After almost 10 years and more than 15,000 hours of active training on The Commissioner, officials at the St. George Fire Protection District in Baton Rouge, La. report that the structure is holding up strong.
“Our training is based on a very aggressive regiment and we do not take it easy on the building,” says Captain Ragan Underwood with St. George Fire Protection District. “The Fire Facilities structure has held up great. There have been no major repairs or broken items that were premature in wear.”
Handling Massive Training
During the past decade the department has 160 suppression personnel training regularly on the building, plus ongoing recruit academies. In addition, L.I.F.T. training conferences are hosted on a regional basis along with H.O.T. drills for more than 300 registrants. Paramedics train on the structure, along with local law enforcement and federal agencies.
“The Commissioner is kept very busy with the numerous classes scheduled in the building plus routine training,” says Underwood, a 17-year veteran with St. George Fire Protection District. “This building offers great configuration and multiple levels, which gives us the opportunity switch up training in a variety of ways.”
Made for All Training Needs
The Commissioner is the largest standard Fire Facilities training structure model. The tower spans 73-feet long and stands 40-feet high. The Commissioner offers three sections, a four-story fire training tower, a two-story residential section, and a one-story burn room annex. The residential section features interior and exterior stairs, two roof chop-out curbs, hallways, a burn room, and a burn area in the attic. The tower section offers interior decks and stairs, ship’s ladder, parapet roof guard with chained opening, and a roof chop-out curb. For the ultimate in fire training, the Commissioner also features a cantilevered balcony, inset balcony, and fire escape.
“We find it’s really valuable having numerous floors and rooms for training,” says Underwood. “This allows us to simulate mid-rise buildings, which replicate our area. The availabilities of using the stairwell and standpipes for training in this specialized area are also extremely beneficial.”
Underwood points out that one of the most helpful training aspects in The Commissioner is having the built-in smoke machine. This simulates the smoke in live burn situations. While he’d like to see the smoke stay in the building longer, he acknowledges that the training settings offer amazing training opportunities for recruits.
“From primary search to fire behavior to large suppression opportunities, The Commissioner is unmatched for training,” says Underwood. “Our seasoned firefighters use high angle and high rise applications while our recruits benefit from the smoke scenarios. There’s always a different training twist for everyone.”