RBOC Fort Markenbinnen is a magnificent training centre situated at a unique location. This fortress in the province of Noord-Holland is part of the Defence Line of Amsterdam and is incorporated on the UNESCO World Heritage Site. An interesting challenge for our team to create an instruction room for the use of portable extinguishers within this fortress’ walls: the combustion chambers.
The combustion chambers are installed in such a manner that the fortress’ character wasn’t affected and in some ways it was even restored. The careful choice of materials has preserved the atmosphere without even undermining the learning and teaching goals that are the original focus of the instruction room. There is a possibility to work with CO2 extinguishers, hose reels and foam extinguishers to fight the various hearths. There is also the option to use an in-house fire alarm system for the trainings.
The training facility consists of three rooms: two combustion chambers and a waiting / instruction room. Through the window installed between the two rooms, the combustion chambers can be monitored from the instruction room, but not the other way around. The combustion chambers offer a variety of training scenarios using the Vesta extinguisher trainer and different Add-Ons. Examples are a scenario with a server cabinet in an office space that can be transferred into another scenario within minutes. This guarantees the student a new challenge for every new visit.
Stimulating every sense
The “KBI”, or instruction room for the use of portable extinguishers, was designed to stimulate every sense in the most realistic manner. In addition to the gas burner system, there is also a state-of-the-art audio system to automatically integrate cries for help, the sound of a fire, and other special effects into the scenario. The intelligent light system adjusts the atmosphere in the room at the exact time, using flashing lights for additional distraction or to simulate a power cut; the sky is the limit. The smoke generators automatically adjust their output to the scenarios’ complexity.
Safe and sound interior climate
Students need to practice in a safe surrounding. That is why an impressive ventilation system was installed. It discharges the waste gases of the gas burners and introduces fresh air. To this end, four air ducts have been installed inside the 2 metre + concrete walls of the Fortress. By applying variable rotational speed and by separating the instruction room and the combustion chambers, the interior climate remains healthy.
The air quality is continuously monitored. The CO levels, LEL levels and temperature are checked in every room. Upon any deviation, the ventilation is adjusted and in the worst-case scenario: interrupted. Of course, an extensive emergency button system is installed and the instructor disposes of a panic button. All these safety measures offer the students a realistic, safe and controlled training environment.
The sustainable design also means that students will encounter new challenges in one and the same training facility for years to come. There are different dilemmas to offer the student, like a victim that is placed in front of or behind the hearth. There is also the choice of extinguisher, prioritising, trying to put out the fire, the hose reel that is trapped around the corners or the fuzzy description of the incident, the alert. These are all issues creating toggling moments for the student. The installation provides an optimal teaching experience for the instructor.
Convenience of control for instructor and administrator
The instructor needs to be able to give the student his undivided attention. This instruction room is designed to help the instructor instruct. Its intuitive control contributes thereto. For instance, the cries for help will no longer sound once the victim is found. The crackling of the fire and the smoke generator are both automatically activated upon the gas burner being lit and the sound of the fire will turn louder as the flames grow bigger. By using these smart functionalities, teaching becomes much easier! A short instruction suffices to start working quickly.
Certain functionalities in the training room can only be controlled with an administrator code: the maximum sound levels, the maximum smoke output and the blocking of certain special effects. This protects the instructors from giving in to their unbridled fantasy!