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 service, funding assistance...
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Towers can easily be designed to emulate an office tower, residence, warehouse etc. giving the rescuers and their departments a more diverse experience. We have incorporated multi-story multi-scenario training towers that mimic the firefighter’s likely building type they will have to respond to. One side might be residential, the other industrial, the next an outdoor stair tower and the next used for high angle rescue, smoke training or movable partitions and confined space rescue. Through adjustable structural systems, floors can be removed to redefine a flat into an atrium or garden apartment. We have even converted mock crawl spaces into the hull of a ship and incorporated river rescue capabilities and simulated collapsed building walls and bridges within the fire station campus.
We are also seeing the integration of more urban search and rescue props, site rehabilitation areas, outdoor “dirty” classrooms, and shared use facilities such as water utility props, drainage systems, vaults and spill props. These can all be used by other agencies as well for occupational training.
What’s paramount is to understand your local and regional hazards and find creative ways to emulate these conditions into the props. Does a community have bridges? Perhaps consider if there could be one integrated into your facility. If so, can you use it for shoring, load transfers, lowering, creating mock catastrophic failures. Can mock utilities be installed under the bridge, can the bridge be used by other agencies. Working with other agencies is an ideal way to understand their operational risks as well. The possibilities are only limited by ones imagination of real-life training scenarios.
HAJEWSKI: Fire Facilities structures are available with a number of custom and standard features to create a safe, yet realistic training experience. Starting with approaching the structure, the unique siding profile is similar to what firefighters will encounter on actual calls, yet strong enough to allow for ladder placement or rappelling anywhere against the building. Parapet walls and window openings are designed with no exposed fasteners or sharp edges to prevent damage to gear and equipment. Inside the structure, a patented moveable wall system helps training officers to change room layouts and door location to create variety in exercises. Fire Facilities’ Westec burn rooms are built with a patented two-part insulation system, consisting of the insulation blanket and a stainless-steel liner – this system reduces maintenance costs and extends the life of the tower.
EGELIN: Fireblast 451 has a variety of fire training props and equipment representing the most challenging scenarios that firefighters face in emergency response. All Fireblast training equipment is designed utilizing the most current codes, standards and guidelines for the selected equipment. We offer an extensive line of fixed and portable training units, including Class A, Class B, special operation, and interior and exterior fixed facility props.
Portable units include flammable liquid and gas, interior live fire, industrial, helicopters and vehicle fire training. Each prop provides unique skill sets found only in Fireblast products. Portable Class A and B interior units include optional multi-chassis structures with rappelling towers, confined space, forcible entry, confidence maze, wall breech scenarios, Denver and Columbus Rescue props and firefighter self rescue training .
Special operation trainers include urban search and rescue, forcible entry, confidence maze, confined space, ventilation, arson and hazardous material trainers. Each prop offers an extensive training scenario format to challenge the most seasoned professional.
Q. Long-term care and maintenance are critical when purchasing a facility of this type. What is your company’s focus on after-the-sale service to end users?
EGELIN: Fireblast team members realize that the value of customer service extends far past the warranty period. We understand that the strength of our future depends on customer satisfaction. Post-purchase support begins with the FireCare program. FireCare provides end users with a direct link to our customer service coordinator (CSC), who will assist in all post purchase needs and be the connection to our technical support representatives (TSR). Each TSR is factory trained to provide prompt and efficient support and respond to customer demands. FireCare offers remote access and diagnostics via internet or wireless control which extend far past typical customer service. FireCare provides Fireblast TSR’s the ability to upload system functions and download program upgrades.