Donated buildings or “acquired structures” are a mixed blessing. On one hand they provide excellent experience and on the other, they are a tonne of work to make them safe enough to use for practice. Many departments don’t use them anymore, preferring to use concrete training structures. Here on Hornby, we have no such structure and are remote enough that getting to an off island facility is often impractical.
After ensuring that the building is safe, we start with a few weeks of practices using theatrical smoke to work on our search and rapid attack skills. Once everyone is familiar with the structure, and we have our apparatus and hose deployment honed, we do several practices where we light and extinguish small fires in the building.
The week before we are scheduled to burn it down we run a few evolutions of attacking a fairly large fire to simulate a “room and contents” fire. It is in those evolutions that we can really exercise our attack skills.
Thanks to Don Peterson for the photos and to Bill and Jae at the Four Corners property for donating this cabin to us.