Training Division Overview
The Training Division of the Troutville Fire Department is tasked with developing monthly training for the department membership and maintaining training files. A large part of the Training Division responsibility is the Fire Training Center located beside the Troutville Fire Department station.
Fire Training Center
The fire training center operated by the Department began as a single story building used for search and rescue. A hole was cut in the concrete floor allowing for confined space training into the basement. Much of the initial design was a combination of Roanoke Fire-EMS recruit school instructors and Troutville Fire Department Chief Scott Paderick. Several makeshift walls were placed into the main area of the building and a few common household props were set up to simulate rooms. The rooms were not very useful and the building itself had very limited training options. Ultimately, the decision was made that the facility needed to be improved. Chief Paderick took on the daunting project of having the old props and trash removed from the open area and designed the ever-changing facility that we currently operate. Areas were set aside for formal “clean” and “dirty” classrooms. The “clean” classroom has tables, chairs, computer and projector; all of the things traditionally used in a lecture-based classroom. The “dirty” classroom has fire props, electrical connections, ropes, knots displayed on the wall. This would be the ‘hands-on’ classroom, where students may wear dirty bunker gear and practice donning an air pack.
The fire training center did not stop with the addition of classrooms. A comprehensive, changeable search and rescue structure was built inside of the training center. A full residential house, complete with a bed, couch, kitchen and appliances, and full bathroom was created. Real-life dimensions were used, meaning that no pretending or simulating was needed. To prevent firefighters from memorizing the layout, walls can be easily moved to change rooms, hallways, etc. To add to the realism, common dangerous areas encountered by firefighters were added. A false, weak floor simulation allows firefighters to feel what a floor may act like just prior to collapsing. In case they still missed the hint, another area actually allows instructors to drop the floor out from underneath the firefighters, sending them into a foam pit. The ingenuity behind Chief Paderick and the other members of the Department who designed these scenarios seems to never end; new props and drills are constantly added.