At the Kissimmee Fire Department in Florida, 105 paid operations personnel train regularly for garden apartment and tax payer fire scenarios on The Fire Chief training model. Customized to handle the specific training demands of the department, the impressive structure was opened in 2019.
“We chose this Fire Facilities structure as opposed to any other type of training unit because of the different options we had to choose from for the price,” says Battalion Chief Eric Gentry, a 22-year employee with the Kissimmee Fire Department. “We got the biggest bang for our buck with all the options we wanted with the Fire Chief model.
“This unit has four floors with a tower roof platform, moveable full and half walls and a floor hatch. There are five different types of stairs/ladders, an elevator shaft, smoke machine piped throughout, an exhaust fan, and two different sized roof props. We’ve also got attic space, three different types of windows, digital Wi-Fi temperature sensors with alarms, floor scuppers to easily drain, standpipe and sprinkler heads. We requested 19 anchor points for ropes, two repelling rails and helicopter skids. The variety of training scenarios we can create with these customized accessories is endless.”
Burn Room Protection
Perhaps most important to Gentry and his crew are the expanded burn room options requested in the design of The Fire Chief. The 20’ 7-5/8” wide by 20’ long burn room features the patented Westec® Insulation System. Designed to provide high performance for all burn room conditions, the impressive system is resistant to impact, rust and corrosion, plus direct flame impingement. Thermal performance and high temperatures do not affect the system. The stainless steel panels resist high pressure of hose stream along with freeze cycles.
Westec incorporates a unique system of structural supports, stainless steel panels, and flexible elements that allow the configuration to move with the heat rather than resist it. With a 15-year non-prorated warranty for temperatures up to 1850 degrees Fahrenheit, and minimal ongoing maintenance costs, there is no better live fire burn room liner system on the market.
“Within our training tower, the first floor customized burn room provides plenty of room for firefighters to maneuver with hose line with two burn props,” says Gentry. “There’s also a half wall for instructors to be separated from the props. This room has been very successful. We’ve been able to set up and train personnel on thermal layering and flow path.”
Training for Every Scenario
According to Gentry, The Fire Chief is continually being used. Kissimmee fire, police and SWAT train regularly on the facility. In addition, the tower is used for new hire testing, and nearby Reedy Creek Fire Rescue uses it for rope training, while Valencia College has used it for an aerial operations class.
“This was an investment for Kissimmee and we’re maximizing that investment,” says Gentry. “When our firefighters are training, we’re focused on scenarios we will most likely face in our city. These include garden apartment fires on the first and/or second floors, two-story residences with attached garage fire or an attic fire. Then there are the store front businesses with residences on the second floor. And, because the tower is four stories, we practice elevated rescues of patients with ropes or bucket with our trucks. The versatility of The Fire Chief structure makes all these training scenarios possible.”