Norman, Okla., nears completion of site for fire simulations


Copyright 2006 The Daily Oklahoman 
  
By JANE GLENN CANNON 
The Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City, OK)

NORMAN, Okla. — When it comes to looks, a new, $400,000 fire simulator/training tower is nothing to brag about, Fire Chief Johnny Vaughn said.

“All and all it is a pretty ugly duck,” Vaughn said, “but that’s OK, because it’s not about looks.”

The five-story tower, with an attached two-story simulator, is built for reality-based training of firefighters, the chief said.

The training facility behind Fire Station 7 on Goddard Avenue near DaVinci Street, west of US 77, is complete except for concrete drives and pads that are to be added around it, Vaughn said.

City council members are expected to appropriate $44,000 to pay for the outside concrete work at its meeting tonight.

Once the drives and concrete pads are in place, the facility will be used to provide state-of-the-art training, Vaughn said.

The simulator features two burn rooms that can withstand temperatures up to 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. The rooms are equipped with pyrometers that give temperature readings at floor level, midway up the walls and at ceiling level.

Wood shavings will be used as the burn material because they provide a lot of smoke and heat but are not harmful to the environment, Vaughn said.

The 50-foot tower has four enclosed floors, one open floor and a working deck on top for ladder climbing and rappelling, Vaughn said.

Rappelling anchors at three different levels will provide practice areas for high-angle and low-angle rescues, the fire chief said.

A live burn to test the facility was performed successfully last month, Vaughn told city council members at a recent study session.

Vaughn said city council members will be invited to tour the facility and witness a live burn once the drives and concrete pads are in place. 
 
The new five-story fire training tower with an attached two-story fire simulator on Goddard Avenue in north Norman is almost ready for use. Firefighter training will begin as soon as concrete driveways and pads are added to the exterior, Fire Chief Johnny Vaughn said. 

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