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.
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.
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.
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,