Fallbrook, CA.—Today, the NCFPD does not have adequate training facilities; as a result, it is necessary (and costly) for the District’s professional firefighters to travel outside the District for training; to Escondido, San Marcos, or Carlsbad, for example (where modern training facilities exist).
The cost of having to leave the District for training is more than simply covering travel expenses. “Our firefighters work in teams,” explains Chief Steve Abbott. “So, when a team of firefighters go to a neighboring fire District for training purposes, at least two fire engines are no longer in position and available for emergency response within the District. That is a calculated risk-management decision, but one that is typical for fire departments without a training facility. This can impact response times, which is not desirable,” Chief Abbott stresses. “Further, should something catastrophic occur while our personnel are out of the District, we may have to bring in mutual aid from neighboring jurisdictions. Here again, this takes more time.”
Chief Abbott also makes note of the desire to be able to host neighboring fire protection Agencies; just as neighboring Agencies host the NCFPD.
So, what would adequate training facilities look like? Chief Abbott says that, at a minimum, the District needs the following:
- A multi-story Training Tower, with an “environmental room,” within which trainers can set a fire to in order practice critical firefighting skills. This tower MUST have the ability to circulate water.
- Search and rescue
- Sufficient space to accommodate a full first-alarm assignment; this requires 3 engines, one truck, and one ambulance (adequate for handling 15 personnel at a time).
- At least one training classroom that can accommodate up to 50 students.
The cost for constructing such a Training Facility would range between $4 to $5 million.