My dept is conducting a live burn in a couple of weeks. we follow 1403 very strictly and have a burn building that we burn in. i just wanted to make sure everyone was on the same page when we burned. so i wanted some tips on what our ff's needed to be telling the students. this is a rookie school that we are conducting the burn for....i think all of our instructors are capable of managing there groups and doing a good job but just like a little advise from outside of the dept!! stay safe!!
Have them pay close attention to the instructors, and when they say lets go and get out they need to listen and move just in case something was to go wrong. other than that, make sure you have an expirenecd person on the pump panel and radio contact with the instructor inside.
Don't try to make the fires realistic. Real fires injure and kill firefighters. You need to give the rookies time to get adjusted to the visual impairment, the look of smoke banking down, what the fire looks and feels like as it builds up, and why it's important to maintain the thermal balance when doing direct attacks from inside the fire compartment. Remind the other instructors that the class isn't about our egos, its about making sure that there is a safe and proper learning environment.
Make sure that there is a safety officer, and put a can man inside with the ignition officer to keep the fire under control if the rookies are a little slow getting their line on the fire.
Even before the students go in be sure that they can leave the SCBA on until they come out. Some people will say " I have not got a fear of small places", and some even get defensive about it. But be sure that there has been enough practice with the SCBA so there will not be any casualties. Oh and of course, be sure to listen to the instructors, no horseplay!
When I was in fire school, during our first live burn, they had us sit in the room next to the fire, and just feel the heat, and take it all in. They also had us do t's z's and o's with our fire streams onto the ceiling to help learn to control. There are so many things you can do. My favorite thing, weirdly, was sensory overload. We we were told that we had a basement fire(which was the burn buildings 1st floor, with all doors & windows closed) and the only way to get there, was through the first floor, but the stairs were burnt out (we had to ladder the A side and go over the railing). BUT our instructors were throwing commands at us left and right, giving us tools, asking us if we were supposed to be doing what we were doing, basically just sensory overloading us and pushing us to our edge. Now if its the first live burn, I wouldn't do it, but I learned more in that 20 mins than I did most of the class.
All that I can say, is follow 1403 to the letter, provide for safety at every turn. And conduct wet drills before actual live fire training with all personnel including instructors to make sure everyone is on the same page it will make sure that the training is as safe and as informative as possible.
I think communication is key. Make sure everyone has a written copy of rules, burn plan with equipment, dual ater supplies and other required resources identified and scenarios in hand before you start to do anything. Stick to your plan and don't try to "wing it" It will bite you if you do.
Don't try to make it "real" That's a sure path to problems.
Let the students see fire behavior before you do any fire attack. Let them watch a small fire develop and talk them through it. This lets them see what you have been teaching in the classroom and it also is a lower stress way to let them practice on air but without any real expections for them to do anything.
Don't let anyone use this as some kind of hazing activity. Make sure everyone participating understands that this may be very stressful for some students.
Make sure you have as much duplication of resources as possible. This will be the time radios go dead, SCBA break and someone forgot their hood. It's just the way training works. Plan for it.
We enter our new firefighters into our accountability system on their first day of employement.
We require that everyone place themselves in the passport system as soon as they report for work each shift. Accountability is additionally verified at the Command level by the IC at every working incident and by the Drillmaster at every live burn.
when we did a live fire training we had three hoses on the carried in and two out side charged ready to go if needed.
we only had one room on "fire" hay bail burning in and a dummy in the couner like a passed out person had to protect the person and not steam burn them and get it out side with the instructor in the room to watch us work
1403 to the letter...accountability....small groups...no more than 3 or 4 students per instructor...Lots of Safety personnel standing by with Back-up hose lines (Charged) and a RIT Team (Just in case...)and of course and ambulance manned by uninvolved people....I like the setting of an instructor leading the interior group and another instructor or safety person bringing up the rear...in that way if a person panics there is someone to keep track of them...either direction they will run into someone.....Paul