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Controlled burns are a useful tool for firefighting training and public awareness. They effectively teach the public about home fire dangers and the need for smoke alarms, escape planning, and home fire sprinkler systems.
This type of demonstration is a great example of how communities can make use of homes that are earmarked for demolition. Not only can fire departments use these homes for training and simulation, such as ventilation and rescue scenarios, but they can also use these structures for public demonstrations about the effectiveness and importance of home fire sprinklers.
Here are some tips: work with the structure's owner to acquire the building for training purposes; obtain burn permits through the Environmental Protection Agency; and plan your evolutions by following the guidelines in NFPA 1403, +Live Training Evolutions.+ Here are two scenarios that have worked for us:
Scenario: Unprotected Room
One bedroom in the acquired structure is furnished with everyday furnishings. A fire is lit to simulate a candle fire. It is allowed to go to flashover before suppression forces move in to extinguish it according to NFPA 1403 guidelines.
Scenario: Sprinkler-Protected Room
A bedroom is furnished in the same manner as the other room, but is equipped with a sprinkler system in accordance with NFPA 13D, +Installation of Sprinkler Systems in One- and Two-Family Dwellings and Manufactured Homes.+ A fire is lit to simulate a candle fire and allowed to freely grow until it activates the sprinkler. The training crew moves in to extinguish any remaining flames following NFPA 1403 guidelines.
The objective is to show how the needs of the fire suppression division can be met and at the same time convey the importance of sprinklers to citizens and elected leaders.
Check out the following video for more information:
This post was written by Tom Lia, executive director of the Northern Illinois Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting legislation, raising public awareness, and educating code officials and government policymakers on home fire sprinklers. This blog regularly feature's Lia's perspective on sprinkler activities taking place in his state and elsewhere.</p>