Date: Thursday, June 3, 2021
Backup Date: Friday, June 18, 2021
The Upper Arlington Fire Division plans to conduct live fire training activities on Thursday, June 3, 2021, at 3333 Kioka Avenue, which is located at the corner of Kioka and Wickliffe roads, immediately adjacent to the perimeter of Fancyburg Park. The City recently acquired this property, with plans to raze the home and incorporate the land into the park, presenting an opportunity for the Fire Division to provide its firefighters with invaluable, hands-on training. Should weather or other circumstances result in a delay, the division has scheduled Friday, June 18 as a backup date for its training activities.
Training under controlled live-fire conditions provides firefighters with many benefits which include but are not limited to: the opportunity to experience heat, limited-to-zero visibility while searching and moving about inside the structure, and the physical challenges associated with operating in a building that is on fire.
Since 1988, the Upper Arlington Fire Division has conducted live fire training on 30 different residential structures. In each case, at the conclusion of interior firefighting scenarios, these structures were burned down to the foundation. Historically, residents have generally been supportive of our efforts, recognizing the importance and benefit of affording Fire Division personnel the opportunity to train under the most realistic conditions possible.
When the division is able to use a structure for training purposes, personnel conduct an extensive assessment to ensure training can be accomplished in a safe manner. This includes but is not limited to:
- Prior site history and use
- Asbestos assessment and abatement
- Ohio EPA Open Burning Permission (specific to an acquired structure)
- Structural stability assessment
- Abandonment of utilities
- Water supply / hydrant assessment for fire suppression
Once the structure and site has been deemed appropriate for live fire training, the following occurs:
- Notification to neighbors in the immediate vicinity, which includes information on:
- The potential impacts of smoke odor
- Traffic and access concerns
- Elimination of hazardous conditions or elements related to the structure and/or site
- Removal of household furnishings, waste and debris
- Air quality index monitoring (Ohio EPA)
What to Expect on Live Fire Training Day
- Firefighters and safety forces personnel will be onsite conducting live fire training throughout the day, from approximately 8 am-6 pm.
- The portion of Kioka Avenue that connects the sections of Wickliffe Road that run south and east of Fancyburg Park will be closed to through traffic from approximately 7:30 am–6 pm, per the map provided here. Traffic message boards notifying residents of the impending closure will be posted in the area the day before training occurs.
- Portions of Fancyburg Park will be closed to the public throughout the day, including the playground, park shelter, shuffleboard courts and east parking lot. Signs notifying residents of these closures will be posted in the park approximately one week in advance.
- During live fire training, you may see and smell smoke in the area for an undetermined period of time.
- Safety is the top priority for this training. All required permits, inspections and safety precautions for this event have been employed not only for the protection of our firefighters, but for area residents.
- Fire Division personnel will be available on site throughout the day to answer any questions related to the training being conducted as well as the services that we provide to the community.
Your Safety Forces appreciate the support of the community in our efforts to maintain the highest level of service through this training exercise. Please contact the Fire Division with any questions regarding how this may impact you so that we can explore options for ensuring your family’s health and safety while allowing this important training activity to proceed as planned.
On the day of the live fire training, if you have any concerns, please report them to the supervisor at the scene of the training, or call 614-451-9700.
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
Can I watch the firefighters train?
Yes, the Fire Division encourages anyone interested in viewing our training operations to attend and we will provide a safety zone for observers – please note that in this instance, the viewing area may be limited. A Fire Division representative is available to answer questions and explain what is taking place.
What is used to burn the structure?
For safety purposes, the only fuels used in live fire training scenarios are natural combustible wood and fiber products—straw bales and wood pallets. Road flares are used to ignite this natural combustible material. We do not use any form of ignitable liquid to accelerate the fire.
Will the structure be completely burned to the ground?
This depends on the training that has been scheduled. Typically, the objective at the conclusion of interior fire training is to then allow the structure to burn completely down to the foundation. When this is the case, Fire Division personnel make sure the fire does not extend beyond the original structure.
How long will the smoke last?
There is no specific timeline as to how long a structure will burn or how long smoke will last in the surrounding neighborhood. Live fire training operations usually occur over the course of one day, with interior live fire operations taking place in the morning and early afternoon. This first phase of training produces varying amounts of smoke that may be noticeable in the immediate area. Once interior firefighting training is completed—and if the end goal is to burn the structure to its foundation—the training strategy is then changed to a demolition mode. At this point, the fire extends into the structural components of the building, eventually resulting in the building being fully consumed. More smoke is produced early on in this phase and may be significant. As the structure continues to burn, the amount of smoke lessens.
Is the smoke hazardous?
The direct inhalation of smoke is hazardous and residents should avoid the immediate area. If you live in close proximity to the training site, and you elect to remain at home, we recommend that you stay indoors with the windows and doors closed. Avoid direct inhalation of smoke and related by-products of combustion. Ensure that your home heating and cooling units are set for recycled air (if applicable). Check the manufacturer’s instructions of your heating/cooling appliances. Residents with respiratory / health concerns are encouraged to avoid the area until the after the structure has been consumed and the remaining smoke associated with the fire has subsided. Any residents with a respiratory condition or other health concern who live in the area are encouraged to contact us in advance to have any specific questions addressed or to request assistance. Please send us an email, or call 614-583-5100.
Why is live fire training important to firefighters?
Providing training within a structure under live-fire conditions is a unique experience that cannot be duplicated using static training props typically encountered at a formal training facility. Introducing firefighters to an environment that more closely resembles the conditions they would encounter in real life situations allows firefighters to experience heat and smoke, and the navigation of building design conditions that are otherwise difficult to replicate.
Additionally, the Fire Division will, on occasion, use an acquired structure to conduct research in conjunction with outside entities. This can include fire investigation techniques, advanced fire suppression tactics and the evaluation of new technology. The goals in these instances are to assess effectiveness specific to firefighting operations and procedures, and to enhance firefighter safety and health.
Ohio EPA Resources – //www.epa.ohio.gov/portals/41/sb/publications/burninghouse.pdf
Kioka Avenue Road Closure Map – //upperarlingtonoh.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Kioka-traffic-plan-06.03.2021.pdf