Redstone Report: Trial by fire prepares personnel

Arsenal firefighters had the chance to train in a realistic trainer.
Arsenal firefighters had the chance to train in a realistic trainer.

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - There are five stations and about sixty firefighters on Redstone Arsenal that protect the whole post, and after some recent training, they're now better prepared.

As smoke began to pour out of a mobile training trailer, firefighters headed in. "We do training because no fire has ever been the same, and we throw as many scenarios at the guys as we can," Redstone Arsenal Assistant Fire Chief Dathan Black said. "We learn from every time we go into that building and every time we come out.

The U.S. Army mandates that Redstone Arsenal firefighters get this type of training, but since the arsenal doesn't have a trainer of its own, the Alabama Fire College loaned out theirs.

"The only thing that's out of our pocket really is the propane cost, which is very minimal," Black said. "A trainer like this runs about $600,000."

Inside the trainer, firefighters dealt with all the obstacles they would in a real fire: furniture, stairs and the heat. "Most of the fire we're running out here can get to about 700 degrees in the ceiling," Black added.

Outside, instructors can coach the firefighters through the course with a two-way radio system.

Firefighters usually don't see a lot of fires on the arsenal, which makes this training even more important. But with this type of training, they'll be ready.

The fire department hopes to have the trailer back on the arsenal in March for more training.

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