I am on the local Vol FD and we are going to build a search/rescue maze and implement a smoke machine we got.  I was hoping for some tips on what to include and maybe some design possibilities?  Open to suggestions!!

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i went to one a couple years ago. i was still a JR firefighter and it was a great training. it was two stories, about a 20 x 15 building. the walls could move, they had a smoke generator making enoft smoke that you could see your hand in front of your face. each team was givin a senerio radio and an attack line, and also a r.i.t team. it was a geart ecercise. really enjoyed it. i belevie now that the department is making couches chairs table and other items that you run in to in a fire.

I've been through a handful of mazes and they were all different. Here are things I thought were important.

Multiple floors with stairs - Gets guys twisted around and disoriented. Have guys yell out what side (A,b,c,d) they are on.

Tube or tunnel - I've seen many, but the most challenging was one that was not just on the ground horizontal, but pitched up.

Dead ends - Helps with decision making as a team

Wire or String - Practice entanglement. We use old broken X-mas light strings. Drives you nuts!

I'm working on designing one now if you have any questions or input.

Wall studs - Practice breaching through a wall with or without air pack on.

and a thing tht would cut u off u start to go tht way cause u think it is safe so u go but when u get there u are cut of from going back

To add to that tunnel idea. The WA fire academy has one in their S&R mazes that is at a small incline with a diminishing size and a post in the middle towards the smaller end that, depending on which side you choose, can make you have to remove your pack to get through. Gives a nice challenge. Nice idea with the Xmas lights too. I've seen rope, webbing, electrical/cable wire but never heard of using the lights. Bet it works well though.

Yeah, it happened by accident, but if you've ever tried to untangle X-mas lights in the daylight, when you can see and without turnout gear and gloves, it's a pain! Now, add being blind and gear and it's a real challenge. Plus, you can wrap them in and around anything and they will get snagged. This time of year, there's a good chance you'll see them.

Last week we did a downed firefighter drill, used the tree lights and every group got stuck.

Yeah, dead ends or something like that is a great idea. especially with 2 man teams in a single file because it's so narrow. You will be forced to change positions in line and also to redirect your path.

Another thing I forgot to mention is we started making the guys draw what they thought they saw. Everyone had a different picture, so it just goes to show you that this type of training can be useful. I would also advise making your maze with the capability to change walls etc. around so they don't get too use to it.

The maze we have encompasses a one story house with an attic. Also, the walls can be moved so the maze is never set up the same way. The two major items we have, is a ball pit like you find at chucky cheese, which is accessed from a spring loaded walk way. This is for showing falling unexpectedly and also team work. The second is a large tube that is set at about 60degrees, which must be climbed through. We also have it blacked out, smoke, alarms, and people screaming etc. It is quite a trip.

Those are some very interesting ideas. I especially like the falling exercise and was looking for something but couldn't make it safe. I used the same idea for the tunnel. That angle is tough.

We have those features in our FF Survival/RIT maze, but they're not the best for either teaching or reinforcing the basics.

We use old donated electric wire, small ropes, and donated "slinky" HVAC ducting for this.  Our guys have learned from repeat visits to this prop and  now everyone carries at least one cutting tool - most carry two or three.

A seatbelt cutter, trauma scissors, and a pair of side-cut pliers or O-cuter wire pliers are common.

Why not add a few cheap speakers hooked up to a sound system and record things like radio traffic, noises, screams, moans, sirens, etc to add to the realism?

It's one thing to excite some of the senses such as touch, but add in sounds, etc, it soon builds up the realism....

In our maze trailer we have about a 4ft by 4ft hole in the floor. It may be a little smaller but it's to deep to stick your arm down in and feel the floor below. It was actually where a small and short staircase was until someone broke it. There is nothing on the other side to pass over it but a wall. It add a little challenge and thinking to the whole concept. Just a thought, hope it helps.

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