The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

March 10, 2013

Towering concerns: EFD, Autry Tech project needed

Autry Technology Center and Enid Fire Department are working on a project that could save lives.

They are working on securing funding to build a fire training tower at Autry Tech, a regional fire training center with a dedicated burn building, skills development building, classroom and storage space.

The thing the Autry center lacks is a fire training tower.

Officials say they need $513,000 to build the five-story tower. So far, some $150,000 has been committed. Autry Tech and EFD are working with local industry to raise the money.

Autry Tech was one of the first regional fire training centers in the state, and it’s the only one without a tower. In fact, in all of northwest Oklahoma, there is no such tower available for training.

Firefighters in northwest Oklahoma could use a training tower. Every town in the area has at least one tall structure — the community’s grain elevator — so such training would be invaluable.

Firefighters could use the tower to train for technical rescue scenarios, which could include rescuing injured people from confined spaces, aerial and ground ladder rescues, or high-angle rescues that require hoisting or lowering rescue personnel.

Officials hope to have the necessary funds raised by the fall and the tower to be built by the end of June 2014.

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