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Firefighters from around the region trained together in Polk County for two weeks.

Itemizer-Observer report

POLK COUNTY — The Fire Training Program at the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training brought its 53-foot tractor trailer live-fire training unit to Polk County. 

The unit was located in Dallas with more than 100 firefighters from Dallas, Polk County Fire District No. 1, Southwestern, Sheridan, and West Valley fire agencies participating in hands-on training during the daytime, evening and one night and weekend.

DPSST’s fire training is offered free to all fire agencies in Oregon, made possible through the State’s Fire Insurance Premium Tax.

One of the most difficult tasks in the fire service is to provide personnel with realistic training to prepare them for field operations, according to a press release from DPSST.

Providing live-fire training is an important component.

For combination and volunteer organizations, especially those in rural areas, the ability to provide live-fire training can be a complex problem.

In the past many fire agencies had access to homes and buildings in their local communities that were going to be demolished that provided excellent hands-on training opportunities for firefighters.

Environmental concerns, neighborhood concerns, building materials, and a variety of other safety considerations have limited this.

DPSST’s director Eriks Gabliks said, “DPSST operates two, 53-foot, Mobile Fire Training Units which are made available around the state on a regional basis. This mobile concept enables DPSST to support local fire training programs and avoids local communities from having to purchase expensive equipment that will have occasional use. The MFTU at Dallas over the last two weeks is DPSST’s newest addition to the inventory. This unit cost $500,000, and was funded by an Assistance to Firefighters Grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.”

The unit contains a permanent propane-fired bed prop and rollover simulator.

Portable propane-fired pans can be relocated in the unit and covered with other simulated props to provide a variety of live-fire exercises.

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