Local firefighters make use of mobile simulator

More than 60 Union Township Fire Department personnel trained on the department’s fire mobile training unit at Fire Station #10 in Withamsville Nov. 2-3.

The mobile training unit, which is 51 feet long and two stories high, is designed to provide fire flashover and rollover simulations, hose and ladder evolutions, ventilation dangers, fire suppression, interior attack procedures, general fire behavior (large and small), confined space operations, forced entry scenarios, and fit tests.

“We can create and regulate many different fire scenarios and fire conditions that are controlled by a touch screen panel,” said Fire Chief Stan Deimling. “We are doing all kinds of this training here today. The manufacturer is also here to certify the unit operators on how to safely use it while the firefighters train.”

Ignoring the pungent smell of the propane gas and disregarding the torrid heat and smoke emanating from inside the unit, the firefighters rotated small teams through the training exercises in the $298,000 simulator.

“All of the smoke and things that you see are theatrical (unit walls, windows, and doors can be moved, opened, or closed),” said Deimling. “Everything used in the simulator is ecologically sound and environmentally friendly. It dissipates quickly, no combustible materials are used or released into the air, and it is not hazardous in any way.”

Ninety percent of the training unit’s cost was paid for with grant money received from the 2005 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security; Union Township taxpayers paid the remaining 10 percent.

Deimling said that the live-fire simulation chamber is believed to be the first mobile unit of its kind in the greater Cincinnati area and that it is an exceptionally versatile and effective training tool.

“This new simulator will mean a great deal to the residents of Union Township,” said Deimling. “The new recruits as well as the seasoned firefighters can now gain the ability to train and prepare for all fire scenarios in this incredibly controlled environment. An advantage of the unit is that it will help fire and paramedic coverage continue at peak levels. Union Township makes more than 140 fire and EMS runs every month.”

Deimling said that another advantage of the mobile training unit is that it will allow firefighters to train in their district instead of moving to other locations, leaving little or no coverage.

Union Township plans to make the unit available to other fire departments around Cincinnati.

“We would like others to take advantage of and share this unique training opportunity,” he said. “From a health and training standpoint, other regions and areas will benefit as well.”