Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Fire Towers Purchased with PG&E Funds Provide New Training Opportunities for Local Fire Departments


The following is a press release issued by the County of Mendocino:

The new fire tower at the Hopland Fire District [Photo by Matt LaFever]

Settlement funds received from Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) are being put to good use in Mendocino County. Money provided to local fire agencies by the County of Mendocino has been used to purchase and install training towers in Hopland, Manchester and Laytonville.

The towers, built and installed by Affordable Drill Towers out of Austin Texas, are 13ft by 18ft, 5 stories high with a top floor at 32ft. These towers provide several anchor points to allowing firefighters to practice high-angle rescue. Additionally, the towers can be used to conduct ladder drills, fire hose usage through a 2 ½ inch standpipe that provides water to three levels of the structure, and training with fire suppression systems like fire sprinkler heads. Training with fire sprinkler heads and high-angle rescue are particularly valuable, as there are limited opportunities to train without access to these types of specialty towers.

These facilities will be available regionally for various fire agencies throughout the County. Two additional large towers, also partially funded by the County of Mendocino’s PG&E fund allocation, should be installed within the next 8 to 9 months. The County Training Officers Association is developing best practices for use of the towers to ensure participants safety and maximize training opportunities.

When asked about the towers, Greg Smith, Assistant Fire Chief wanted to give special thanks to the team at Affordable Drill Towers and the County of Mendocino. He further stressed how important these towers will be for future training of local fire agencies during this period of high wildfire danger.

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  1. My father retired from the San Jose fire department after many years spent training fire fighters in a tower like this & he laughed at this article.
    How many sky scrapers do you see around Mendo? This type of traing is for inner city fire crews who mostly respond to fires in high rise structures, not homes & forest/wildland fires. Or two to three story buildings at most like we have here.
    This area has so much space that we don’t need to build tall structures, we can build them wide which makes more sense, is cheaper, & safer.
    It’s the wrong type of training in the wrong place, and as he called it, “a waste of funds.”
    That’s the opinion of a retired 35 year San Jose fire captian who was often called “the most experienced & toughest fire fighter in the entire city” by his subordinates.
    Many of these men claimed they owed their lives to the experience he shared with them.
    That’s a city of over 2 million people. I’d imagine he has some idea of what he is talking about.

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MendoFever Staff
MendoFever Staff
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