View Full Version : First time in a burn building this weekend...what should I expect?
I am attending a structural burn class this weekend. I would think they review at least some of the first day, right? Do the instructors generally try to find out how much experience people have so I don't end up in some critical position my first time in the door and I get to learn a bit from watching others? I just don't want to make an ass out of myself in front of 20 seasoned guys because I don't know what I'm doing. Sure I've read the books and discussed it, but this will be my first time applying all the ventilation, forcible entry, hoseline selection and advancement, staying low, reading the smoke and fire, and extinguishment techniques all together.
Dont let your pride get you killed, if you dont know what you're doing dont be affraid to ask someone for help. Remember a bad choice can be perminent if it gets you killed, if you ask for help no one will look down on you, they know you are new. Which would you rather experience, dying in a training fire becouse you didn't want to swallow your pride or ask a question and get the right answer. I suggest you pack up with someone that has a lot of experiance, If you can get on a three man team and go in last just watch and pull hose. As you watch them you will see what you need to do. Now that I'm done with my lecture.
Things to expect are:
You can not see at all
It will be hot
You will be tired when your done
You will suck your tank dry alot faster than you think you will
after your gloves get wet you will hate them
You can't hear, or talk clearly while wearing a SCBA
You will become very aware of the stupidity of others
Your knees will be sore, sometimes blistered
Things will fall on you, sometimes it hurts
It is hard work
You will love every minuit of it
Things to remember are:
Be aware, look around, know where emergency exits are(windows)
Be Prepared, take tools with you (I like a flat head axe, a halagon bar, and a box light)
ALWAYS KNOW WHERE YOUR PARTNER IF, YOU DO NOT LEAVE THIS PERSON
Air Horn Blasts mean get out
Activate you PASS Device, know how to activate it with your gloves on
Wear your PPE, including wet gloves
After your out allow yourself to recover before going back in
I know this is vague and probably doesn't help much but shoot me an email if you have more questions.
If this is an acquired structure (i.e. some old house) that you are going to burn, then you can & should expect a lot if not all of the things that cellison1460 mentioned.
If this is a purpose built training facility, then most likely due to various regulations they will be burning clean straw & pallets or if it's high dollar - they will have a propane burner system.
In the case of the latter, the simulated fire conditions will vary greatly depending on the condition/quality of the facility & the instructors who run it. I have seen these training burns have almost no appreciable heat buildup and near perfect visibility (which is nothing like the real world) to those that felt more like flashover can training (not good for the newbies).
Either way - cellison1460 has given you some pretty sound advise, the most important of which (IMHO) is NEVER be afraid to ask for help or admit your limitations. None of us are Superman (or Wonder Woman to be PC). We all have areas we are weak in. The trick is to work as a team and let my strengths cover your weaknesses and vice versa.
Wish you the best of luck. Have fun but be safe.
Clyde, where ya going? I've been through HACC's burn building 2x now. Expect much of what was said above, although not likely much stuff falling as it's a fairly controlled environment (much as possible anyhow LOL). They use hay bales and pallets for burning. Only things I would add are - #1 pay attention to everything and remember as much as you can, #2 listen to the instructors carefully, they're there for a reason, #3 have fun. As mentioned, don't worry bout asking questions that you may have...JUST ASK THEM! You will not be the first to ask these questions, you won't be the last. Good luck and have fun!
I think everyone has hit the high points, so I'll just plug a few holes...
Depending on the weather and your personal pref COTTON shorts may not be a bad idea to go under you bunker pants, and make sure you bring one or two spare COTTON t-shirts. During cleanup a pair of sweats that you don't mind getting dirty can be nice (if appropriate), esp if your gear is wet/extremely dirty (pretty likeley).
Make sure you drink plenty of water beggining the night before.
ASK as many questions as you think are needed. There is a huge diffrence between academicly understanding fire attack and actually preforming it. The question that you don't ask because you think it is too foolish could have the answer that might save your life. Remember, knowledge is power. Empower yourself.
Bring a flashlight in. Its dark. REALLY dark.
Know what way to follow the couplings if you get lost inside.
NEVER leave your partner, and pre plan with him/her what to do in an emergency.
I think everyone else here has hit the big things, but above all else...
HAVE FUN AND STAY SAFE!!!
You will have a blast, learn alot, maybee make a few minor mistakes. If you do make a mistake, learn from it. But just HAVE FUN!!!
The hose line is your lifeline. It will be dark, hot, noisy and very different from anything you have experienced before.
Learn to read the male and female couplings of your hoseline by feel. Remember the female is toward the fire and the male is toward the water supply. Know which way is toward safety. If the hose goes limp from lack of water pressure, that's a bad sign. Start out.
DO NOT let go of the hose. You can become disoriented very quickly. Keep tract of your partners. If you have a radio, listen to it. If you are not the one with the radio, stay touching someone who does.
Enjoy yourself, Stay safe. Let us know how it worked out.
So was it today? If so how did things go?
I would say that was the most fun I've had in training so far. I went to a burn building near Allentown (Whitehall Township I believe). I went in three times, one with the engine company and twice as the simulated truck company. I really wasn't as hot as I was expecting except in the fire rooms. It didn't get too smoky either. I made some mistakes, but training is the place to make them. When my team gave me the nozzle to put the 2nd floor fire out, I didn't check the pattern. It wasn't a wide enough fog to give everyone steam burns though. The first time on truck company I did a primary search but my partner and I started inside the door instead of going to the fire room and working out. I did it right the second time though. ;)
I'll have to burn again when I take Module D at Hacc (the Essentials broken into 4 separate classes). I'm looking forward to it.
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