In 2017, the Nashville Fire Department took a huge step forward. That’s the year they purchased The Commissioner training tower. With that investment, the future of NFD has changed.
“This six-story training tower rebranded our training academy from a Fire Academy to a Multi-Hazard Academy,” says Commander Scott Lively, a 26-year service employee with the Nashville Fire Department (NFD) in Tenn. “It’s a point of pride with the members of our department. We use the training unit almost daily in some way with our divisions or outside agencies.”
When ordering The Commissioner from Fire Facilities, the NFD was very involved in customizing the massive steel unit for their specific needs.
“The NFD team gave thoughtful consideration and input on how they wanted the facility to function,” says John Schauf, regional manager with Fire Facilities, Inc. “They requested exterior stairs to the upper roof level and an open story. This is one of the largest Class-A burn buildings our company had sold at the time.
“The customized design the Nashville team created was so popular with other firefighters that it’s been replicated at least three times.”
The Commissioner includes three sections: a four-story fire training tower, a two-story residential section, and a one-story burn room annex. Within the residential section are interior and exterior stairs, two roof chop-out curbs, hallways, a burn room, and a burn area in an attic. The 40-foot tall tower section includes interior decks and stairs, a ship’s ladder, parapet roof guard with chained opening, and a roof chop-out curb. Unique training opportunities also exist by using The Commissioner’s cantilevered balcony, inset balcony and fire escape.
“The fire tower is a steel endo-skeletal structure that we designed so that training would be in a 360-degree approach,” says Lively, who oversees the Nashville Fire Department Training Academy. “This has provided us with very realistic simulation experiences during training.”
Maxing Out The Commissioner
About 850 NFD firefighters use The Commissioner multiple times each year for training. This includes all NFD divisions, a combination of the Training Academy, Special Operations, Fire Marshall and EMS. In addition, Metro Nashville Police use the facility on a regular basis.
“There’s a versatility to The Commissioner that our team appreciates,” says Lively. “It allows the Training Academy to host all of our ability and agility courses. In addition, we can simulate real life-like scenarios for all our employees. Because we have the fire tower on site, our fire recruits can train here instead of traveling to another location.
“The best part of having this Fire Facilities training unit is its flexibility. We make use of it regularly for a wide array of training activities and it requires very little upkeep.
“At NFD, we’re always looking to enhance our training. There are current plans to add training props and other additions to the facility grounds to keep training moving forward.”