On Friday 16th December 2011, the French fire brigade of the Val d’Oise department (SDIS95) in St. Brice sous Forêt, officially opened its new fire barrack and technical centre featuring both a HAAGEN fire training building and a Phase® 2 container live-fire training system. Invited dignitaries at the opening ceremony included President of the Board of Directors, Mr. Arnaud Bazin, Director of the Cabinet, Mr. Gilles Prieto and fire brigade officials Colonel Jean-Yves Charlot and Lieutenant Patrick Coubriche.
Unique in France
Recognizing that their firefighters needed better hands-on training, the fire department of Val d’Oise wrote a European call for tenders to build a fire training facility. HAAGEN, globally recognized as the leader in advanced custom training products, was selected to custom-design the building. HAAGEN closely collaborated with fire brigade officials and the project team to ensure that all required specifications were met for the fire training tower and simulators. HAAGEN broke ground on the construction and installation of the facility in April 2010.
The facility is unique in France due to the large number of different training scenarios. For example, the three story building encompasses a basement parking level, multiple live-fire simulators and occupies a footprint of 3500m2.
Several fire scenarios
The training building features numerous fire scenarios, including:
- A basement parking level that features a car fire, container fire and a wall fire simulation;
- A corridor with a special effect that simulates the smell of fire;
- A kitchen on the ground floor where fire escalates with a grease explosion and a flash-over;
- A staircase fire;
- A window fire on the second floor;
- A roof fire, with dense smoke, on the third floor.
Safe, realistic, hands-on training is a priority at HAAGEN. All of the training scenarios and live-fire simulators are instructor-controlled with an advanced custom fire systems control panel. Additional safety features include an integrated CO detection system and closed-circuit monitoring systems. Each live-fire simulator features a remotely-controlled emergency stop switch to further enhance the safety of the trainees. For the visualisation of the furnaces, there is a SCADA system (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition) installed.
PHASE ®2; the first container
The fire brigade requested additional exterior training opportunities, so HAAGEN installed the first Phase®2 container live-fire training system on the European mainland. Jac Haagen, Managing Director of HAAGEN said, “A firefighter wants to train as realistically as possible and preferably with real smoke and real heat. HAAGEN custom- designed the PHASE ®2 to make training with wood burning fire safe and environmentally friendly”.
The Phase® 2 is a self-contained training environment constructed around a fire pit that features a clean-burning gas ignition source and wood -fueled flames. The instructor can ignite the fire at a safe distance. If the fire is out, the flames can be rekindled as a gas-fueled fire without the addition of fresh wood. The PHASE 2® system manages the smoke bank-down levels and produces only clear-air exhaust with the integration of an afterburner system.
The Phase®2 consists of a 40 foot and two 20 foot containers, a technical room with burner and a control room. One of the containers features a gas fire to ignite the wood. A second container is designed as a practice room containing a frame for burning wood panels. The Phase®2 and the modern training building will enable the French fire brigades to train firefighters to respond and protect one of France’s largest regions safely and effectively.