A Burning Question

Man, what a cold morning in the jumpseat.

What is the weakest link of your PPE?

I cannot express the pride and honor I feel when the Twitter conversations happen with the followers of Viewsfromthejumpseat.  Each night it is like texting with 1500 good friends.  The friendships that are developing from it are blessing me beyond words to explain.

I received a call with an invitation to help in a live fire exercise in  Ohio.  First question, would you be interested, HELLLLOOOOOO……Heck Yea!  Second question, when we start.  After speaking with the invitee, I quickly learned that his intentions were in the right place.  Live fire training is not a Helmet Burning Party!  It is a chance to expose students to the fire they do not see in a textbook.  We all know the horror stories of firefighters who have been injured or killed in live fire situations. We should honor them by following the 1403 standard and insure that while feeling some heat is what we want there is a proper way of doing it!

I have shared the experience of firefighters first time in a “live Fire” conditions many times and the reaction can be mixed, to say the least.  Some folks feel at home, while many feel like they are a fish out of water.  The main concern is that they all come out the same way they went in….NOT BURNT!

I have seen instructors who have allowed the students to close to fire and some who do not let them get the full experience of a live burn, so where is the happy medium.  It is fine line we walk when training in live fire for sure.

What should the learning points be?

  • Showing fire behavior
  • Smoke Flow, rate, and color
  • Attack Strategies

All of these learning points can be accomplished without anyone being burned.  Look, with today’s gear we can get closer, hotter, and in more trouble than ever.  It is or job to allow the students to experience live fire with the peace of mind that the instructors are teaching the right way.  It has been documented that your face piece can fail at 350 degrees.    Remember that when you crawl your next hallway, bake at 350 and you may not be there for the next training evolution!

Bunker up, Buckle in, it’s where we all begin!