New training facility for Bargersville firefighters gives real life experience

Firefighters in Bargersville will be better prepared for real life emergencies thanks to a new training facility. (WISH photo)

GREENWOOD, Ind (WISH) — Firefighters in Bargersville will be better prepared for real life emergencies thanks to a new training facility. It’s the first of its kind in Johnson County and the goal is to allow all departments within the county to utilize the facility.

The building is approximately 2,500 square feet. It’s made of used, metal shipping containers. It cost around $100,000 to build. $30,000 came from a grant from the Johnson County Community Foundation.

Smoke billows out of a window of a burning building. Firefighters go in anyway; it’s their job, although often, not an easy one. What awaits on the inside, is sometimes the hardest part. In this case, a lifeless body. Fortunately, in this scenario, it’s not a human body, it’s just a dummy and this is only a training exercise.

“Our firefighters can be better prepared, better trained and better prepared to go on the actual emergencies that come in,” said Eric Funkhouser of the department’s Division of Training and Safety.

Upstairs is where the smoke is coming. It’s so thick, you can barely see where you are going. Still, firefighters have a job to do.

“The goal of the smoke machine is to reduce the visibility for the firefighters. So, what they’re going to see when they enter a structure is, there’s going to be fire inside. They’re going to have smokey conditions,” said Funkhouser.

Another scenario finds firefighters forcing entry into a home.

“We have this large door here. We have these wooden chocks. We can actually take these chocks and slide it into the door and we can change the thickness of the wood, depending on how much we want them to struggle to get in,” explained Funkhouser.

A four-story high tower rises from one side of the building. That’s where firefighters practice rope exercises.

“We’ve been able to hone our skills in on rope rescue, being able to repel from the tower. Soon, hopefully, we’ll be doing our live fire scenarios inside there. Which, you can’t get that kind of training anywhere else,” said firefighter Sean Campbell.

There are two locations in the building where real fires can safely be set. Training with live fires will begin within the next month. The Bargersville Community Fire Department has been using the facility for the past few weeks. However, on Wednesday, students used it for the first time.