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Stafford Fire & Rescue Department looks at new training area
Date published: 8/3/2012
Firefighters in Stafford County could have new training grounds later this year.
A 3.9-acre site on Courthouse Road used to have a dilapidated house that was used for some aspects of volunteer training. It has since been demolished, and the county Fire & Rescue Department is making plans for new training tools on the property.
The county purchased the site at 602 Courthouse Road, east of Colonial Forge High School.
"We want to re-purpose the land to be more effective," Acting Stafford Fire Chief Mark Lockhart said at a public safety committee meeting this week .
Money is coming from the Virginia Department of Fire Programs for training equipment, as part of the annual aid to localities program. The site could cost about $100,000 to fully develop, said Joe Grainger, Division Chief for Training and Occupational Safety.
He said work is already starting on preparing the training stations, and could be complete by the end of the year. An 8-foot fence will surround the site, of which 1.4 acres is cleared and ready to use. The other portion is mostly wooded.
Lockhart presented the three-member committee a diagram showing the proposed training simulators.
The simulators teach trainees fire behavior and conditions that cause flashover (the dangerous point where everything may combust at once); how to ventilate a burning building and forcible entry techniques, as well as ways to fight a car fire.
"A lot of this is new to Stafford," Grainger said. "It's a progressive step forward to putting more tools in the toolboxes for our firefighters. And its location is fantastic--our folks on duty will be able to rotate through while they're working."
A parking area, pavilion and vehicle rescue training pad are also planned.
Certification burns for Stafford's twice-annual firefighter academies have been held in Orange, Hanover and Loudoun counties. The new site will not include a burn building.
In the future, the fire department could move a modular building that was purchased for Station 14 to the training area.
However, it could be years before a new station is built in North Stafford, off Garrisonville Road. The $150,000 modular station has been installed, and soon, the deteriorating 1920s farmhouse that has been housing firefighters will be demolished.
In other matters, the public safety committee held a closed-door session to look at the 10 proposals the county has received from consultants for its study of fire and EMS services.
No action was taken, and the full Board of Supervisors will likely discuss the proposals in September.
By Aug. 20, the Virginia Department of Fire Programs will tell the county if it can do the study or not.
Katie Thisdell: 540/735-1975