Fire Facilities’ training towers may be laddered at any point. The flat profile siding makes it convenient and safe to position ladders where needed. Since the siding and trim used in the towers are 18-gauge steel and designed for this use, there should be no concern for damage or overloading. Railings may be used to tie-off ladders to keep them from sliding but are not designed to support the full weight of ladders.
The roof chop-out curbs provided on many Fire Facilities’ training towers afford an easy means for instructing the proper methods of ventilating a roof surface. The furnished curb allows the installation of standard joist hangers, replaceable roof joists, and plywood sheathing. Penetrations can be accomplished with an axe or power equipment, safely and realistically. Training can include precautions in not cutting roof joists, the establishment and importance of wind direction, and the need to identify any overhead obstacles.Most of the roof chop-out props on Fire Facilities’ towers include ceiling framing that permits the installation of a piece of drywall on the ceiling plane. This allows for work with a pike pole after the roof surface has been breached. The roof sheathing, roof joists, and drywall can be quickly and economically replaced for successive exercises.
The many configurations of Fire Facilities’ training towers provide the opportunity for various scenarios which replicate “real world” conditions. It is important that the training officer first considers the actual conditions he wants to train for, then analyzes the potential methods for duplicating these conditions in the training tower.The NFPA recommends all training be carried out above grade. This makes basement advancement difficult to set up, but not impossible. Assuming the burn room is on the first floor, firefighters should start their attack from the second level. An exterior stairway makes this easier and more realistic. This will provide all special conditions associated with fighting a basement fire while remaining within NFPA guidelines.
Fire Department Connection and Riser System
Most of Fire Facilities’ training towers are available with a riser (standpipe) system. This enables the training officer to plan exercises that entail the transport of hose to the upper floors and hook up to the F.D.C. at that floor. Proper connection, hose laying in the stairwell, and deployment can be demonstrated in this scenario.The hose bundles that are normally carried on the apparatus are also tested for completeness, condition, and practicality during this phase. The firefighter will transport the bundle to the required floor, check the outlet, and make the proper connection prior to the attack. Afterward, draining the hose while deployed on the stairs can be demonstrated.
Search and Rescue
Search and rescue exercises may be carried out in conjunction with live fire, artificial smoke, or blacked-out masks. Obstacles such as furniture, both in place and out of place, debris, and general clutter represent obstacles that can add valuable reality. Hazards, such as open trap doors or chutes, pose undue danger to the exercise. It is very important that the areas be searched to eliminate such hazards.
Realism can be maintained by changing the interior layout of the floors by moving and changing the furniture and by adding and moving partition walls. Each time a firefighter enters the structure the interior should be different. While this creates a bit of preliminary planning and effort, the need to keep each scenario unique is very important. Once a firefighter knows his way around a space, he will no longer get the maximum benefit of the exercise.
All training scenarios must include realistic communication, both between firefighters and command. The level of communication expected on the fireground should be used during all training scenarios, including calls for back-up and additional equipment.Face-to-face verbal communication, as well as proper radio procedures, should be monitored and evaluated. Firefighters must learn that good communication helps minimize confusion on the fireground. The combination of speed and accuracy help to assure all point people will have enough information to make logical decisions.
Fire Facilities utilizes a number of confined space props such as elevator shafts and formed culverts, which provide both vertical and horizontal scenarios. Regardless of the training tower used, it is important a contingency plan is implemented to address the unique conditions of working within confined spaces, including disorientation and panic.It is recommended that heat never be included with this type of training. The hazards of confined space rescue need not be further increased by the affects of induced heat.
Training the Officers
Be sure to complete each exercise with a debriefing session either as a group and/or one-on-one. This will emphasize each individual’s strengths as well as areas that need improvement. Be honest in the evaluation. Each member of the department must be capable of completing his tasks safely and efficiently. Every firefighter and officer in the department carries the safety of the entire department.