Trailer offers fire training to Ala. firefighters

The Birmingham News (Alabama)

MOODY, Ala. — The big, shiny black trailer that sits on a vacant lot in Moody bearing the Moody Fire Department shield wows those who see it.

People have begun to slow down as they drive past on Park Avenue or they peer over curiously from nearby lots.

The trailer, called a Fireflash Trainer, is a tool for the city's firefighters to simulate fires. Moody fire officials began training on the trailer last week.

It cost about $350,000 and was bought through a taxpayer-funded Operations and Safety Grant, awarded under the Assistance to Firefighters program.

The program is administered by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

''This unit can simulate a sofa fire, a kitchen fire and a flash-over condition,'' said Fire Chief James Robinson.

The trailer roof can rise to simulate a secondstory room or a pitched roof. Fire officials also use a control board inside to determine elements such as the size of blaze and the amount of smoke.

''Heat rises rapidly and everything catches on fire,'' Robinson said. ''It teaches you how to survive and save your company.''

The city won the $320,763 grant in February. The city was required to put up a $16,000 match, city officials said.

The 53-foot structure is expected to be used for training firefighters in Moody and neighboring departments.

The trailer also allows for repeat training sessions on the same skills in the same situations, he said.

Since it's a trailer, it can be taken to fire departments in varying locations.

Copyright 2008 The Birmingham News
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