With that being said, one of the speakers brought up a good point that I can't shake from my mind, therefore I'm expelling it through blog. In many places around the nation there are concrete burn buildings designed to be utilized by fire departments to train their members in the various tasks that firemen will be called to do. The great thing about them is that they can be charged with smoke and burned thousands of times over without subjecting the students to danger of a hostile fire event such as a flashover or a backdraft. This is good. The problem comes with some instructors and how they direct the nozzleman to apply water to the fire during a fire attack. With burn buildings that utilize Class A materials for the fuel (wooden pallets and straw) in the sets it is a general practice, at least from my experience, to direct the nozzleman to simply black the fire out and back the line out of the room. This is bad.
I've been a live burn instructor for several years now. The community college I teach for has one of the largest burn buildings in the nation. I've seen hundreds of firefighters direct a nozzle on a burning set. I've told almost every one of them to black the fire out and back the line out of the room. I won't tell a new firefighter that anymore.
Here's why I've done it (along with many others): When you have a large number of students and every one gets time on the nozzle, it's a pain in the butt to restart a soaking wet set. It's easier to have them black the fire out with a few short blasts of water and then let it kick back up after the line exits the fire room. I've done it because I was lazy, short on time, in a hurry to make sure all the students got their time on the nozzle, and dozens of other bullcrap excuses.
Here's why I won't do it again: For me as an instructor to tell you to do something in training that will get you killed in a real scenario makes me not only a hypocrite, it makes me an ineffective instructor. It goes against everything I believe in. If I tell a rookie to put a few gallons of water on a fire in a controlled building that WILL NOT rapidly progress across a ceiling, rollover, and build to flashover, the I have set him/her up for failure on a true fire attack in an uncontrolled structure where the fire WILL rapidly progress across the ceiling, rollover, and build to flashover. If I tell a rookie to black out a fire and back out because I'm being lazy, have I truly trained him/her?
It's not like what was said today was news to me. I've done it numerous times, and even though I've spent time telling students in the critique, "In the real world, flow the nozzle until the fire is out, but for the purposes of this training we instructed you to black the fire down." I can't sit here and write posts and say things like "Train until you can't get it wrong," but then train people to do things the wrong way. That makes my credibility rating a big fat zero and I can't have that. Whew, I feel better.