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Ribbon Cutting Opens Regional Emergency Response Training Center

By Staff | Apr 8, 2008

FACING THE ENEMY - Firefighters from across the state took part in the Iowa Lakes Regional Fire School over the weekend at Iowa Lakes Community College. More photos from Fire School can be found on pages 13 and 14 of The Reporter. -- Dan Voigt photo

The ribbon was cut and the new Regional Emergency Response Training Center at the Emmetsburg campus of Iowa Lakes Community College was officially dedicated Saturday afternoon, April 5. The ceremonies were held in conjunction with the annual Iowa Lakes Regional Fire School and EMS Conference, held Saturday and Sunday in Emmetsburg.

The Regional Emergency Response Training Center was built thanks to two grants from the state of Iowa – in 2006 and 2007. The facility will be used by area firefighters and paramedics as a training facility which simulates the risks that all emergency personnel, fire fighters, emergency medical responders and law enforcement officers, can face during a fire or other emergency situation.

Several officials presented remarks in ceremonies in the student center of the college prior to the actual ribbon cutting. Among those speaking were State Senator Jack Kibbie and State Representative Marcie Frevert, who were both very involved in the grant process that made the facility possible.

Randy Novak, Bureau Chief of the Iowa State Department of the Fire Service Training Bureau and Jim Kenkel of the Iowa State Fire Marshal’s office were on hand to praise Iowa Lakes for the facility and to emphasize the importance of such training facilities.

Iowa Lakes Community College was represented by Lynn Kueck, representing the Board of Trustees of the college; Dr. Harold Prior, president of Iowa Lakes; Tom Brotherton, dean of the Emmetsburg campus; and Steve Dobbins, programmer of Fire and EMS training.

The Regional Emergency Response Training Center building features a three-story tower for first responders to practice rappelling and life saving skills from a rooftop, as well as a residential section with a varied pitch roof and the ability to practice attic ventilation during a fire. The ground floor of the structure features a single story unit that houses a large burn room. The second story features a smaller burn room and movable walls so first responders may change the configuration of the facility and staircases that will help enhance fire fighters’ hose work skills and help First Responders hone their lifesaving skills.

All training exercises in the facility can be conducted in controlled circumstances to provide the utmost in realistic conditions, while allowing the safest possible conditions for the responders.

The Emmetsburg facility is one of only 11 centers in the state and it is also the only such facility in Northwest Iowa. Also receiving funding through these grants was Northwest Iowa Community College, which works cooperatively with Iowa Lakes with a training trailer they purchased with their portion of the funding.

Construction on the facility began in the summer of 2007, with Christensen Construction of Estherville serving as the contractor for the project. An upgrade was added to the building to extend the life of the facility, which is located on the west edge of the main campus complex, in a former soybean field.

According to Dobbins, the facility was used on Saturday for a rope rescue class from the Regional Fire School. Plans for an “initial burn” in the burn rooms of the facility are being worked out for later this spring.