if something goes wrong inside and students are panicking and trying to get out, they are going to dog-pile into the doors and prevent anyone from getting out. Make them swing outward or don't put any stops on them at all. Also on the doors, put handles on both sides of the doors so they're easy to open. Hope that makes sense, but thats one of the biggest safety concerns I have with this setup. Your stuck in a 5'x10' room with HIGH heat, you want to be able to get out of it fast.
#2: Windows - build your windows with handles on the inside & outside to open them. And make them big. Make them a decent enough size to actually serve for ventilation. The windows in these containers have about enough room for you to stick your head out, but not much else. If you build the windows better, they will help ventilate a heckuva lot better, and could also serve as emergency egress points if heaven forbid you need them. The windows on our containers are only latchable from the inside, and it would be nice to be able to open them from the outside also.
#3: The biggest thing to me is just being able to ventilate the containers during & after training burns. The containers build up a TON of heat, and being able to get that heat out more efficiently would be nice.
One of the good things that they did when they built the burn building was add small vents at the floor, probably 18" long x 5" tall. They are right at floor level on the outside walls, allowing you to wash debris out of the containers when its time to clean up. Pretty smart idea.
Hope these ramblings help a little bit.