What value do they bring?
The number of structure fires that each individual firefighter is able to experience continues to decrease. According to the National Fire Protection Association, there were 573,500 fires in 1995, 511,000 in 2005, and 475,500 in 2016. Couple that with the fact most organizations do not participate in acquired structure burns anymore (see “The Acquired Structure Training Effect,” FireRescue, June 2017), and you have a real dilemma trying to create realistic experience.
There are only a couple types of burn buildings being used today, and each jurisdiction makes selections based on a host of variables—one of the most notable being cost. I want to encourage the decision makers to put mission as the number one factor when determining what type of burn building to invest in. In other words, what is it that you are trying to accomplish with the burn building? In previous decades that mission may have been different than what it is or what it needs to be now. With a higher number of actual structure fire responses and the use of acquired structure live burns, many burn buildings were built only to provide a place that reduced the logistical requirements of having to rely on acquired structures, provide a multiuse building that was in the control of the department to be used any time needed, and serve as a place to practice the tactics involved in firefighting.
Has your training outpaced your burn building?
How often does your department do live fire training?
Do you believe that the 'routine' of a burn building negatively affects training?
generally our teams set up different scenarios in the building (obstacles, visibility, rescue)
without the changes routine practice in an unchanging environment will lead to complacency and boredom,
this is detrimental as the responders will not be as alert as they need to be.
our guys are drilled often in readiness, hydrant location, time trials and whenever possible the burn building!
the tri county fire school instructors participate with classes to update training and certifications needed.
we are an all volunteer department!
The problem we are facing is not necessarily the capacity or capability of the building, it is how to operate realistic drills safely and efficiently to NFPA 1403 Standard.