Whether you are a career firefighter, volunteer firefighter, company officer, instructor, training officer, chief officer, or whatever your title or role may be; if you have been tasked or assigned to be an instructor in a training exercise that will involve live fire, you have a responsibility to the people you will train, lead, or supervise to have the proper knowledge, skills and abilities. These responsibilities come from a number of sources. First and foremost, there is the moral obligation that comes with putting people in danger. There are also legislative responsibilities, which could be national industrial standards, state laws, local codes, and even the possibility of criminal charges for acts that could be considered malicious or negligent, not to mention specter of a civil law threat.
You know that history shows that firefighters and students learning to become firefighters, have died or been severely injured during these live fire training exercises. However, you also know that firefighters who don’t possess the knowledge, skills and abilities to perform the job effectively are a danger to their fellow comrades. You also have your peer pressure and superiors’ pushing you to make sure that the drill is “real”. They want to make it worth their time so the rookies can “learn something from it”.
So you have to achieve a balance of risk in training versus the risk of not having that training. NFPA 1403 was designed to set standards on what should be done to mitigate those dangers and that risk. The International Society of Fire Service Instructors (ISFSI) has designed a Live Fire Instructor credentialed training program designed to teach you how to meet the standards while preparing firefighters through the experiences of live fire training, in permanent live fire training props. For more information contact ISFSI.