Installation began this morning on the Chadron Fire Department training simulator located on the corner of Arrow Drive and 6th street.
The simulator, made up of 5 steel containers similar to shipping containers, creates a 3-story structure giving firefighters the opportunity to train under a variety of conditions.
The simulator has interior and exterior stairways, two live-fire training rooms and moveable interior walls to simulate search and rescue operations. The unit also has a pitched roof for ladder training and rope-rescue operations.
Deputy State Fire Marshal and former Chadron fire chief Pat Gould says seeing the simulator going up means a lot to all the members of the department, but especially the older ones.
Initial funding for a training center was bequeathed to the department in 2004, leading to construction of the 6th Street complex in 2011 on land donated by the Provance family, owners of Arrow Building Supply.
When work on the interior of the center was in 2015, the department’s focus turned to fundraising for the simulator, its concrete foundation, and sidewalks with an estimated cost of $275,000.
Gould, who was still chief at the time, says the initial goal was to have the project completed by 2017, but fundraising went more slowly than hoped and costs rose.
He says to finally have the simulator in place is the culmination of a lot of time and energy by many individuals and organizations
While the basic center has already hosted a large number of local and regional training events, Gould says the simulator will allow a wider range of training in a safer, more controlled environment, especially live-fire training.
Gould says the 3-story simulator will also have a positive impact on insurance rates in Chadron, explaining that a well-trained department results in a better ISO – Insurance Service Office – rating which in turn means better rates for businesses and residents.