How do you best train firefighters to tackle live fires? Burn a house down.

Hawke's Bay firefighters will be doing just that in Napier on Saturday - but station officer and regional trainer Chris Kennedy said it's a planned exercise and every vital safety precaution has been taken with no need for residents to be concerned.

"The exercise in Ahuriri on Saturday is critical for volunteers who will eventually be faced with the real thing," he said.

The roads surrounding the property will be cordoned off with diversions in place and Kennedy says no other neighbouring houses are in any danger whatsoever.


"There's no asbestos in the house, it's completely empty and fire crews will be on site at all times monitoring the exercise. We cordon off the area so no one can get close to the house and there will be detours put in place to ensure public safety.

"We just take so many safety measures so there's really nothing that members of the public need to be concerned about."

Major checks have been done on the house to make sure it would not pose a health hazard but its exact location could not be revealed due to a risk of vandalism in the lead-up.

"The house has been donated to us and there will be a total of 32 students (28 volunteers and four career staff) taking part in the exercise. We will be burning the house down within the period of the whole day, so we'll be lighting it and putting it out as the day goes on."

Kennedy says volunteers will work in pairs and enter the house three separate times during the day for a duration of about 20 minutes per exercise.

"We'll start off with a few basic fire developments and then the next time they go in the fire will be more advanced. We'll be teaching them different tactics and different ways to deal with structural fires.

The last exercise will mirror what it would really be like turning up to a well developed fire, so they'll be containing the fire and then they'll put it out."

Kennedy said while the exercise was for fire crews, he also encouraged members of the public to practise their own safety drills when it came to fires.


"Check your smoke alarms are working, if you don't have them, buy them. It's also really important for families to practice fire drills. Make sure you know all your safety exits and make sure you have a safe meeting place, these are messages we try to push all year round - it's just really important for everyone to have a plan in place when it comes to fire safety."