Training Site Approval
- All fire training facilities used in testing for NFPA certification must conform to NFPA 1402 Guide to Building Fire Service Training Centers and Occupational Health and Safety Act, Regulation and Code (including structures, props, trenches, confined spaces, rappelling walls, etc.).
- Some structures may require an engineering inspection and report, as decided by the authority having jurisdiction (e.g., the municipality). Note that this includes engineered structural units such as sea-cans that have been modified, stacked or otherwise used other than their intended use.
- Training site owners must provide copies of all of the necessary permits (building, electrical, gas) as required by the authority having jurisdiction. Those municipalities that do not require permits for fire training structures must provide a written declaration of exemption.
- Any gas or electric props built out-of-country must be certified for use in Canada and/or the province of Alberta.
- All facilities using live fire must conform to the requirements of NFPA 1403 Live Fire Training Evolutions. Facility owners should be vigilant regarding inspecting for damage caused by live-fire training events.
Acquired StructuresDue to the inherent dangers involved, the Office of the Fire Commissioner (OFC) recommends that acquired structures are not used during an evaluation for NFPA certification. The OFC may, however, approve the use of an acquired structure for a live fire evaluation when all of the following conditions have been met:
- The structure has been modified to meet all the requirements stated in the current edition of NFPA 1403 Standard on Live Fire Training Evolutions. This includes removing all debris that is prohibited to burn (for more information, see Prohibited Debris on the Environment and Parks website).
- All required inspections, permits and other paper work are in order as per the authority having jurisdiction.
- The training host has applied for permission from the OFC to use the structure during an evaluation at least 60 days prior to the proposed evaluation date.
- A representative of the OFC has inspected the structure to ensure it is safe for use during a live fire evolution and meets all criteria of NFPA 1403.
- The training host has submitted a detailed plan for protecting the environment from pollutants released during the evolution.
- The training host has submitted a detailed plan to address the limitations of the acquired structure in regards to a live fire evaluation, e.g., ability to offer an opportunity to retest during the same evaluation session, ability to view/evaluate candidates while inside the structure, special considerations related to the role of the Safety Officer.
- The training host has received written approval for the use of an acquired structure for a live fire evaluation from their municipality or authority having jurisdiction.
Site Inspection and Approval Process
The OFC requires that all training hosts who wish to host evaluations for NFPA certification have their facilities inspected and approved for each Standard/Level. The approval of a training/testing site is valid for five years or until significant changes have been made to the site.
Training hosts who have been approved previously through Lakeland College will be accepted by the OFC as approved sites. These sites will be required to renew their approvals by completing an inspection for the OFC by January 1, 2018.
Step 1: Arrange for a qualified inspector from an external organization (e.g., another department, the OFC) to inspect your site.
- All inspectors must have successfully completed NFPA 1041 Level 2 AND the NFPA Standard/Levels to be evaluated at this site.
- The inspector must NOT be employed by the facility/site owner and is acting on behalf of the OFC.
- The inspection must be conducted objectively and without bias. Evidence of the site owner influencing the results of this inspection will nullify the site’s approval.
- The inspector must consider both the safety and the suitability of the facility for hosting a valid NFPA evaluation.
- The inspector must check the site against all the OFC’s skills sheets for the level to ensure all skills can demonstrated.
Step 2: The inspector completes the inspection and notes any hazards or deficiencies. The inspector then submits a copy of the Site Inspection Report to the site owner to address any issues.
Step 3: Once the inspection process is complete (including any re-inspection required), the inspector sends the completed report and any other related paperwork to the OFC.
Step 4: The OFC will review the package and contact the inspector or site owner for clarification as required. If all requirements have been met, notification of the site’s approval will be sent to the site owner. Allow for at least one month for this review process.
Rental/Sharing of Fire Training Facilities
The OFC recommends that those site owners planning on renting or sharing their facilities with other departments or organizations develop a training and safety program to ensure that those using the facility understand how it should be used and their responsibilities regarding its use. Some considerations include:
- Reporting of near misses, incidents or damage
- Safety officer role.
It is also recommended that training site owners develop informational tools, processes and related agreements to ensure that both the user and the owner understand their responsibilities. Examples of forms used when renting or lending a training facility are available courtesy of the Calgary Fire Department from the Calgary Fire Training Academy.