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Fire Science - Live Burn

Thick clouds of smoke, searing heat, towering flames — firefighters need to keep their cool in the face of extreme conditions. That’s why live burn simulators are vital for firefighters-in-training. Hands-on training sessions with instructors help them gain experience working as a team and handling cumbersome equipment to fight fires.

Until recently, students in Columbus State’s Fire Science program had to travel to the Ohio Fire Academy in Reynoldsburg or to surrounding departments to get live burn training. Last October, the department opened its own two-story fire training lab simulator in Grandview Heights.

The simulator is built from shipping containers and can accommodate up to 20 students. The Fire Science department conducts three live burn trainings every semester, allowing students to practice fighting fires fueled with natural materials as well as liquid ignition sources.

“We want them to experience the heat of battle before they have to go to battle,” said Jack McCoy, assistant professor in the Justice, Safety and Legal Studies Department. “Fighting fires is like going to war — you only get one chance to get it right. The goal is to push the students past their current capacity, to have them experience the heat and confusion in safe training environment with instructors before they go out into situations where people’s lives are at stake.”

Soon, the simulator will have a new home. The Fire Academy and Fire Science offices are moving to Bolton Field, where they are building a new facility. The simulator is being dismantled and reassembled at Bolton Field, and Fire Science will temporarily share space with Aviation Maintenance so that classes can resume this fall.