Shipping containers create adaptable, affordable training grounds for fire crews

Local

Six shipping container boxes currently sit on the grounds of the Wichita Fire Department training center property. Firefighters with construction and welding skills are transforming them into what functions as a two-story home for training.

“Every room in the shipping containers are burnable. So we can set fires in there and try to mimic what our people are seeing out on the street,” battalion chief Kelly Ross said Thursday.

WFD currently has a training tower with multiple stories at its training center, but Ross said training towers can cost over a million dollars.

The new structure being built to hone firefighting skills will cost a fraction of that in the end, partially due to WFD employees using their skills to make it work.

“We’re blessed with many, many talented firefighters both in the training and operations division that have been putting in additional efforts to make this be succeessful,” captain Mark Misek said.

On Thursday afternoon, two firefighters worked on welding and construction of the inside of the containers. 

“When we have training facilities where they have to rely on imagination to simulate a bedroom or simulate a kitchen, then we can’t focus on the technical skills that need to be developing,” Misek said.

The two-story unit should be finished in a month before it undergoes a series of test burns.

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