Manufacturers Roundtable: Firefighter Training Facilities

Firehouse Magazine recently asked a sampling of manufacturers of firefighter training facilities to participate in a roundtable discussion focused on issues such as ways in which their facilities help firefighters meet their training goals, after-the-sale...

While there are no more federal grants or "free" money for building fire stations or training towers, there are grants for equipment, programs and even vehicles if the client can show their need. We also know that there are many qualified experts in the field of grant writing and finance consulting that would benefit the Cities and Districts we serve. Just as TCA is an expert in our field of fire service and training facility design, we feel using experts in the fields of finance and grant writing have proven to be the most successful for our clients.

Funding is always going to be a challenge, and grants are becoming more scarce. To get the most out of what monies are available, the Fire Service industry as a whole is going to have to look towards specialty grants for equipment or energy related grants which can save them money from an operational perspective down the road. There are many professional grant writers available who track grants through data base services. We strongly recommend picking up the phone and giving them a call. Some have very high success rates.

Temperly: At TSG we can provide assistance to fire departments with the grant writing process as well as providing plans, specifications and pricing for a facility design to meet any of the grants requirements. These grant opportunities change from year to year and from state to state but we are prepared to lend all of the assistance needed for a department to make a proper application.

Further assistance is offered by providing facilities that are specifically designed to be built in phases. We will take the final layout for the completed project and design it so that it can be constructed in as many as four phases where each individual phase provides a usable training platform. This enables the departments to budget construction as money is available. It also provides the ability for the department to qualify for grants that only apply to expanding existing facilities.

Since our structures are made in the USA and we are a 100% veteran owned company we can qualify for certain federal grants having special restrictions on the products being purchased.

Jahnke: WHP's representatives bring a wealth of knowledge (gained from over 600 projects) about creative ways departments can fund training structures. Whether its grants, lease purchase, collaboration with local educational facilities, collaboration with industry, funding through municipal bonds, etc., WHP can help guide departments through their options. Additionally, we can help departments articulate the justification for a training building in their community

Firehouse: What new technologies in materials or construction techniques do you use in building your facilities and how do they enhance your product?

Egelin: With constant advancements in technology, Fireblast continues to extend the functionality of each design. Fireblast live fire burn props include three dimensional fire progressions. Props provide a flame spread to various areas of the prop or extension to other props in the burn room. Fire growth is controlled utilizing a variable control Mobile Touch Panel that creates realistic fire growth from incipient and extends to a free burning fire. Ranges of fire growth and spread are manually controlled by the operator with a range of flame height left only to the imagination while automatic safety devices monitor room and prop conditions. Safety devices are interlocked to fail safe automatic shut down and ventilation.

System tracking is a critical element for longevity of any purchase. The ability to view system history of internal functional components can assist in preventative maintenance procedures by providing a proactive approach instead of a reactionary approach to serviceable items and safety devices. Fireblast includes, with each live fire training unit, an extensive data tracking and monitoring system. The data tracking system includes functional run timers and counters for each device, an ongoing active log of current events and a history log of past events, including operator information and functions performed throughout the training exercise. The information is stored internally and can be viewed from the operation screen at any time. Additionally, a member of Fireblast through the FireCare program or system administrator can download the information and view the extended data in an Excel format.