We had an important “first” in Clark County Fire District 6 this week. For the first time since this District was founded in 1954, we staged a training fire in our first-ever training tower.
And we have you to thank for it.
The tower in Salmon Creek was paid for by voters, who agreed that it is a necessity for properly training Firefighters. “This tower makes the public safer,” says Steven Harms of Fire Facilities. “By being able to train firefighters in an accurate fire environment they get better at fighting fire, and everybody wins.”
Fire Facilities builds fire training towers all over the U.S., and provided the kit that was built at Station 63. The steel structure is basically a giant metal erector set, and it can be scaled up or down depending on the training needs. For the first fire, Fire Facilities Trainer Harms showed crews how to quickly and safely start a fire in the “burn room”. This is a unique space, capable of withstanding heat of up to 1,850 degrees. On our first fire it took only a matter of minutes to get the fire to 1,000 degrees. Our firefighters practiced making entry to the room and dousing the fire. Fire Trainers will be able to stage demonstration after demonstration (called “evolutions”) for all of our fire crews.
But the burn room is only one training location. The entire structure is lined with ABS pipe that carries fake smoke from a powerful smoke generator. It uses mineral oil to create smoke so thick that in five minutes you can’t see two feet in front of your face. Unlike “Hollywood fires”, in real life fire creates an incredible amount of smoke, and most times firefighters can’t see beyond their noses. The smoke generating ability to help Firefighters grow accustomed to that challenging environment before they encounter it in real life. This training can save lives.
So don’t be surprised when you’re driving down Tenney Road and you see smoke coming from the beige-colored tower. It is a fire for sure, but it’s one that is not only purposeful, but crucial for us to better protect you.