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Investing in Safety: New simulator under construction at Tampa Fire Training Grounds

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Investing in Safety: New simulator under construction at Tampa Fire Training Grounds

The Tampa Fire Training Grounds is undergoing a major upgrade that underscores the crucial need for increased funding of the Tampa Fire Department. A new fire tower is currently under construction.

The Drager Phase 5 Modified Multi Story System is an innovative training structure that will replace the Drager Phase Four burn simulator, which had been in service for more than a decade.

Since its establishment in 1978, the Tampa Fire Training Grounds has been a beacon of excellence in firefighter education, however, the reality is that over the past 45 years, minimal upgrades have been made to the facility. The most recent purchase, dating back to 2009, initiated a live fire program, showcasing the dedication to enhancing training capabilities.

The Drager Phase 5, expected to be completed the week of September 11, is comprised of 15 modified shipping containers, including burn chambers capable of exposure to extreme temperatures, cold chambers, a tower and an elevator shaft to practice responding to fires in high rises, repelling points, and confined space training areas.

Various training scenarios can occur within the controlled environments, including Rapid Intervention Training, Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) exercises, inspection and academy drills, as well as using specialized props for forcible entry, multi-story window rescues, and more.

"This upgrade to the Drager Phase 5 is exciting. It marks a significant milestone for our department, but it is a call to action for our community and stakeholders,” said Tampa Fire Rescue Chief Barbara Tripp. “We need additional ALS rescue vehicles, more firefighters, modern technology to expedite response times, and the improvement of outdated stations and equipment to better serve our community.”

As part of Tampa Thrives, the proposed Fiscal Year 2024 budget, a request for an additional 30 new firefighters, 5 new ambulances, and station improvements was included.

“Our firefighters need the best training, adequate staffing, and modern equipment to effectively respond to emergencies,” said Mayor Jane Castor. “Better equipping them means ensuring their safety and the safety of all our Tampa residents.”

Read the full 2024 budget proposal.