Red Lodge Fire Rescue builds new training center; paid with donations | News
RED LODGE, Mt. – Red Lodge Fire Rescue built a new training center for first responders.
“We’re actually going to have space to train firefighters, paramedics, search and rescue, even law enforcement, from our station and surrounding areas,” said Amy Hyfield, volunteer coordinator and firefighter/EMT.
The training center will have two burn rooms, so that firefighters can practice fighting real flames. There will also be a smoke generator, rappel wall (so crews can practice high angle rescues) and concrete slabs (for vehicle fires and car extrication practice). It has two main floors, as well as an attic.
“We have so many miles to go,” Hyfield said. “And we want to make sure everyone goes home at the end of the day. And one of the ways to do that is to train.”
Red Lodge Fire Chief Tom Kuntz said the training center had been a dream for several years.
“We are super excited about our new training facility,” he said. “I think it’s been a dream of ours for 20 years to build a training center like this. And when it’s finished, I think it will be one of the best, if not the best, center in Montana State training.”
“The building has multiple windows, multiple roof pitches, different heights, different angles,” Kuntz added. “So we can create all kinds of scenarios for the ladders, going in through the windows, going out through the windows.”
Kuntz said the training center cost about $1.2 million to build…and it was funded entirely by donations. No taxpayer money was used.
“I think, you know, we’re starting to enter a new era for our organization, which is really exciting,” Kuntz said. “Having this training center will allow us to better train our volunteer staff. What we do is risky. We know what we are doing is risky. And we find that training people well is really essential to keep people safe. “
Kuntz said they hope the training center will benefit the entire region.
“Our vision for this training center is that it will be a regional training center,” he said. “And we will open it up to any fire organization in our area or across the state that wants to use it.”
Kuntz said the practice tower should be complete around the first part of March. Then the concrete slabs will be poured later in the spring.