The Warren County Career Center Fire Training Center will officially open on Oct. 5. CONTRIBUTED

New fire training center fills a longtime need

Ribbon cutting set for Oct. 5.

After five years of study and planning and months of construction, the Warren County Career Center Fire Training Center, a countywide Fire/Rescue and Technical Rescue Training Facility and Class A Burn Building, will officially open on Thursday, Oct. 5, with a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4 p.m.

The facility is in Lebanon on the WCCC campus.

The community is invited to attend and tour the new facility. This is the first facility of its kind in Warren County. The facility will be used to deliver state-of-the-art Fire and EMS training for the students of the Warren County Career Center as well as firefighters from Warren County and other area fire departments.

We talked to director of facilities Kim Fladung to find out more about the new facility.

Q: Kim, tell us about your involvement in the new Fire Training Center?

A: I began working for the Career Center in December of 2011 as the public safety coordinator for Adult Education. I retired that month after a 32-year career in Fire Service with the Reading Fire Department. As the coordinator, I was responsible for course coordination in all of our fire and emergency medical service classes. The process for the development of the Fire Training Center began shortly after I started with the Career Center, as it was apparent that there was a definite need for a facility on campus in order to enhance and grow our programs.

Q: Can you give us a brief background of how the project came into fruition?

A: Currently, whenever our fire classes need to perform live burn (fire) training, we need to go out of the county to rent other facilities such as at Great Oaks, Butler Tech or Dayton Fire Department. Due to the cost of rentals and the logistics to move our students off site, they were receiving the minimal required live burn training to complete their programs. It was my goal to increase the amount of live burn training for each class and the most cost-effective way for this to happen was to have our own facility. In addition, the Warren County Fire Departments also had to rent facilities and take their departments out of the county when they delivered in-service live burn training. We felt that by having this facility in the county, the area fire departments could provide better training to their members without leaving the county. Once we established the need for the facility, we met with our architects and administrative staff to develop a feasibility study for the construction of the facility. The study was financed through a grant that was received from the State of Ohio Office of Development as well as Career Center monies. Additionally, the study was co-sponsored by all of the Warren County Fire Departments, which have been valuable partners as we moved through the process. Once the feasibility study was completed, the project was supported by our Facilities Committee and it was included in our recent renovation construction.

Q: Can you describe the Fire Training Center: who is it designed for and how will it be used?

A: The Fire Training Center is a multi-use facility. There is a five-story training tower at one end, that will allow our students to train on ladder placement and hose movement through multiple levels. This tower will also be used for rope rescue training from high angles. Attached to the tower is a two-story burn building. This burn area has three burn rooms, which will allow for students and department members to conduct actual live burn training to enhance their fire suppression skills. Additionally, the two-story building has non-burn areas and has features such as movable walls and floor breaches that will allow users to enhance their search and rescue skills. The Career Center provides technical rescue training to the Warren County Technical Rescue Team and this facility will be used to deliver technical rescue training, such as high angle rescue, confined space rescue and structural collapse rescue.,

Q: How is the Chamber and others in the community supporting your efforts? How many fire departments are there in the area that will benefit from the center?

A: The community as a whole has been very supportive of the project. We have several community members representing various walks of life participate on our facility committee, and this project was strongly supported by that committee. Our partnership with the Warren County Fire Departments is very strong and they have been on-board with their support throughout (the process.) We could not have come to the position we are in now with the facility without the backing of the fire chiefs. There are 14 fire departments in Warren County. This facility will also be available to departments from surrounding counties for use.

Q: How will the facility be used to deliver state-of-the-art Fire and EMS training? Who will be able to engage in training? Students, local fire and EMT’s etc?

A: The facility will be used by our secondary and adult education fire students, as well as our secondary law enforcement students. The facility will be open to all surrounding fire departments as well as private industry that could utilize the building for fire brigade and safety training.

Q: Can you tell us about the specifications of the facility?

A: There is a five-story training tower to be used for hose, ladder and rescue work. There is a two-story burn building, that will have two burn rooms on the first floor and one burn room on the second floor. There are also areas for rope rescue and rappelling and well as roof simulators for firefighters to train on open holes in roofs to allow the exhausting to fire and heat from a burning building. The building is located on a 40,000-square foot concrete pad to allow for driver training of (an) emergency apparatus.

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Contact this contributing writer at gmwriteon@aol.com.

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