At the core of any successful and efficient fire protection program is fire department training. Community expectations for delivery services over the last decade have grown to a level never anticipated. Emergency medical services, hazardous materials, confined entry rescue, fire ground management techniques, communications, domestic terrorism and international terrorism are not hypothetical scenarios, but realities. Designing these high risk but low frequency training opportunities into the new fire station is critical to a department’s level of ability to face the new challenges these situations present.
The Five Bugles Design team is a national leader with its innovative approach of incorporating training programs into building design. In our discussions during the initial programming and space orientation phase of the building process we spend a great deal of time talking about the department’s existing training program. We take this time to gather as much information as possible and then offer design solutions that will provide for in-house training. Firefighters will be on hand during training sessions if a major emergency occurs.
One of the training opportunities that we have included in numerous fire stations is the use of a training tower for both drying fire hoses and for practicing in a multistory internal/ external training platform. This design feature may include:
• Orienting the tower to allow access on three sides.
• Windows or window openings with covers to simulate second story ladder rescue.
• An internal stairway to extend hand lines to an upper story.
• A standpipe pump-in connection system on the outside of the tower and standpipe connections at each level of the tower.
• The building sprinkler system pump-in station is also used to simulate sprinkler water and pressure support.
• A lone sprinkler head at the lowest level of the tower to train how to isolate a single sprinkler head while allowing the remaining system to be operational.
• Smoke opening connections on all floors of the hose tower to simulate rescue under zero visibility conditions.
• Repelling tie off connections at the highest level to simulate repelling rescues.
• A manhole on the second floor of the tower to allow confined entry training.
• Window or roof access at the top of the tower to allow firefighters to use ropes to raise and lower fire department equipment.