The Chandler Fire, Health & Medical Department recently held its first live fire test in its new 9,000-square-foot burn building, which will be used for regular training starting early this year.
“With its many different training features, this building is going to increase our training capabilities for our firefighters and our regional partners, helping us to provide our community with some of the best fire and life safety protection in the country,” said Val H. Gale Jr., City of Chandler Fire, Health & Medical Department spokesman.
Monies for the $2.9 million building were raised primarily from bond issuance, according to Gale Jr.. The burn building is a significant upgrade to the city’s existing 20-year-old facility. The three-story structure is located along the Price Corridor and allows public safety personnel to train in real-life scenarios involving hazardous materials, technical rescues and fire and medical incidents.
“Live fire training will be the focus of the new burn building, but don’t let the name mislead you,” Gale Jr. said. “The Chandler Fire, Health & Medical Department is an all-hazard response department and the new burn building was designed to accommodate all other rescue disciplines of the fire service as well.”
“Our Chandler firefighters actually participated in the design on this burn building so it would accurately create the challenges they commonly face in our community,” he said.
It’s a multidiscipline facility. The structure’s multisided design may see a crew in training on one side of the facility facing a blaze at a single-family residence or a commercial building. Another crew on the structure’s north side could be trying to put out a warehouse conflagration, while a team on the facility’s east side might be working to contain an inferno at a multifamily residence.
The facility also has custom-designed “burn rooms with high-temperature linings on the walls and floors so the firefighters can conduct live fire training, simulating actual fire conditions they encounter on the job,” he said. “This burn building is the only one in the region with the unique capability of simulating the actual challenges of basement fires. With the increasing popularity of basements in our community, this has become a very important training feature.”
One of the primary advantages of the new facility is its classification as a Class A training center. Class A combustibles are wood, paper, fabric and refuse. “This will allow us to train our own firefighters as well as our regional partners in the latest tactics and strategies of fire dynamics by burning ordinary combustibles instead of propane.”
The burn building is one piece of a much larger City effort to increase the protection of citizens.
“In Chandler, we continue to place our emphasis on public safety by ensuring our first responders have the tools needed to keep them safe,” said Councilman Rene Lopez. “This new burn building goes a long way in honing the specific skills needed in responding to emergencies in Chandler.”
Gila River, Maricopa and Sun Lakes public safety personnel will train there as well.
“Moving forward, this will be a shared facility, so all future projects will be considering the needs of each department,” Gale Jr. said.
Immediate plans also call for a 250-seat auditorium, classroom and office space. Additionally, users can train on defensive tactics, driving and weapons in specialized spaces. Phase 2, slated for development in fiscal year 2018-2019, will offer a firing range and a large vehicle/search and rescue building.