Local media and members of council got a unique opportunity to step into the boots of a firefighter for a day on Monday, thanks to a tour of the new fire training grounds by members of the Grand Forks Fire/Rescue.
The tour and live fire demonstration on Monday afternoon was an initiative of the department to show off the group’s new fire training facilities, the second phase of three which was completed in the spring.
Fire Chief Dale Heriot said he has been working on the training grounds since 2008, but the first phase started to come together in 2013.
The fire training grounds feature a burn building in addition to several fire props, allowing the department to practice multiple types of fire scenarios.
The project was funded over the years with grants from the Phoenix Foundation and through the fire department’s budget, Heriot said.
Phase two, which was installing the gas line and props, was completed in 2016 into this spring.
Heriot said that within the next two years he is hoping to embark on phase three of the project, which is getting a water line and a classroom installed. That will allow the team to work on classroom learning before heading out to practice their skills in the training environment, as well as eliminate the need to bring the water truck to the grounds each time.
Heriot said he wanted to show off the facility so the public can understand how critical it is to the community.
“How much work it is, and how much training is involved,” Heriot said. “I sometimes don’t know if the volunteers get the appreciation they deserve, because of the time and effort they put into doing what they do to protect the community.”