The Fire Department in Murfreesboro, Tenn. is good at sharing. Since the installation of The Commissioner fire training tower in 2017, they’ve shared the structure with local police and members of the Rutherford County Sheriff, EMS, and Fire and Rescue. That’s just for starters. The U.S. Marines, the Tennessee National Guard, Tennessee Highway Patrol, and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation have trained on The Commissioner. And, it doesn’t stop there. In addition, the tower has been used for classes conducted by the International Association of Firefighters, the Tennessee Fire and Codes Academy, and the University of Tennessee.
“It’s an understatement to say we’re maximizing the use of this asset,” says Brian Lowe, assistant chief at the Murfreesboro Fire Department. “Over the past several years, about 800 firefighters have made their way through the training tower and hundreds of others.
“We use The Commissioner for Class A burns, high-angle rescue training, search and rescue, ladder operations, high rise fire simulations and hazardous materials training. And, both our fire and police departments use the structure for recruit physical assessment.”
Maxing Out the Investment
The largest standard training structure model from Fire Facilities, Inc., The Commissioner features a four-story training tower, burn room annex and two-story residential section. The tower stands 40-feet tall and spans 73-feet long. It includes interior decks and stairs, ship’s ladder, parapet roof guard with chained opening, and a roof chop-out curb. The residential section features interior and exterior stairs, two roof chop-out curbs, hallways, the burn room, and a burn area in the attic.
“This training structure has had a dramatic impact on our fire department and many other entities,” says Lowe, a firefighter for 25 years. “There are definite limitations to scheduling training on a private property. In the past, only a few firefighters had access to high rise or multi-level company operations on a regular basis.
“Now we can easily schedule single company or multi-company operations with a simple request. Company officers have the flexibility to plan training when their crew rosters are full. We have 24/7 access to The Commissioner and we’re making the most of it.”
When training classes are scheduled in Murfreesboro, The Commissioner stays occupied for months at a time. The mainstay for the city’s recruit classes, the tower options enhance the training staff’s ability to create a variety of challenging scenarios.
“Murfreesboro is chock-full of multi-level residential locations,” says Lowe. “We want our fire crews prepared to attack a fire above the first floor. If you don’t continually practice moving hoses up and down stairwells, then you’re not going to be ready when called into action. This durable tower is making a difference.
“The Commissioner provides Murfreesboro Fire Rescue with a realistic prop that is representative of the type of situations that fire crews encounter through the course of their work.”