New fire training facility proposed in NashuaBy KIMBERLY HOUGHTON
Union Leader Correspondent
September 01. 2014 8:14PM
NASHUA — City planners this week will decide whether to allow Nashua Fire Rescue to construct a new fire training facility at the Four Hills Landfill.
The city’s fire department applied for and was awarded an Assistance to Firefighters grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to build a mobile training facility.
Assistant Fire Chief Steven Galipeau said the new training facility is a metal structure that, once constructed, will be a stationary training prop, which can be transformed to enable firefighters to practice different skills and maneuvers.
The facility will give city firefighters the ability to perform multiple tasks, including changing the structure from a pitched roof or flat roof that department firefighters can repel off of, practice interior search and rescue techniques and frequently change the maze and layout of the structure.
The various design layouts will provide a different element of training for the department each year, Galipeau said.
Currently, the fire department uses a concrete training facility at the landfill, which was built around 1980, according to Galipeau. The concrete structure will remain, as it allows firefighters to train with different heat layers and flashover simulation.
Still, Galipeau said that many of the firefighters already know the layout of the existing two-story concrete building, so there is no element of surprise when practicing search and rescue missions. Previously, an older gas-prop used for fire training was deemed unsafe about a decade ago, and it was eventually removed from the landfill.
The new mobile training facility will be beneficial to the department, said Galipeau. The $498,950 grant awarded to the department will require a 10 percent match by the city, along with approval from the Nashua Planning Board.
The planning board will review the proposal and vote on whether to amend a previously approved site plan for the fire department training area at 830 W. Hollis St.
According to FEMA’s website, the primary goal of the Assistance to Firefighters Grant is to meet the firefighting and emergency response needs of fire departments and nonaffiliated emergency medical service organizations nationwide.
“Since 2001, AFG has helped firefighters and other first responders to obtain critically needed equipment, protective gear, emergency vehicles, training and other resources needed to protect the public and emergency personnel from fire and related hazards,” says the site.
Galipeau said the city’s fire department is fortunate to have been awarded a grant for the mobile training facility, which he believes will help local firefighters in preparing and training for emergencies.
He hopes to have all of the site and ground work completed before Nov. 1, with the structure being delivered possibly in April 2015.
The planning board will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday at Nashua City Hall to discuss the proposal.