When it comes to firefighter training, realism makes the difference between adequate preparation and exceptional readiness. The need for realistic training, as well as anticipated future growth, is precisely why Travis County Emergency Services District #3/Oak Hill Fire Department in Austin, Texas chose Fire Facilities for their training tower.
“We selected a Fire Facilities tower based on its versatility, especially the ability to configure different rooms and routes inside the entire building. We find it most difficult to train for reality once crews become familiar with the layout of a building. We have been able to utilize different entry points and outside features to simulate many different types of structures,” said Fire Chief Jeffrey J. Wittig of the Travis County Emergency Services District #3 / Oak Hill Fire Department.
The Commissioner tower’s value in preparing firefighters for real-life scenarios cannot be overstated. Its adaptability allows for the creation of diverse training environments, effectively combating complacency and ensuring that firefighters remain at the forefront of preparedness.
“The leadership at TCESD#3/Oak Hill Fire Department has always impressed me with their commitment to training and the knowledge that, over time training needs will change, and that they needed to be ready to adapt to those needs for both their firefighters and the ongoing success of the fire district as a whole. They understand the need to have well-trained, experienced firefighting professionals ready to respond to the needs of the community,” said John Schauf, the Central Regional Sales Manager at Fire Facilities.
Since the Commissioner’s installation in 2008, Travis County ESD # 3 has relied on Fire Facilities for tower upgrades to meet their ever-changing training needs. An additional burn room, more forcible entry points, a wooden roof simulator, and permanent room layouts for specific drills have significantly amplified the authenticity of their training exercises.
Between practical evolution training, physical conditioning training, and live fire training, the tower is in constant weekly use by Travis County ESD # 3 and their Fire Academy. But they also make it available to neighboring departments who use it for improving the training of their personnel; some even use it for a citizen’s academy to help some of their community members better understand the work of a Fire Department.
“Our Firefighters enjoy training at our facility. They like the ability to plan different scenarios from different vantage points, and mostly, the ability to get real, hands-on experience using and doing things the way they actually would on an incident scene. It brings a degree of realism to our training environment that can’t be recreated through a classroom setting,” said Wittig.