Firefighters in a multi-county area are benefiting from a fire training building located on the grounds of Station 3 of South Haven Area Emergency Services (SHAES). Constructed in 2012, the structure is a joint initiative of SHAES and the Bangor Community Fire Department. It was made possible through generous financial and in-kind contributions from several corporations, businesses and individuals.
In addition to providing a facility that provides job training for aspiring firefighters and EMT's, the structure is designed to enhance life saving skills for current members of fire departments in Allegan, Berrien and Van Buren counties.
Training in the past, often done in abandoned structures, exposed firefighters to the toxic products of combustion. The controlled environment of the training facility has removed those hazards.
The structure consists of three specially adapted metal cargo containers for live fire training. While keeping training evolutions as realistic as possible, there is an emphasis on doing it safely through constant oversight by state-certified fire instructors. During training, the facility is evaluated through a computerized heat-monitoring system. The design of the facility goes beyond fire training. It is utilized for employee fitness regimes, practicing high-rise rescue techniques and doing safety egress from roof simulations.
During the annual Fire Safety Fun Night in October it is used for demonstrations.