Categories: Breaking News, Training
Tags: training

Transforming tactical firefighter training with BeaverFit

Share this content


Fred Walters, Head of Sales at BeaverFit, discusses revolutionary fire and rescue training techniques

BeaverFit is renowned for its innovative approach to tactical training and operational equipment.

Rooted in steel fabrication and manufacturing, BeaverFit has evolved from its UK origins in 1947 with R.S. Beaver LTD to a global leader in fitness and training solutions​​.

Founded on the principles of robust, mission-essential equipment, BeaverFit’s journey began with Tom Beaver’s first outdoor training rig, inspiring a line of products that would revolutionise military and tactical training​​.

The company’s pivotal moment came when it combined its expertise in outdoor training rigs with the practicality of container gyms, catering to the dynamic needs of the British Army and, later, expanding to the US military​​ and fire departments.

IFSJ speaks to Fred Walters to discuss BeaverFit’s specialised role in fire and rescue training, delving into how their unique approach and bespoke facilities are enhancing the capabilities of firefighting professionals worldwide.

Could you discuss the design process for the carbonaceous training facility?

The design process for the carbonaceous training facility began with an existing conceptual design provided by the end user.

Our in-house design team then took over. Our role was to transform this conceptual design into a tangible, buildable project.

This transformation involved two main phases: firstly, working closely with the end user to refine the conceptual design, and secondly, developing a manufacturing design.

Throughout this process, we maintained continuous engagement with the end user at every stage, ensuring their satisfaction and addressing any concerns.

This collaborative approach was crucial because, while the end user had thoroughly considered the conceptual design, there were practical aspects of the build they might not have fully envisioned.

Our provision of a more detailed 3D format allowed the end user to visualise the project better, enabling them to make tweaks and changes as needed.

This iterative process ensured that the final design not only met but exceeded the end user’s expectations, addressing all practical and operational challenges effectively.

What innovative features distinguish BeaverFit’s facility from other training environments?

One of the most significant innovations in our facility is its robustness, especially considering the extreme conditions it must withstand.

For example, the containers in the facility can endure temperatures exceeding 900 degrees.

This is critical for accommodating the extreme training regimes that firefighters undergo.

To achieve this, we designed the panels protecting the containers to be both sacrificial and modular, allowing for easy dismounting and recladding.

In addition to the durability aspect, we’ve integrated various structural features like multiple stairwells and balconies.

These elements add complexity and realism to the training environment, challenging the firefighters both mentally and physically.

The inclusion of unique piping systems also adds to the training experience.

Overall, our focus has been on making the facility as robust and long-lasting as possible.

This durability is a key differentiator, as other carbonaceous facilities tend to have shorter lifespans due to substandard construction.

Our approach ensures that our facility not only provides a realistic and challenging training environment but also remains functional and effective over a longer period, enhancing the overall training experience for firefighters.

How did the collaboration between BeaverFit and Suffolk Fire and Rescue come about?

Our collaboration with Suffolk Fire and Rescue was a result of our previous experience in constructing carbonaceous facilities for other clients.

A key aspect of our approach at BeaverFit is our focus on the end users.

We dedicate significant time to understanding their specific training objectives and desired outcomes.

In terms of design challenges, our flexibility is a major strength.

We recognise that sometimes the final outcome becomes clear only after exploring various possibilities.

This open-minded approach allows us to adapt our designs to best meet the end users’ needs.

Moreover, since we manufacture in-house, we involve the end users at different stages of the manufacturing process.

They are invited to inspect our work and ensure that it aligns with their requirements and is fit for purpose.

This isn’t just a contract fulfilment; it’s a collaborative process.

We maintain constant touchpoints with the end user throughout the build, ensuring a partnership that leads to a facility that truly meets their needs and enhances their training capabilities.

Are BeaverFit’s installations specifically tailored to the needs of each service?

Our installations are predominantly bespoke. While having a standardised product would be ideal, our strength lies in creating custom solutions.

Understanding the process of building a bespoke facility swiftly and efficiently is a significant challenge, but it’s one we excel in.

This expertise is developed through experience, including the valuable insights gained from prior experiences.

Our focus on bespoke designs ensures that we can meet the specific and varied needs of each service, delivering solutions that are as unique as the requirements they address.

How does your facility maintain firefighter safety during rigorous training?

The facility is meticulously designed to meet and exceed the training requirements of the end users, ensuring the safety of firefighters during intense training scenarios.

Through the process, we’ve discovered that the facility allows for a broader range of activities than initially anticipated.

Our goal was to fulfil the initial training objectives set out by the end users, and we believe we have successfully achieved this.

We hope the end users agree that the facility not only meets their initial expectations but also provides additional training opportunities, all while maintaining a high standard of safety for these hazardous training activities.

What opportunities does your facility offer to fire departments globally?

Our facility incorporates certain standardised features that are a hallmark of all our carbonaceous facilities, including robust manufacturing.

The UK fire service, known for its excellence in training, serves as a model for this approach.

This has led to significant international interest, with delegations, especially from the Middle East, coming to train at our facilities. This fosters cross-collaboration in fire service training.

Our reach is global, with facilities provided across North America, Europe, and the Middle East.

One of the key assurances we offer is the consistency in quality and manufacturing standards.

A facility built in the UK will be mirrored in its quality and functionality anywhere else in the world.

This standardisation and quality assurance mean that fire departments and agencies worldwide can benefit from advanced training opportunities, potentially setting a new benchmark for fire training facilities globally.

Can you describe the extent of BeaverFit’s work with the US fire services currently?

We have staff and offices in the US, underlining our commitment to the US market.

Our work in the US primarily involves building facilities, particularly focused on breaching rather than carbonaceous facilities.

Additionally, we supply a considerable amount of physical training equipment to the fire services.

We understand that while tactical training is crucial for firefighters, physical fitness is equally important.

Our role in the US extends beyond the fire services. We are the largest provider of human performance equipment to the US armed forces, and we bring this expertise to the fire services as well.

Our facilities are designed to encourage the use of body weight in training, which helps reduce the risk of injuries.

This focus on strength training is essential, as it is a critical component of a firefighter’s overall fitness and capability.

This holistic approach to training—encompassing both tactical skills and physical fitness—is a key part of our service offering in the US.

What are BeaverFit’s future plans for tactical training in fire and rescue?

A major focus for us this year is on breaching. We are collaborating with top suppliers of equipment to enhance our offerings.

At BeaverFit, we are not just an in-house manufacturer; we also assemble components from high-quality suppliers.

This includes specialised items like breaching doors and other types of training equipment.

Our goal is to integrate the best products from the finest manufacturers into our training facilities.

We are dedicated to creating facilities that offer multiple training benefits, not just single-dimensional training.

Our aim is always to deliver maximum value to our end users.

For instance, a carbonaceous facility might also include diverse training modules like breaching, roping activities, or casualty evacuation.

Our strategy is to amalgamate as many training capabilities as possible into a single, comprehensive facility, enhancing the training experience and effectiveness for fire and rescue personnel.

This article was originally published in the April 2024 issue of International Fire & Safety Journal. To read your FREE digital copy, click here.

Receive the latest breaking news straight to your inbox