By Megan Sando
STILLWATER, Okla. —
The Stillwater Fire Department had barely filled its new training facility with smoke when firefighters received more good news about training.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency awarded a grant to the Stillwater Fire Department that will pay for 90 percent of the second phase — purchase and installation of a live fire simulator. It will be added in approximately six weeks, city and fire officials said.
The FEMA grant puts the training facility approximately two years ahead of schedule. Phase III is construction of a four-story training tower that will help firefighters simulate a fire in a multistory building.
The training facility idea started in 2005, but was delayed by the recession. Fire Chief Tom Bradley worked with the City Council within the last year to find money for phase I.
“The project started in order to do more in-house training hours,” Bradley said. “This is an area where we were lacking.”
In a live training session, skills vary from advancing a hose line into a house and stairway, to forcing down a door.
“In 10 minutes, they accomplish all these skills,” Chief of Training Robert Black said. In the past, firefighters underwent training at vacant houses that were not always safe. The training facility is made of sturdy shipping containers. Black said it is one of two facilities in the state of Oklahoma.
“Public safety is always a priority of the city of Stillwater,” councilor Gina Noble said.