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With the total number of working fire responses down across the US, it can be difficult to give personnel the experience they need to be effective firefighters and leaders when the tones go off.

How are you receiving your live fire training (if at all) and how is it being delivered? (acquired, fixed burn facility, mobile gas trailer, etc)
Do you feel the training is realistic and beneficial?
What do you feel would be more beneficial training?
How often do you get to participate in Live Fire training?
Please include the state in which you participate in this training.

I do not want to create a debate over what type of training is better than another, the safety aspect, NFPA 1403 or other legalities. Rather I am interested in seeing how many states, departments, or local training centers are actually training with Live Fires.

Currently in Oklahoma we utilize acquired structures, fixed burn facilities (class A and gas fired), mobile gas fired trailers and flashover trainers. I feel that the most realistic training we participate in is when we are conducting Acquired structure burns; followed by fixed burn (class A), then the gas fired trainers. The flashover trainers are great for fire behavior and a few other things.

While I'm not the norm in our state, I have the opportunity to participate in about 60-75 Live Burn Days a year with anywhere between 5-25 burns each day depending on the class and facility. My personal opinion is that the more fire I can see in a controlled environment, the safer and more effective firefighter I'll be when I'm on duty. So how many out there are keeping fire in their life?

Thanks,
Brian

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All of the live fire training that we get is in a class A burn trailer. It's provided by the Fire Service Training School (Montana State U extension) and is reserved by any dept that asks for it. We get the trailer once a year, but also travel to other departments when they are using it. We also send people to the Cody, WY fire school to go thru their burn building. Between our department and the places that we travel, it works out to 4 or 5 times a year.
There are a few departments that are getting acquired structures and burning them, and that would be a better way to go, but our department doesn't have that option
Larry,
Thanks for the info. Can you not do acquired structure burns because of deparment policy or state policy?
Brian
The ability for a fire fighter to train in an acquired structure is a great opportunity. Many departments "shy" away from this type of training due to the environmental and safety concerns. Granted, these acquired structure burns can't be thrown together overnight, but with some planning and elbow grease they are worth the trouble. I agree with the flashover trainer as a great fire behavior learning tool also.
Brian,

This is a very sensitive topic for me because I've been a huge proponent of live fire training with acquired structures and Florida adopted 1403 a few years ago. I'm not going to debate the pros/cons here because that's not what you're looking for so here's your answers:

How are you receiving your live fire training (if at all) and how is it being delivered? (acquired, fixed burn facility, mobile gas trailer, etc)

More or less acquired structures have been non-existent for 5 years. We have a county training center that has a "cutting edge" natural gas/class A burn building(2 story) with imitation smoke. All county firefighters participate in two live burns with this structure per year since it's inception in 2005.

Do you feel the training is realistic and beneficial?

Realistic......not even close! Is it beneficial.......yes. I feel it's beneficial for the basic recruit class without a doubt for training and firefighting confidence but it's benefit for career firefighters is limited. I could discuss this further but you mentioned not getting into the 1403 thing.

What do you feel would be more beneficial training?

Live burns at structures that are similar to the ones that we see working on the streets would be more beneficial. Live fire in a structure that has carpet, furniture, plastics, and all the other materials made from petroleum by products burn much different from class A/natural gas burn buildings. Heat, smoke, fire gasses, and the fire behavior of petroleum by products is what we see on the street; therefore, that's the environment we should train in to effectively train our firefighters! Anything else in my opinion is sub-par and dangerous. In essence we are doing a disservice to our young firefighters and officers training them in a concrete/steel structure with low BTU natural gas and vegetable oil smoke!

How often do you get to participate in Live Fire training?

Answered already...twice a year.

Please include the state in which you participate in this training.

Florida


Post script - I quite jealous of the fact that you're getting that much live fire! Did you have to rub it in like that?
The EPA hoops are a pain, plus the amount of time that it takes to get all the "do not burn" stuff out of the house. Once you have burned through interior and roof supports, everyone is done. Lot of work for maybe two fast reps.
Jason and Larry,
Thanks for the replies. I'm sure there are several more discussions in my questions that can be spun off a little bit later and I appreciate you guys helping me keep it on track. Larry, sounds like you are in an EPA state whereas we report to the DEQ here.
Hi Brian,

