LAKELAND, Fla. - Training just got easier for Lakeland firefighters because their fire rescue training facility just went through a full makeover.
The upgraded complex opened on January 4 and features a new training tower, multiple buildings for classroom space and indoor training, as well as extra usable space on the grounds for staging events on the drill field.
"Now, I can have a multitude of crews in different locations," stated Division Chief of Training John Almskog from Lakeland Fire Rescue. "I can have people conducting forcible entry simulation in the warehouse, they are doing searches inside the "dirty classroom", and they are doing something out here on the drill field."
Just the classroom change brought a new dynamic for the training. The old facility had one single classroom for training. This one has two. Plus, it has a "clean" classroom for training in an environment with no contaminants and a "dirty" classroom where the firefighters must wear full gear to train for contaminated environments.
The old training facility did not have a place for the firefighters to get out of the Florida heat or rain. Almskog also pointed out the benefits of the indoor training space.
"We can do indoor training when the weather is not on our side," he said. "That is something that we never had before. We never had the ability to get out of the heat or the rain."
That meant they had to cancel or reschedule training until the weather cooperated. This new facility is better overall for all of the citizens Lakeland Fire Rescue serves.
"I can switch everyone up so the efficiencies gained for us to get them in, get them the information needed and the technical training needed to serve the citizens of Lakeland is paramount," shared Almskog.
And with better training, the end result is better-equipped firefighters.
"For me to one-stop-shop, get them captive and then them leave and be back in service once they leave the gate that was job one," he said.
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