If you were to come by the fire station on a Monday night you would find our staff and volunteers training on any number of skills. In May, we worked on refreshing our wildland firefighting skills. We also had a great class from our medical director on responding to a woman in labor. Each week our firefighters and emergency medical service (EMS) personnel train on topics from high angle rescue to a person that has a ring stuck on their finger. We have a very good and comprehensive training program and we do our best with the facilities we have. Last year we had 1,350 hours of training on fire, rescue, and EMS. Many times, we must go to other places to do training. If we are doing ladder training, we are very limited in where we can train on them. So, if working on rescuing someone from a widow with a ladder we must go somewhere else to do that training. This is the same for many of the things we do.
Two years ago, we had an idea of how we could use the shipping containers we currently use for storage for use in our training. During that time, we looked at a lot of companies that build training facilities out of shipping containers. Those training buildings built with containers would cost between $160,000 and $500,000. With those prices out of reach in our budget, we thought that there was a better way we could accomplish this. With so many talented members for the fire department, we thought why couldn’t we just build it ourselves? At that point, Captain Tom Fast, our training officer, worked on some ideas of what it would look like and we put a plan together. We talked with Jefferson county and gave them an idea of what we were planning on doing and they were ok with the project. We got a very generous donation from a citizen of the ranch that started the ball rolling. Donations of time, materials and the storage container have made what we are trying to do a reality.
We will be stacking the shipping containers to build a building that will meet our needs for the training we plan to do. With this training building, we can do high angle rope rescue work off the top or put a ladder to a window and practice rescuing someone. We will be able to do building searches for trapped victims as well as a host of other things. I know there is a concern of how this building will look I assure you that we are taking great care in making sure it is not an eyesore. We will paint the building to match the station and make sure that it is well maintained. We will not be doing any live fire training but we will be able to spay water in it so we can practice those skills. This has been a team effort and making something out of nothing is what we do best. Taking the resources, we have combined with creative and skilled members of the department we are accomplishing great things. Crooked River Ranch Fire & Rescue is leading the way in innovation in training in Central Oregon. We have had many departments in the region ask to come to see this building once it is complete because they want to build something similar in their district. I think this will be something the whole community can be proud of.
By Fire Chief Harry Ward
Published in July 2019, Telegraph Newsletter.