In the city, the only live training the firefighters receive is 2 to 4 days in the concrete burn tower during the recruit academy. Several years ago the department did some live fire training in the burn building for "3 company still" responses citywide, but that was it. I just recently helped with conducting live fire training for recruits at the county fire academy, but they also only receive 2 days of live fire training using a concrete burn tower while in recruit school. Currently I'm assigned to the airport, and we recieve 4 hours of live fire training in a propane fired mobile aircraft mock-up trainer once a year, and every three years we are required to receive 8 hours of live fire training using an open propane fueled pit, a propane fired aircraft mock-up trainer and similated aircraft engine and wheel assembly trainers at a fixed base training site. I don't believe we can achieve the same level of realism from concrete burn buildings and propane systems as in acquired structures or flammable liquid fed mock-ups, but my own experience has been that any live fire training is better than nothing. Just keeping up our skills by using full PPE and SCBA, handling hose and equipment, ladders, search and rescue procedures, etc. in a live-fire environment of some type is certainly better than waiting until the real thing hits and hoping we can still perform efficiently and safely.
Nick,
Thanks for the reply. Keep em' coming. So far, what I'm hearing is that they don't get enough Live Fire Training and there could be some improvements in the level of realism.
Hi Brian,

I belong to a dept. that has a fixed class A facility. We burn many times during the year as well as hosting regional classes that our members can attend. The practice is benificial, however, we have found that the realism just isn't there. Advancing hose and searching in PD's is much different than a concrete building. After a couple years on the dept. our members can get through the four story building with their eyes closed and it is hard to set up the tower for your typical PD fire due to the layout and lack of things like drywall, ceiling to pull, windows to break, and lack of kitchens and bathrooms etc...

Acquired structures provide so much more learning and teaching opportunities that they are definately worth the time. In our district these structures are tough to come by. Most of the homes we acquire we use as "chop houses" usually 1-3 homes a year. Permits are a struggle for burning so we go in and tear them apart without burning. Typicaly we use theatrical smoke in these homes and then supplement the burn tower to get our members used to the heat.

I don't think that many depts. get enough training with live fire these days. Mine included. You know the old saying. When you think you know it all....it's time to retire.

Stay Safe

Tom
Tom,
Thanks for the reply. I tend to agree with you but feel like one of the 5% sometimes.
Brian

Tom Londo said:
Hi Brian,

I belong to a dept. that has a fixed class A facility. We burn many times during the year as well as hosting regional classes that our members can attend. The practice is benificial, however, we have found that the realism just isn't there. Advancing hose and searching in PD's is much different than a concrete building. After a couple years on the dept. our members can get through the four story building with their eyes closed and it is hard to set up the tower for your typical PD fire due to the layout and lack of things like drywall, ceiling to pull, windows to break, and lack of kitchens and bathrooms etc...

Acquired structures provide so much more learning and teaching opportunities that they are definately worth the time. In our district these structures are tough to come by. Most of the homes we acquire we use as "chop houses" usually 1-3 homes a year. Permits are a struggle for burning so we go in and tear them apart without burning. Typicaly we use theatrical smoke in these homes and then supplement the burn tower to get our members used to the heat.

I don't think that many depts. get enough training with live fire these days. Mine included. You know the old saying. When you think you know it all....it's time to retire.

Stay Safe

Tom

How are you recieving your live fire training and how is it being delievered?

Our live fire training is 100% through acquired structures. My states fire academy is fairly close and they do have a few mobile burn props available, but we currently do not use them.

 

Do you feel the training is realistic and beneficial?

I feel like acquired structure burns are the closest replication of working fires in a training setting. One thing to remember is that class A burn materials do not behave anything like our modern home furnishings, thus the downside to perfectly duplicating real working fires in an acquired structure setting.

 

How often do you get to participate in live fire training?

It varies wildly. This year, I will have instructed in over 150 live burns - this was an especially good year!

 

Please include what state you participate in this training.

Utah

 

For my department, live fire training is a neccessity. We are an extremely young and inexperienced department. The ONLY way to get our personnel more comfortable and safe, is by constantly subjecting them to a multitude of live fire conditions and I believe this is best acomplished through acquired structure fires.

 

Jake,

 

That's incredible that you have so many opportunities to train with live fire.  Keep it up.  

What type of training portfolio do you keep on yourself and other instructors?  Ie. if you get 10 burns out of one house, do you consider it a single burn or 10?  It's very important that ALL  instructors keep an up to date and accurate listing of all the training they participate in throughout their career.  Not only for acquired structures but fixed burn, gas fired and mobile facilities.  

 

Thanks for the input,

Brian

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