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Firefighters go on the 'Attack' thanks to new training equipment

One of the new ‘Attack’ containers

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service has invested in two new ‘Attack’ containers to improve the ‘real fire’ training it provides its firefighters.

These 40-foot converted shipping containers allow for Fire Behaviour Training (FBT) exercises to be undertaken in bespoke “outdoor classroom facilities” by operational firefighters to ready them to protect the communities we serve.

FBT has been undertaken by Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service since 1997 and these two new containers will enhance the exercises by “reducing the risk to operational staff”.

Without these training facilities, firefighters would not be able to gain a full appreciation of the inherent dangers associated with compartment fires within a realistic setting.

Station Manager for Learning & Development Lee Chevin

Lee Chevin, Station Manager for Learning & Development, said: “In essence, FBT training is conducted in an outdoor classroom facility which is made from shipping containers designed to a bespoke specification. These containers allow our FBT instructors to deliver ‘real fire’ training to our operational firefighters.

“Such training is significant in reducing the risk to our operational staff. It allows them to experience live fire training scenarios in which they can then apply the necessary firefighting skills and techniques to control compartment fires.”

There are three types of FBT container. Firstly, there are ‘Demonstration’ containers which allow firefighters to observe how fires develop. The ‘Attack’ containers create conditions that are conducive to ‘flaming combustion’ within gas layers. And then there are ‘Window’ containers which generate the backdraught phenomena of blazes. These are all fitted with numerous design features including hand-controlled vents, bespoke hinged doors and temperature monitoring systems. These allow FBT instructors to constantly evaluate and control the internal conditions the firefighters are facing.

“The continued use of all FBT containers is essential in supporting the development of firefighter safety,” Lee continued. “As well as recently investing in two new 40-foot ‘Attack’ containers, our investment continues into 2021 where we plan to provide a new ‘Demo’ and ‘Window’ container at the Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service FBT site at Headquarters in Stone.

Firefighters in action

“The acquisition element of ‘real fire’ training will be carried out within these facilities and will support the overall long-term plan of improving the quality and effectiveness of hot training for our operational staff.

“Without these training facilities, firefighters would not be able to gain a full appreciation of the inherent dangers associated with compartment fires within a realistic setting. The procedures and extinguishing techniques required to safely deal with potential flashover and backdraught conditions are an essential aspect of dealing with the dynamics of structural fires.

“As the organisation and the sector evolves, and as our transformation work seeks to identify efficient ways of working, it is important we provide appropriate facilities that ensure we can train to be safe, effective and compliant with national standards.”

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