The Saugatuck Township Fire District invites the public to a ribbon-cutting ceremony and unveiling of its new live fire training facility Wednesday, Aug 28, at its fire house, 3342 Blue Star Hwy., at 11 a.m.
The $111,764 structure, made of steel packing crates, was jointly funded by and will be used for training by Saugatuck, Holland, Fennville, Ganges, Hamilton and Graafschap department firefighters. Outside donors also contributed to the effort.
“Live training is essential to the health and safety of firefighters and their communities,” said STFD Chief Greg Janik.
“We will not just be training to put out fires. We will also improve skills in search-and-rescue; aerial (tower) operations; equipment use; strategies, tactics and techniques; and assisting downed firefighters.”
It is impossible. he noted, to anticipate how a firefighter will react inside a burning building. The thick toxic smoke, flames and heat generated by modern building materials can disorient even the most experienced firefighters.
This new burn house will enable departments to acclimate firefighters to the conditions experienced in a live fire. Project believe this will reduce the number of deaths to firefighters and civilians, reduce property damage, improve recruitment and retention, increase efficiency and morale, plus save taxpayers money through a reduction in lost-time injuries, and compensation claims.
This collaborative project, the first of its kind in southwest Michigan, has also been made possible through the support of Busscher Construction, Fleis & VandenBrink, the Padnos family, Allegan Community Foundation, What Not Inn, Mermaid Bar & Grill, Saugatuck-Douglas Foundation, Fae Wightman family, Hamilton Ready Mix, Shag’s Shop, Hamilton Truck Services, Tim Erlandson Construction, CHS Energy, S.A. Morman & Co., Star Rigging & Crane, Michigan Gas Utilities, SouthSide Body & Fabrication, and Holland Equipment Services.