Fire Facilities training buildings require minimum maintenance on a regular basis. For routine upkeep, an inspection schedule must be developed and conducted regularly. The frequency of these training building inspections will vary depending on the training schedule and the severity of the scenarios.
Training Building Visual Inspection
A basic visual inspection of all Westemp® panels should be performed following each day of training. The purpose of this inspection is to ensure the panels are in good condition and have not been damaged. Any panels that are punctured or cracked all the way through must be replaced prior to the next burn exercise. The temperature monitoring system should also be checked at this time to assure it is working properly. Install fresh batteries if necessary and confirm that all thermocouples respond properly.
Clean and Lubricate
After each training day in your training building, clean out all left over debris. Clean out any ash or unburned fuel that may have accumulated on the floor decks. Pay close attention to nails or screws that may be left behind from burning pallets or the like.
On a regular basis (2 to 6 times per year) lubricate all door and shutter hinges with a light film of penetrating lubricant to assure they work easily. At the same interval, clean off any heavy accumulation of soot and dirt from the training building’s vents and fans. Soot does not need to be removed from the structure, inside or out, nor do the Westemp panels require any cleaning. This is a good time to look at the training building’s exterior painted surfaces and touch-up any scratches. The primer on the stairs and structural steel can also be inspected and repainted if necessary.
Inspect all rappelling rings to assure they are tight and that the safety pin is in place. Check to make sure all rings and mountings are in perfect condition. Replace any ring that shows any sign of wear or damage, no matter how minor it may seem. Do not use or even allow a damaged or worn ring to remain in place. Immediately remove any unfit or suspect rings.
Belts tend to stretch after time. They should be checked periodically for wear and tightness. When replacing belts, use the same type as supplied with the unit. Matched belts should always be used on units with multi-groove pulleys.
For belt replacement, loosen the tensioning device far enough to allow removal of the belt by hand. Do not force belts on or off. This may cause cords to break, leading to premature belt failure. Once installed, adjust belts as shown in the “Pre-Starting Checks” section of the installation manual.
Shaft bearings are classified into two groups: relubricating and non-relubricating. All bearings on standard Model CWB fans are factory lubricated and require no further lubrication under normal use (between -20°F and 180°F in a relatively clean environment). Units installed in hot, humid or dirty locations should be equipped with special bearings. These bearings will require frequent lubrication. Use caution to prevent over-packing or contamination. Grease fittings should be wiped clean. The unit should be in operation while lubricating. Extreme care should be used around moving parts. Grease should be pumped in very slowly until a slight bead forms around the seal. A high grade lithium base grease is recommended.
Motor maintenance is generally limited to cleaning and lubrication (where applicable). Cleaning should be limited to exterior surfaces only. Removing dust build-up on motor housing ensures proper motor cooling. Greasing of motors is only needed when fittings are provided. Many fractional motors are permanently lubricated and should not be lubricated further. Motors supplied with grease fittings should be greased in accordance with manufacturers’ recommendations. Where motor temperatures do not exceed 104°F (40°C), the grease should be replaced after 2,000 hours of running time.
Wheels require very little attention when moving clean air. Occasionally, oil and dust may accumulate causing imbalance. When this occurs, the wheel and housing should be cleaned to ensure smooth and safe operation. The unit should be made non-functional when cleaning the wheel or housing (fuses removed, disconnect locked out, etc.).
All fasteners should be checked for tightness each time maintenance checks are performed prior to restarting the unit.
A proper maintenance schedule program for your fire training building will ensure dependable service for years to come.