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Shipping Containers for Firefighter Training

Why are Shipping Containers used for Firefighter Training?

Portable storage containers are ideal structures for fire departments to conduct firefighter training. Shipping containers are highly versatile and customizable, allowing fire departments to stack storage units on top of one another to create any number of unique building designs. By doing this, fire departments can simulate a real-life fire by using modified shipping containers meant to resemble a real burning building. Using shipping containers can train firefighters in crucial techniques such as:

  • Fire growth
  • Flashover 
  • Rollover
  • Backdraft
  • Fire-reduction and rescue technique 


There are many reasons why it makes sense for fire departments to use shipping containers for firefighter training. It’s important for firefighters to experience as close to a “real-life scenario fire” as possible when training, so they’re prepared when the time comes. Fire departments can’t simulate a fire using just any building, as it wouldn’t be safe or economical. Here’s a few benefits in using shipping containers to build custom firefighter training structures.


Using shipping containers for firefighter training is probably the most cost-efficient option there is. Used shipping containers are low-cost to purchase and can be modified in any way the fire department sees fit. A single shipping container can cost as low as $1,000. Plus, the department can reuse each unit several times to make the purchase worth it.

Durability and economical

Shipping containers are made of an extremely durable, weather-resistant steel. They are built to withstand harsh weather conditions – even fires! This makes it easy for fire departments to reuse the same firefighter training structure for many different rounds of training. Plus, using a steel, weather-proof structure like a shipping container is the most economical and eco-conscious option.


Shipping container suppliers can stack and weld containers together in several ways to create customized, multi-story structures. This makes it easy for fire departments to design the type of building that will be best suited to train their fire department. 

Portable and relocatable

Shipping containers for firefighter training are a turn-key solution. No matter where the fire department needs to conduct training, they can have suppliers transport and deliver the containers to just about any location using a flatbed truck. They can also be picked up or relocated once the training is complete. This is ideal because many times, fire departments wish to conduct training in a remote area, as not to harm the nearby environment. 


Shipping containers are considered “safer” structures for firefighter training. They are stationary, self-contained units – even though they are both portable and steel-based. Fires used to conduct firefighter training are less likely to spread when using a shipping container. Most fire training shipping containers also come equipped with built-in safety and control installations to provide the highest level of safety.


Most shipping containers can support various types of fire training, such as digital, gas-fueled, or carbonaceous fires. This can allow fire departments to train in a variety of different ways or skill-levels using the same shipping container structure. You can also add customized features to the fire training structure, such as forcible doors, panels, backdraft indicators, ventilation, and more.

Size and Layout Options

There are tons of different layouts and designs to choose from with shipping container structures. This way, you can design the structure to cater to your specific fire training needs. For instance, take a look at this sample layout by PacVan:

Source: PacVan

Shipping containers for firefighter training are normally 40-foot containers, but you can also utilize 20-foot containers if you prefer a smaller structure. Many fire departments choose to stack and weld 40-foot containers on top of one another to create multi-story buildings with multiple corridors, rooms, and windows.

  • Stairways
  • Catwalks
  • Balconies
  • Rappel walls
  • Designated burn rooms vs. open rooms
  • Standard or breakout windows
  • Bathrooms
  • Closets 

If you plan to own the structure for the long-term, keep in mind that you can modify it moving forward as you see fit for your fire training needs. Learn more about storage container sizes and dimensions here.

Examples in Action

To get a sense for how you can utilize shipping containers for firefighter training, we have provided a few examples for you to look at yourself.

Compare Prices

If you are looking for a shipping container structure to conduct firefighter training, be sure to check out our Cost Guide for shipping containers.

We can provide you with free quotes. Our network of top-rated shipping container suppliers can customize a firefighter training unit for you and provide custom quotes. Visit us here to get started.

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