Fire training towerA $190,000 firefighter training tower is ready for use, according to Lansing Volunteer Fire Department Deputy Chief Brad George.  George told Lansing Fire Commissioners Tuesday that he has inspected the structure, and is happy with the construction.  The tower, located behind Lansing's Central Station, will be used to train Lansing emergency responders as well as responders from neighboring fire departments.

George and Second Assistant Chief Mike Drake inspected the completed tower last Friday.  While it can be used immediately, firefighters will need special training before they can use it for live fire training.  A company representative is set to come to the site to show emergency responders how to properly use temperature sensors and other equipment, to make sure the department stays within the dictates of the warranty.  Lansing firefighters will also attend a training class on what is required for live burn training.

Fire Training TowerThe steep ladder-like stairway will eventually be replaced by a more useful 45 degree stairway

"We did a walk-through Friday," George told Lansing Fire Commissioners Tuesday.  "Everything's built to spec.  We won't be able to conduct any live fire training until we have the class that brings everybody up to speed on National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) requirements to do live burns.  We can conduct non-fire training on it until then."

The two story tower features a fire-proof 'burn room' in which enclosed fire and smoke scenarios can be rehearsed.  It is equipped with temperature monitors to better control training scenarios and firefighter safety.  The tower also has interior stairs, a balcony on the second floor, and a ship's ladder on the exterior.  Windows are equipped with steel shutters, and a roof chop-out-curb for ventilation exercises.

George said that he thought the tower came with a set of stairs set at a 45 degree angle, but instead it has a vertical ladder that is less useful for training.  He has asked for a quote to fabricate a stairway that will be added to the structure later.

Fire Training TowerJune, July, August. The tower is ready for use.

The tower was built on an existing concrete training pad that is often used for training firefighters for automobile wrecks and fires.  Brad said that preliminary work to extend the pad to restore adequate space for car wreck training will begin in the fall, then completed next Spring.

State training requires training in a tower.  The Lansing tower will give new department recruits an opportunity to start this training early, especially because the Lansing department boasts three state certified instructors.  Until now Lansing firefighters have received tower training at the Ithaca tower adjacent to the Newman Municipal Golf Course.

Lansing's volunteer emergency responders collectively participate in thousands of hours of training each year.  Last year they logged 2,312.5 hours of training.  That does not include time spent maintaining fire engines and equipment and, of course, responding to emergencies.  They responded to 485 fire calls in 2014, plus 488 EMS Calls.