Burn Week, part 2: external sites.

DSC_9898 More complicated than an 8th grade field trip; did everyone remember to bring their permission slips?

Now is the week when we do some real burns. Our Class A building yesterday was at the Loudoun County, VA Fire/Rescue Training Facility (a fun flashback from the past: my first EMT training was at the same facility, and yesterday was the first time I'd been back to it in almost six years. The upper/adminstrative building was essentially unchanged, but they had since built a new burn building over their expansive training compound.)


Each engine company was assigned an instructor to go into the building, and we spent our day rotating through the various rooms that were filled with pallets and hay.


I heard that some of the rooms were pretty rocking, but I was unfortunately at the back of my rotation and didn't see much of the fire (I spent my time in the building following hoselines and humping extra line up to my nozzleman).

An interesting feature of Class A buildings is the addition of "space tiles," or a repeating pattern of ceramic plates that cover most surfaces (usually the ceilings, sometimes the walls) of the burn rooms; they reflect and trap the heat to get the enclosure as hot as possible.



Wednesday's burn will be at MFRI (The Maryland Fire/Rescue Institute) in College Park, MD; pictures and stories of me (finally) on the nozzle to follow.

1 Comment

  • Bill Glover says:

    My name is Bill Glover, President of High Temperature Linings, the manufacturer of the structural lining system you reference at the Loudoun County Live Fire Training Structure. Coincidentally, you will also find our system installed in the MFRI buildings, and in Washington D.C.'s new Class A structure.
    Contrary to your statement that the "space tiles" ….are there "to get the enclosure as hot as possible", please be corrected to understand that our objective is definitely NOT to get the space as hot as possible. In fact, the objective is to simply protect the structural components of the training structure from the heat and thermal shock associated with live fire training.
    It is absolutely imperative that all live fire training officers understand that fire loads and numbers of evolutions must be controlled so that burn rooms do not become overheated. The purpose of a burn building is NOT to replicate conditions found in actual fire ground fires. That is simply impossible. The burn building is not combustible; and you can create conditions in burn rooms that are worse than you will find on a fire ground. Simply put, if the same conditions existing in a house fire, the house would not be there.
    Burn buildings are intended to be used to train and practice tactics and skills associated with incident command, VES, laddering, advancing hose lines, and finally some nozzle work and suppression. But that last part is only about 10 to 20% of the intended training. Burn buildings are not intended to expose firefighters to "the hottest environments possible". To do so is unnecessary, dangerous, and in many cases, just plain wrong.
    All training divisions should follow the new standard operating procedure requirements to control burn room environments, found in the 2012 Edition of the National Fire Protection Association's document 1403.
    Please see my blog at http://www.firetrain.com/blog.

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Alex Capece

Washington, D.C. Firefighter and Paramedic

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