BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO) — A new piece of equipment is now in Brookings to help firefighters polish up their skills for the various challenges they could face on job.
A new fire training tower arrived Tuesday and crews are busy working to get everything installed.
“We’re taking delivery of our three-and-a-half-story training tower that’s been in the planning stages and in the works for about the last four years,” fire chief Pete Bolzer said.
The just over half a million dollar tower can be used for a variety of different trainings.
“The multiple training aspects of this tower can’t be duplicated with anything else. You’ve got live fire training, you’ve got confined space, you’ve got a high-angle rescue, you’ve got roof rescue. Pretty much anything you can imagine, you can do with this facility,” Bolzer said.
We took a look inside for ourselves…
“You build a small fire behind the wall, and then the firefighters can use a thermal imaging camera and try to find where the heat is and then open it up,” Bolzer said.
And we went up the stairs…
“This is the second-story burner room. It actually has the burners installed,” Bolzer said.
All the way to the top…
“This is the repelling platform. There’s two separate areas that you can repel from,” Bolzer said.
Compared to the department’s old two-story concrete burn tower that used straw and pallets for fire, this new setup is more modern.
“It has propane-fired burn rooms in there. It’s a lot cleaner burning, a lot safer for firefighters because of all the safety features built into the controls,” Bolzer said.
It’s a facility that can be used by more than just the Brookings Fire Department.
“The police department is also pretty excited about it, especially the tactical team, because they can break doors, they can jump off the top, all that stuff that they do. And eventually, I would like to open it up to the area and regional firefighters also. One of my visions is for this whole location down here is to create a destination for firefighters to come and train,” Bolzer said.
It’s an exciting addition for every member of the department.
“Just the training opportunities, I mean, there’s countless training opportunities with this new facility. It’s a way to better our skills as firefighters and also help the community in that way, too. Better serve the community,” lieutenant Jared Runge said.
They hope to get everything hooked up for electricity and propane once the ground thaws and start using the tower fully this summer.