GN Alert Acquires Burn Trailer For Training

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From left (top row): Ex-Chief George Motchkavitz, 2nd Asst. Chief John Purcell; (center row): Firefighter Dave Hertz, Safety Officer Mike Green, Captain Carlos Gallo; (bottom row): Former Chief and 1st Lieutenant Ray Plakstis, Jr., 1st Asst. Chief Steve Schwartz, Chief James Neubert
From left (top row): Ex-Chief George Motchkavitz, 2nd Asst. Chief John Purcell; (center row): Firefighter Dave Hertz, Safety Officer Mike Green, Captain Carlos Gallo; (bottom row): Former Chief and 1st Lieutenant Ray Plakstis, Jr., 1st Asst. Chief Steve Schwartz, Chief James Neubert

While the weather is turning colder, the Great Neck Alert Fire Company is turning up the heat when it comes to training their firefighters in the department’s new mobile fire-training structure, the “burn trailer.”

The burn trailer is a multiroom, multipurpose portable training facility that provides real flames, replicating the effects of a real-life house fire. The trailer maxes out to about 750 degrees, simulating the heat of an actual house fire. Although in a real house, if more than one room is burning, the temperatures can get into the thousands. The burn trailer uses propane, is clean and creates no pollutants or soot. However, for training purposes, it gives the firefighters an idea of what to expect in a real fire.

“The acquisition of the trailer serves as a great training ground for fighting fires as well as conducting search and rescue drills,” said Alert Chief James Neubert. “With the trailer at our disposal whenever we want it, the training we can provide is endless.”

Alert officers and ex-officers took a special course that certified them to train firefighters in the burn trailer.
Alert officers and ex-officers took a special course that certified them to train firefighters in the burn trailer.

The burn trailer is extremely versatile and allows for many different scenarios. Fires can be set to range from a low fire, to a high fire, to a rollover fire scenario. Rollover occurs when the superheated gases at the ceiling level ignite, causing the flames to roll across the ceiling.

All the rooms in the trailer can be reconfigured in different setups, such as a kitchen, bedroom and even a basement. The second story has a balcony, which connects two separate rooms. There are also windows to practice a window rescue or “bail out.” The roof can be manipulated and set on different angles to simulate various types of roof construction the firefighters may encounter. The roof and walls of the trailer can be cut for training purposes and then later replaced for future drills. The trailer is also equipped with a standpipe connection that serves as a training device for commercial and residential application.

While the trailer does a great job of simulating fire and allows firefighters to experience the heat and get in some good training, nothing compares to the real thing. According to Chief Neubert, “The burn trailer allows us to better prepare our firefighters for a real-life situation. It gives them a good idea of what it’s like to be in a real fire.”

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