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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fire Version 2.0

So at work today was the annual ritual of fire extinguisher training. We used to set up cut down 55 gallon drums and put some straw and diesel fuel in that and light it up with a hand held propane torch. People would go at it with live extinguishers with both class A and B items involved in the fire. 

The City proudly announced this time that "Stimulus" money provided the new training tool "free". Well not really, I do have this thing on my pay stub that says Federal withholding, but no matter.

So how was it? Total crap. See above.

When the Assistant Fire Marshall tells you where to aim and sweep at the screen it sorta loses the point of training in my opinion. Lasers in the training extinguishers and a weak pressurized water stream. The only reason we were told where to aim was the fact the extinguisher had to be recharged with water and pressurized air from a Scott air pack. Less time figuring how an extinguisher works for the student and less recharging time for the instructor. It totally left me underwhelmed.


  1. Live Black Angus Steak grilling opportunity versus Etch A Sketch fire. Face it, Steak on the barbie wins.

  2. @Supi- LOL! +1 for you! Another +1 for the Etch a Sketch reference! It was my first laptop!

  3. BullEx also offers live fire training products, including the ITS (Intelligent Training System) and the Magnum. Although the digital and laser-driven training system you reference may have left you feeling "underwhelmed", the BullsEye does indeed provide no-mess extinguisher training (no discharge of dry chem etc. to clean up)in locations where live fire training would be impractical. Yes, I do work for the company, but I'm also a volunteer firefighter so I've seen live burn training go wrong. The BullsEye is cleaner and safe for any age bracket. The ITS and Magnum are propane fueled for live burn evolutions that the instructor can ignite at the click of a button.
    I'm just sayin....
    Here's the link to the live burn products:

  4. What a ridiculous thing. Real fire and more importantly, the real noise and blast and foam are the best learning tool.

  5. @Mel- Thanks for commenting. The BullsEye does leave a significant amount of water if you are training 100+ people, but I will let you have that one.

    I can see where it could have its uses, I did not leave a subjective analysis of the device for what it is and does, I left an emotional one. It is NOT you putting out a fire. Yes the unit performed within design limits and seems to be well made. I got to run the controls for 30+ people as the Fire Marshall was short handed. I hope you can concede that shooting a water pistol like stream of water is in no way like discharging a CO2 extinguisher.

    Again thanks for commenting!

  6. In the Navy, damage control training consisted of putting six of us in a sealed tank and opening a valve on a 4" pipe with a hole in it. Our job was to close the hole in the pipe before we drowned. The instructor assured us that they had plenty more like us coming along behind, and that we really couldn't count on him closing the valve before the tank filled up. Simple. The point of the exercise was to teach cooperation and focus under stress. If they used a simulator for that kind of training, there would be a lot more ships on the bottom of the ocean.

    Similarly, aviation types had to do a firefighting exercise that involves dousing a tank of burning jet fuel. It requires four men to hold the hose down and apply the high pressure foam. None of them had eyebrows and most of them had second-degree burns on their faces and hands. Once again, cooperation and focus under stress. I dare anyone to find a simulator that can accomplish that.