New flashover and backdraft fire training props added to HACC’s Sen. John J. Shumaker Public Safety Training Center

HARRISBURG, Pa. – The Fire Training Unit of the Sen. John J. Shumaker Public Safety Training Center at HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, has added two new training props – the Drager/Swede Survival Systems Phase 1 Flashover Recognition prop and the Phase 3 Backdraft prop. This equipment will be instrumental in providing the most up-to-date fire training to keep firefighters safe.

These new training props – the only of their kind located in South Central Pennsylvania – allow instructors to replicate two types of dangerous situations in a controlled environment so firefighters will be able to recognize the signs and respond safely.

“The props give us the ability to expose firefighters to two dangerous phenomena, flashover and backdraft, which have the potential to seriously injure or kill them while conducting interior fire suppression operations,” said Randy Padfield, senior education specialist of fire training at the Sen. John J. Shumaker Public Safety Training Center.

Flashover happens when a fire continues to increase in size within a structure, and all the contents absorb the heat. At a certain point, the contents radiate the heat back into the room and reach ignition temperature, simultaneously resulting in the entire room erupting in fire. The condition rapidly develops in new home designs because they are more energy efficient with fewer sources of ventilation.

A backdraft can occur when a fire uses all available oxygen and produces large quantities of carbon monoxide and thick, carbon-filled smoke. When emergency personnel open a window or door to gain access to the room, a rush of oxygen fuels the fire instantly and a smoke explosion can occur, often exploding in the face of the firefighters.

For firefighters interested in training with the new equipment, one-day open enrollment training sessions are being held on Saturday, Nov. 9 and Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fire department training days are also available for departments wishing to schedule a closed session on Saturday, Oct. 26 or Sunday, Nov. 24, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Additional closed training sessions for individual fire departments or organizations are available on a limited basis by request.

For more information about the props or to schedule training, contact Randy Padfield, at 717-780-1968 or drpadfie@hacc.edu.