GREENFIELD — A new fire training facility began operation in Greenfield, with Greenfield Fire Department having announced its completion and official start of service on Feb. 20.
The new facility, located in the Greenfield Public Works yard, is constructed from shipping containers in a simulation of multiple buildings, ranging from one story in height to three stories. The metal design will allow firefighters to practice entering and ventilating buildings, as well as stand up to the abuse of heavy equipment being deployed on its surface over time.
The facility cost $65,000, but the city saved an estimated $10,000 in additional costs by using existing containers. The location has been in the works since October before becoming operational last month.
“This structure was designed to provide firefighters with simulated structures they would encounter in the community, like that of a single-family dwelling, hallways and three-story building,” the fire department announced on social media. “The inside of the structure can be configured to have several rooms or large open spaces by moving internal walls in different locations.”
Use of sliding rails allow for panels of sheet rock to be put into windows so emergency personnel can practice breaking a window to control a fire. There are also options to simulate barred windows, which would require the use of a rotary saw to open.
“Sometimes we’ll get there to control the fire and we might decide to break a window in a certain area,” said Jim Langborg, Greenfield’s fire chief.
The department obtained a 35-foot ladder and can now practice entering third-story windows with the facility. Firefighters can also get on rooftops to practice residential vertical ventilation, where they puncture a rooftop. That practice area has multiple layers of breeching to get through.
“When we ventilate things, we’re trying to control the fire and the heat to make it more tenable for anyone that’s trapped inside and for our firefighters to put it out,” Langborg said. “It doesn’t do any good to have a hole in the attic. You have to pierce down into the room where the fire is at.”
Langborg said the site would need small improvements and upgrades over time, such as changing the surface rock and adding a fire hydrant.
The facility gives Greenfield firefighters greater opportunity for training in emergency response. Langborg said there is a possibility of opening it up to other agencies so they can also receive proper training at the site.