Fire and Police Training Facility Is on 143 Acres in Charlotte, N.C.
A joint fire and police training facility on a 143-acre site is now in operation in Charlotte, N.C. Although more construction is planned, the fire training facilities include an academic building, a live fire training building and a drill tower.
The academic building, which covers about 2700 square feet, has offices for the fire and police training staffs and 10 classrooms, each of which will accommodate about 35 students. Two classrooms have tiered seating and rear screen projection facilities, and they all have storage areas where projectors can be operated. One classroom will be used as a library. Another classroom has a lab table for hazardous materials classes and other chemistry-related courses.
There is also a lecture room with 177 theater seats and a lecture platform with rear screen projection. A multipurpose room can be used as a student lounge or a classroom. In addition to kitchen facilities, the building has a physical training area with locker and shower facilities.
The 15-acre fire training area includes a 24-foot-square, six-story drill tower and a network of roads that can be used for driver training and making realistic hose layouts. There are nine hydrants in this area.
The training tower has a classroom and an adjoining sprinkler laboratory with a glass-enclosed wet room. The sprinkler lab has sprinkler risers piped to the wet room.
A testing lab also adjoins the classroom and testing equipment will be installed later. This lab will have portable and fixed extinguishing equipment and systems.
A two-level breathing apparatus lab in another section of the tower will have a maze that can be filled with smoke and it will also have a sound system to make the environmental simulation more realistic.
At the fourth level of the tower, a 36-inch-diameter pipe extends down two floors to provide training for rescue work in shafts, old farm wells and abandoned gold mines found in the Charlotte area.
A stair tower and elevator shaft are attached to and extend above the training tower structure, providing a seventh-floor observation area. From here, the entire training area can be observed. The observation tower parapet represents an eighth-floor level for the use of aerial equipment.
The elevator has fire department emergency controls and it will be used in training fire fighters for working in high-rise buildings and doing elevator rescue work.
The training tower has two standpipe systems and although it is not built for fires, smoke can be pumped into its training areas. There is electric power throughout the tower, and the classroom and labs have heating and air conditioning. There are also toilet facilities in the tower.
Fire training building
Not far from the tower is a three-level structural fire training building designed to withstand 1000°F to 1300°F temperatures. On one level, it has the characteristics of a dwelling and at other levels, it simulates a mercantile building and an apartment house. Cutout hatches in the roof permit actual use of various types of cutting equipment during training. There also are facilities for forced ventilation. Drainage from the fire building goes underground to a separator for oils and other pollutants.
Immediate plans call for the construction of a flammable liquids and gases training area with burning facilities for training in aircraft, storage tank, transportation and electrical fires.
The next phase in the development of the fire academy calls for the construction of an ordnance disposal area where explosions and chemical reactions can be observecd, a storage building and another academic building.
There is a lake on the site and a road across a dam is used as the drafting and pump testing site. There also are plans to erect pump test stands.
Plans for the 1977-78 fiscal year call for developing a driving course that can be used for training in precision pursuit driving and code 3 driving.
The Charlotte Fire Department coordinates its training activities with Piedmont Community College, which allows the fire department to develop courses, select instructors and schedule the courses. Through this coordination, courses continue to be taught at fire stations as well as at the academy.
Under an agreement continuing this relationship, the college will furnish much of the laboratory equipment and, in fact, is now buying and installing lab equipment at the fire academy. In addition to the sprinkler, materials testing and extinguishing systems labs mentioned earlier, there will be fire simulator, automated alarms, chemistry of fire, and hydraulic and water distribution labs.
These facilities will be used not only by the Charlotte Fire Department, but also by Mecklenburg County volunteer fire departments, industrial fire brigades and factory emergency organizations.