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Your questions answered: Simple ways to exceed NFPA 1403 for live-fire training

Detailing live-fire training options and requirements, from medical monitoring to decon to water supply and beyond


Battalion Chief Jake Barnes expands on his live-training webinar appearance with answers to several relevant questions from the event’s attendees.

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By Jake Barnes

Live-fire training can intimidate some fire departments that worry the NFPA 1403 requirements are too rigorous to meet without exorbitant costs and effort. But as Battalion Chief Jake Barnes and Captain Gil Pedroza explained in a recent FireRescue1 webinar, there are simple ways to not only meet the NFPA 1403 standard but exceed the standard to heighten safety for the students and instructors alike.

The webinar detailed useful steps and tips for enhancing live-fire training, focusing on factors like ALS transport, hoseline deployment, water flow, interior and exterior safety officers, among others.

Webinar attendees asked several relevant questions during the event, which Chief Barnes has answered below.

[View the on-demand webinar here]

NFPA 1403 Related to multiple evolutions, does this mean that each of the two-member team shall be replaced during each evolution?

Technically, yes. I assign one instructor to each company, and that instructor stays with the company the entire time on the drill ground. They will go through all the duty assignments (fire attack, backup, etc.).

Will future a future edition of NFPA 1403 require instructors and the in-charge instructor to meet the requirements of NFPA 1041 Live-Fire Instructor and Live-Fire In-Charge Instructor?

They already do. Chapter 2 of 1403 lists other referenced standards. This means they shall be incorporated. 1041 is one such referenced standard.

Can you provide completed burn plans that meet or exceed NFPA 1403 requirements to serve as an example(s)?

Email me and I’ll share some plans.

What are your thoughts for digital 201 forms? Our boss wants the form to be available on the big screen for the students/instructors, yet able to submit/save electronically. Does anyone have an example or suggestion to start this?

I have not used these types before, sorry. The ISFSI has a member discussion board, where I am sure you can get multiple examples.

Is the safety officer last in the go/stop sequence, before the IIC ends with “go” for ignition?

Yes, you always end with the safety officer. However, the go/stop is not part of 1403. It is a solid way to exceed 1403.

Do you recommend medical monitoring before making entry and possible thresholds where personnel would not be allowed to do the evolution?

Absolutely, live-fire training is a very strenuous activity. I would suggest a robust type of evaluation.

Question regarding decon between live burns for recruits: Is it required to do between burns or just after the entire day is done with live burns?

It isn’t required yet, per 1403. I would suggest a field decon when the recruits are done for the day with the burns. Full gear and SCBA.

What is the minimum decon standard?

None so far. I hope they add it in the new edition.

Do you recommend all Fire Ground Instructors have Incident Safety Officer training?

I think it’s best practice, but the AHJ has final say. I have a person I use from time to time who is not certified but is one of the best SOs I have seen.

4.12 question: Does a single engine with a 500-gallon tank attached to a municipal hydrant meet the minimum NFPA 1403 fixed-facility water supply requirements?

Not tech technically, but if you have the backup line off the engine and the attack line off the hydrant (if it meets 95 gallons), then you meet 1403 but don’t exceed it.

Is there any reason not to use whatever team is next as the RIC for the current team?

A RIC team is only required for acquired structures. With that said, I would use it for fixed facility as well. It exceeds the standard and increases the safety margin. If you are doing RIC training with live fire, DO NOT USE LIVE VICTIMS. If you are using a RIC team for safety, don’t rotate them like a functional group. Just have them stand by for safety.

[View the on-demand webinar here]

About the author

Jake Barnes’ career started in the U.S. Air Force, where he served for five years as a fire protection specialist. Since leaving the military, Barnes worked as a firefighter in Lexington, Kentucky, for eight years and in New Albany, Indiana, for 18 years, where he currently serves as Battalion Chief of Training. Barnes is an instructor for the International Society of Fire Service Instructors, teaching NFPA 1403, Fixed Facility and Basement Fire classes, and serves as the host of 3 Point Firefighter, a podcast focused on pride, training and physical fitness.