Safest People, Safest Places

Fire service new training centre opens

new training centre

A new training centre for County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service (CDDFRS) has opened this week and courses are set to begin on Monday 17 August.

The 4.5 acre site in Bowburn, Durham, has modernised training provision and brought together the Service’s training facilities into one location. The state-of-the-art facilities include:

  • Fire behaviour training rigs that can demonstrate how flashover and backdraught conditions are created
  • Breathing apparatus search and rescue facilities replicating conditions encountered in homes, businesses and factories when fighting fires.
  • A 70m x 90m roadway with roundabout and junctions to create realistic road traffic collision scenarios
  • A four storey drill tower for ladder training and pump/hose drills
  • A working at height structure with pitched roofs, which includes a simulated crane cab with a winch to lower training manikins. This rig also includes a domestic room layout that enables training in bariatric related incidents
  • Two animal rescue trenches
  • Drainage interceptor tanks for training in the use of foam to extinguish fires
  • A high volume pump tank for flood response training
  • A large drill ground area and external briefing area
  • An auditorium for lectures and presentations as well as two meeting rooms
  • A breathing apparatus teaching area
  • A gym for fitness training and assessment

The new centre also includes impressive incident command training facilities. These facilities will not only be used by CDDFRS incident commanders but also by Durham Constabulary, which will use the Hydra Minerva suite to train and test their senior police officers in a range of incidents simulated via a control room on site.

Chief fire officer for County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service, Stuart Errington, said: “This new training centre will provide our firefighters and incident commanders with the facilities, conditions and challenges that they need to ensure they are equipped to respond to and manage an ever expanding range of incidents. The centre will bring all of our training in-house and cut travel time across the service reducing costs. Income generation is also possible through our arrangements with other organisations and businesses keen to use the facilities for their own training and courses through the CDDFRS Community Interest Company (The CIC).”

Discussions about the centre began in 2010 and the 18 month build, which was very specialised and technical, began in 2013.Despite cuts to Service funding, sound financial planning meant that the Fire Authority was keen to press ahead with the project; members carefully balanced the costs with the benefits of investing in training improvements for firefighters and commanders now and in the future.

The centre has also been future proofed and built in a way that expansion and changes to configuration would be possible should training facilities and requirements develop over the years.

The training centre will host its official opening on Tuesday 6 October.

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