Tulsa Fire officials say the city needs a new fire training facility

Tuesday, March 1st 2005, 10:14 am
By: News On 6

The Tulsa Fire Department wants to build a new training center but that decision will be up to city of Tulsa voters.

News on 6 reporter Emory Bryan says Tulsa Fire recruit Zach Willis is a couple of months away from fighting real fires. "So far we're just doing the basics, ladders, pumping a little water, breathing a little smoke here and there."

Zach and the other recruits for the fire department train at a building designed in the 1950's. They learn all the skills they can - but they can't learn all the skills they need. Tulsa Fire Assistant Chief Dave Dayringer: "We cannot simulate them all in this training facility and when you're on the scene of an emergency is not the time to be training."

That's why the department wants to build a new fire safety training center. It's a $16.4-million line item in the bond issue next month.

The department wants to have enough room to train new recruits and veterans at the same time - on all the things they might face on the job. "Liquid petroleum gas simulators, car fires, and it would have a skid pad where the drivers can practice all the turns and the stops in the all the different vehicles we have now."

The academy class in training now has 18 weeks to learn the basics. After that, they'll be the first responders to all kinds of emergencies.

The training they get at the academy, will make the difference in how they do when it's real. Zach Willis: "It gets hot and it gets smoky and it's nothing like the movies, can't see anything in front of you, just crawling around on your hands and trying to put the wet stuff on the hot stuff."