CLEVELAND, Tenn. - Bradley County Fire & Rescue officials say the department's firefighting training center is about to take things to another level.
In a recent meeting, Fire Chief Troy Maney discussed the center's upcoming improvements with county commissioners.
"[This] will put us where we can do state-certified training for Firefighter II [certification]," Maney said. "So instead of sending somebody out of town, we'll do our own here."
When the improvements are in place, scenarios involving pit fires and coordinated interior attacks can be held, which are key to Firefighter II certification, said fire inspector and department training officer Ronnie Goss.
Maney estimated that the training center, which has logged 6,105 hours of use, probably has saved the department $14,000 that would have been spent on out-of-town Firefighter I training, gas, food and lodging.
The training facility, located next to Fire Station 12 on Dalton Pike, now offers structural "live burn" scenarios that use converted metal cargo containers as well as outdoor scenarios that involve a Volkswagen car shell and a Dumpster.
By the time the center's next phase of improvements is completed by midsummer, the stacked cargo containers will be able to function as a model multilevel apartment structure or a double-wide mobile home, Goss said.
A series of hinged doors within the containers will allow instructors to create different sizes, shapes and layouts, he said. Stove props and balconies will be included in the structures, he said.
Goss said the site also will benefit from a new 100-foot-long concrete pad that will provide a central platform for firefighters to tackle tank, car and Dumpster fires.
The training center is intended to improve firefighting skills, build teamwork and save money, he said.
"It's one thing to know how to fight fires, it's another thing to do it," he said. "Live burn training reinforces classroom lessons."
Goss said working together as a team is essential for the firefighters. Each firefighter has to read his partner, and they have to be certain of what their actions need to be, he said.
Being able to conduct certified training within the department is a must, Maney said, citing the addition of 40 firefighters to staff three new stations that went into operation last July.
Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at email@example.com.