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City’s new fire structure in place

The Boulder City Fire Department is in the final stages of adding a structure, which will not only prepare its firefighters to a greater extent, but at the same time save taxpayer dollars.

Last week, Asst. Fire Chief Joshua Barrone said the new two-story training tower is now complete, having been installed June 11-13. The training grounds, however, are still under construction. This includes grading, hard surfaces and other training aspects, which should be completed in August. They have already been conducting “train the trainer” classes, which is included in the purchase of the training structure.

The Boulder City Council approved funding last year in the amount of $1.2 million for a training tower, which sits behind the existing station on Elm Street.

Barrone said there’s many advantages of having the training facility literally in their own back yard.

“This is huge for the department,” he said. “The city has been around for 64 years with no official training facility for these professionals to hone and practice their skills. This will offer the next level of skills and training for our department. It’s enhancing the community service and professionalism and the goal of striving for excellence every day.”

The next benefit is the money the city will save in overtime pay, he said. It was stated in the past that a lot of the required training was not being met because firefighters did not have access to training facilities. The fire department would use Henderson’s training tower. This is not ideal being that the department has to pay firefighters overtime for them to go because they’d have to do it on their own time to avoid staffing shortages in their absence.

In recent years, some training was conducted at the old Boys and Girls Club next to the Boulder City Library. While it met some of the department’s needs, burning within the building was not possible.

Now, Henderson’s tower is no longer allowed to be burned in, which means Boulder City crews have to do fire tower training in North Las Vegas.

“Not having to travel to North Las Vegas or Henderson, which requires drive time, wear and tear on the vehicles and the overtime costs will take a huge burden off of the city and department,” Barrone said.

Structure fires are considered a high-risk, low occurrence in Boulder City. Because they don’t occur often, frequent training is a necessity to keep those skills sharp and to help avoid injury. While there are about 20 to 25 calls a year for a fire within a structure, that is different from a full-blown structure fire, which occurs around six to 12 times a year.

The new tower will be used for technical rescue, natural gas leaks, search training, extrication, hazardous material spills and even aviation rescue. Towers are built with interior fire panels that can sustain temperatures of upward of 3,000 degrees. These panels are replaced every 15 to 20 years in larger departments and are expected to last even longer here.

Ron Eland is editor of the Boulder City Review. He can be reached at reland@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9523.

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