We have been granted permission to use an abandoned house for 2 months for training. One of the stipulations is we need to provide the owner with a "training schedule" So we will have a minimum of 7 training nights at this house. We would like to invite our neighboring departments to participate on a few of the nights.


I am looking for some ideas on how to make the schedule... would like to start with going over the basics and then progress class by class till the end.






The House:


Rural Water Supply Area

Two story


High traffic Area


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I'd start with reviewing the NFPA 1403 standards for live fire training in acquired structures, even if you are not going to do any live fire training.

That standard will guide you on site preparation, ensuring that any hazmat is removed, utilities disconnected, traffic.bystanders controlled, safety issues addressed, etc.

It will also guide you on the qualifications for your instructors, your instructor chain-of-command, and the required student:instructor ratio.

You will need to address a logistic area, porta-johns, rehab, site security when you are off-site, structural soundness re-inspections after you make holes in the building, and consider changing weather.

As for scheduling, I'd suggest no more than 3 or 4 companies (individual rigs with 4 to 6 FF equals "company") at a time to maximize hands-on time and to limit the number of instructors per training period that you'll need.

If you have 3 to 4 companies present, you'll typically need a Lead Instructor/IC, at least one Safety Officer, and one instructor per company.

You'll also need to think about a PIO for the news media and curious neighbors and bystanders.

You'll need to visually identify the Hot Zone, command post, rehab area, parking areas, etc. with signs, fire line tape, etc.

You'll also need to have a common accountability system for all firefighters present. That means providing tags for your mutual aid companies if they use a different accountability system than yours.

It's also a good idea to put up "Training In Progress" signs covering all approaches on nearby streets to make it clear that the scene isn't a real emergency.

The schedule is only one of many considerations for training in acquired structures.
thank you. no live fire drills here... i should have mentioned that sorry.

The signs are a great idea.

Also we are able to breech walls inside the structure however we are not allowed to ventilate the roof. This training is mainly for our dept to help with training. However i was thinking we could invite other companies a couple nights. We are a small rural dept and would mainly be 10-15 members onsite.
teach them the Denver drill its a great thing to learn in the fire service look it up on youtube to see how to do it its a great procedure to learn when in dier need it really helps.
It's nice to hear that someone is generous to allow their fire department to use their personal property for training purposes.

We have a training house for my fire department. As you cannot do a live fire, or ventilate the roof, I'd suggest doing SCBA maneuverability. Using wood and other items, create hazards in which the men will have to use emergency movements.

Also, see if the owner will allow you to use a fog machine of some sort. Otherwise, I'd suggest using paper towels to black out the masks.

Since you CAN break down walls, I'd suggest creating a scenario where members are trapped with no way out but through a wall. Furnish them with an axe and let them go to town.

As Ben said, ensure that the command structure is set up correctly and that a Rehab area is established.
Start with what Ben said. Clearly assess the structure for any potential hazards. In accordance with NFPA 1403, ALL personnel operating on scene need to be given a walk through of the structure.

For scenarios, consider:

Basic hose line advance - Whether or not you can flow water, set up a "fire", whether it's an orange road cone with a light under it, or a flare in a bucket. Have crews advance a charged line into the building, searching to the fire, and knockdown.

Mayday evolutions using RIT/FAST

Loss of water-pumper down/broken hose. Plan in advance but spring it as a surprise, see how quickly your engineer can rectify the problem.
Assign engines to arrive as though on an actual call, with basic info from "dispatch". This allows you to observe riding assignments (if you use them) or officer assignments on arrival, including taking (the correct) tools.
Primary Search(es)

If the house is cleared of all obstructions, see about bringing in items that can duplicate furniture, etc, so advancing the line is more realistic.

Vent Enter Search VES - get someone trained/experienced in VES and teach the skills.

Make a wooden "roof" about 6ft x 6ft and about 12" high and anchor to the structure roof for practice ventilation.

Above all, be ORGANIZED. Nothing worse than everyone diddly putzing around while "training officers" get their shit together. Every evolution, every traning night should be planned out in advance. It's not difficult to predetermine how long each evolution should take. Keeping to a schedule allows for all the evolutions to be completed by all personnel on hand each training day.

If you're going to be breaching walls you might consider additional sheets of sheetrock to close up walls for other evolutions.
Sounds to me like a great opportunity to do some advanced interior search and rescue training. Re-train your guys on mayday procedures and make a RIT team go interior for the rescue. An acquired house gives you everything you need because odds are most of your guys don't know the layout perfectly like they do in a burn building or search building. Use your imagination. If your could get a couple of companies together, do a mock structure fire pulling uncharged lines. Practice throwing ladders on an unfamiliar location. Get your engineers involved with spotting apparatus locations they need, and work on scenarios.

As for the schedule, being selfish, I would take the first few weeks all to myself as a company. Start at the basics (left/right hand wall search, escaping a hostile environment, etc.), and then invite the neighboring districts over and let them have a little fun. The key is to use the house as a learning experience and not turn it into a punishing activity that the guys just wince at the thought of. Have fun with it and stay safe.
Thanks all for the comments. getting a good idea of where to start.
You can also use 4 ft x 4 ft sheets of el cheapo OSB to cover holes for repeat breaching and overhaul ops.
Snake about 300 feet of charged hoseline through out the structure. Black out a firefighters mask and only give him 500 PSI in their tank. Put them on the hoseline in the middle and tell them to find their way out. You will be surprised.
For a few of my department trainings we simulated fire with flashlights in designated areas. Cheap, effective, and safe.
There is so much you can do with a complete structure if possible gets some old furniture to make any search a rescue scenarios more realistic. Manikins dolls tools etc If you have or can get your hands on a smoke machine as long as the structure isn’t too open can also create a more realistic event without having the dangers of a live burn. You can also add sound such as a child calling out from a closet or breaking glass a moan or the crackling of the fire audio players can be placed around the house this is a great tool to train firefighters to listen as they do their search? After ask then if anything and what they heard.
Depending on the number of training staff available you can have a number of different evolutions or training sessions going on at one time ? but this needs to be planned and organized

As for scenarios or training evolutions
Size up. Use toys etc. or whatever to create different potential clues as to what they have got (first company in ) hazards etc. get the guys to read the structure and the article around it. Where the stairs are is there a basement bed rooms etc. A lot can be determined from outside at a first glace or at least give you a clue
Truck placement (Wind direction and exposures and location of fire)
Water shuttle (water management)
Incident command
Entanglement and self-rescue
Ventilation vertical and horizontal
Ladders and hauls (ropes and knots practical applications) roof ladders etc. getting tools etc. to the roof
Search and rescue both occupant and firefighter
Emergency evacuation (three blast of the air horn) everyone out
Salvage and overhaul

And so much more
We have gone one better when using smoke machines to obscure visions. It's amazing how much a flashlight in a simple traffic cone resembles fire in smoke conditions.

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