During the past 20 year period, call volume for the City of Fairfield, California’s fire department has more than doubled … while staffing has increased by only 20 percent. That means firefighters have to work smarter and train harder. Since 2016 they’ve been doing both with the help of the Fire Chief training structure from Fire Facilities.
Located at Fire Station 38 in the heart of downtown Fairfield, the all-steel 40-foot high tower includes a residential-like design. There’s a burn room on the first floor, interior stairs to multiple floors, an interior fixed ladder, roof-mounted chop-out curbs, and parapet roof guide with chain opening. The custom made model allows for multiple training exercises including hose advancement, fire attack, search and rescue, rappelling, laddering, confined space, and high-angle rescue operations.
“Roughly 100 of our fire personnel train on the tower on a regular basis,” says Jessica Fleshman, battalion chief for the City of Fairfield. “I took over training about six months ago. Since that time I’ve used the training tower extensively. We all like the flexibility it affords us for different scenario training. It truly helps us improve our skills and stay sharp.”
Training to Serve
In the City of Fairfield there’s a reason to keep skills finely honed. The call volume in 2021 was 15,068, with an average of 41.3 responses per day. The dedicated firefighters are united behind their vision: “We aspire to have a highly-trained, well-equipped workforce that is prepared to respond to all current and future needs of those we serve.”
According to Fleshman, who has been in the fire service for 20 years, firefighters in the City of Fairfield train for as many varied incidents as possible. “We are an all-risk department,” says Fleshman. “I put together training plans to accomplish a variety of tasks that will meet the overall direction of Fire Chief Luckenbach while challenging each of our firefighters. The Fire Facilities structure’s versatility helps us realistically train for a wide array of scenarios that prepare us for what we see on our jobs every day.”
Sharing the Structure
When not being used by Fairfield firefighters, the Fire Chief tower is busy being used for training by Solano Community College students enrolled in the Fire Academy program. Fairfield also allows fire departments in surrounding cities to use the training tower along with the county HazMat team and local police and SWAT units.
“This tower was a major investment for our community,” says Fleshman. “We’re maximizing that investment by using the tower as much as possible for active training by our department and others. The Fire Facilities tower is so flexible that it can be used for many purposes. That’s one of the reasons it works so well for all of our combined training needs.”
Detailed information on the City of Fairfield can be found in the Fairfield Fire Annual Report 2021