The facilities available to the Marietta Fire Department include local cooperative training facilities, in which the department has entered into a joint venture with surrounding agencies, and MFD training structures that fire personnel developed and constructed on Marietta property. The Georgia state facility, the Georgia public safety training center, is located just south of Atlanta. Fire personnel from all over the state travel to Forsyth, Ga., to attend classes that range from basic firefighter to arson investigation.
Additionally, Marietta fire personnel often find practical locations to set up miscellaneous training exercises. For example, the Training Division acquires houses the city has slated for demolition so that fire recruits can learn about fire behavior and practice a multitude of skills such as forcible entry, ventilation and fire control.
MFD training facilities
In 2006, Marietta's Fire Station #5 crews unveiled the training tower they had worked so hard to create. Money from Squad 55's budget funded the cost of most of the materials and the city of Marietta BLW donated the poles that formed the framework of this lofty structure. BLW workers helped to install the poles and handrails in an impressive show of teamwork that involved most of 55's crewmembers.
Lt. Nalley and FFE Pacheco work to set up for a training class at the newly erected training tower.
Squad 55 crewmembers set up a tripod to train on techniques that help them lift patients up and out of a confined space.
Local cooperative training facilities
Historically, the Marietta Fire Department has utilized donated structures scheduled for demolition for live fire training. Unfortunately, as Chief Gibbs pointed out in a 2001 letter to the Public Safety Committee, "the supply of these structures is sporadic and unreliable." Furthermore, "while the structures provide the most realistic firefighting training available, they are destroyed during the training."
The challenge to provide live fire training is not unique to Marietta. Other area departments have also faced the same challenge. The Georgia Firefighters Standards and Training Council requires that fire recruits have a certain number of training hours in live fire conditions. To meet this requirement, several area fire departments met and developed a plan to build a high-heat training simulator at Dobbins Air Reserve Base. Representatives from Marietta, Dobbins, Cobb County, Austell and Paulding County fire departments joined forces and agreed to share the expense of building and maintaining the structure.
Local fire department representatives traveled to Napanee, Canada to inspect the simulator build by Fire Training Systems, Ltd.
The cooperative training facility includes a car fire simulator.
An insider's view of the simulator. Controls for the propane-fueled fire are located in an attached room on the rear of the structure. For added safety, a supervisor can see all activities in the fire room via a video monitor. An emergency cut-off gives the controller the power to immediately stop the fire flow.
A firefighter awaits his partner before he enters the fire simulator at Dobbins ARB.
Cobb County Department of Public Safety Training Facility
For a number of years, local training facilities included only those in Atlanta and in Cobb County. Prior to the joint purchase of the live fire simulator, Cobb County allowed area departments to participate in a wide variety of training at their facility.
Marietta Fire personnel set up for specialty rescue training at the Cobb Fire training tower.
Members of Marietta's Squad 55 practice high-angle rescue.
Using only a life-safety rope and a hand tool such as an axe, a Marietta firefighter practices a self-rescue technique called a "bail out."
FF Kingsley stands near the confined-space training simulator at Cobb County Fire's training facility. Members of Marietta's Squad and Engine 55 are currently constructing a similar structure near their station's training tower.
Miscellaneous training exercises
Fire personnel provide an extensive list of services for the people in and around Marietta. Striving to keep sharp on the skills they use creates the need for firefighters to be resourceful in locating training sites.
For example, to facilitate training emergency vehicle operators, the Training Division will find an appropriate parking area that they can temporarily use as a driver-training course.
A firefighter demonstrates the proper method for extinguishing flammable liquid fires for commercial education. It would not be practical to move the business staff to a fire department location; Fire Prevention uses outside parking area as a temporary training site.
Marietta firefighters attend a briefing prior to rope training at a city parking deck.
Hands-on training in structures slated for demolition
Actual houses and apartment buildings provide the most realistic firefighting training available. Firefighters are able actually perform the skills they use in emergency situations.
Forcible entry, ventilation and fire suppression are skills that require destruction of property. While the fire simulator offers a decent level of fire fighting training, personnel cannot actually cut or remove doors from the permanent structure.
Simulators do not provide the same extreme environmental conditions that an unknown structure does. Some construction features create potential dangers to firefighters performing interior search or fire attack activities.
Heat regulators in a fire simulator limit the heat level; they cause the simulator to shut down when the temperature rises above 800 degrees Fahrenheit. In an actual structure fire, the air temperature can exceed 1,500 degrees at the ceiling. Firefighters benefit from practicing in the hot, toxic environment they encounter in an actual structure.
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