ENID, Okla. —
Dallas Krout, Business and Industry Services coordinator for Autry Tech, said demand for training rural firefighters is high.
“We train a large number of volunteer firefighters,” Krout said.
He said Autry already serves as the primary training facility for volunteer firefighters in northwest Oklahoma, but demand would increase with addition of the training tower.
“If we’re going to be the major regional training center, it’s important that we have the facilities sufficient to meet their needs,” Krout said. “The important thing is that we can expand training to more firefighters. There are a lot of firefighters who need this tower training, but they don’t have a place in northwest Oklahoma to receive the training. If we build this tower, they’ll be coming to Enid to get their training.”
James Strate, superintendent at Autry Technology Center, said Autry is partnering with EFD and local industry to raise $513,000 needed to build the new fire training tower. He said about $150,000 in funding already has been committed.
“It’s going to be a partnership of the whole community, and we’re going to get there,” Strate said. “It’s critical for our community and for our ability to offer safety training.”
“If you can save one life, it’s worth the $500,000,” Strate said. “You can’t put a price on that.”
Strate said the benefits of the new training tower will extend to communities beyond the local area.
“This isn’t just an Enid and Garfield County deal,” Strate said. “This is about north-central and northwest Oklahoma. We’ve talked about it long enough. Now, we need to do it.”
Strate said he plans to have the funds raised by this fall, and the tower built by the end of the fiscal year next June.