PRATT — Pratt City Fire Department Chief David Kramer’s vision to build a regional fire training facility in Pratt moved from the drawing board to an action plan when Pratt city commissioners on Monday unanimously approved $13,360 for the purchase of four storage containers that will be delivered from Kansas City.
“Our firefighters really enjoy the training,” Kramer said. “It is a critical aspect of the job, and we want to be able to attract regional departments who would like to train as well.”
Each of the containers is 40 feet long by 8 feet wide by 9 feet tall. When situated with three containers running lengthwise with the fourth forming a T-shape at one end, about 1,200 square feet of training space will be available, Kramer said.
Kramer said the proposed facility is modeled after an established training center in Wichita and provides an ideal floor plan for training for small commercial structures and house fires.
The units will be positioned on a concrete pier for stability, Kramer said, adding that the proposed facility wouldn't interfere with other use of the property, such as the street department using the site to wash equipment.
Kramer described the formation of the Wichita training site where the containers are set up like a two-story house to simulate realistic firefighting scenarios and said the goal is to add two more containers to the Pratt site, as budget allows, to make the structure two stories as well.
The site selected for the training center is a pie-shaped acre parcel of city-owned property just north of Pratt Community College.
Kramer said because of smoke and noise of training sessions, he spoke with adjoining property owners.
“There was absolutely no problem,” Kramer said. "We need to do some work to make sure the grade is right for drainage, but there really isn't any other use for that site and it would work just great for this type of training facility."
Commissioner Jason Leslie said he favored the plan for developing a regional training center.
“It’d be a great opportunity for surrounding communities to take advantage of,” Leslie said.
Kramer said the containers would arrive as soon as the construction site was deemed ready, and the city department was working with the ground preparation as weather allowed. Kramer said he expected the facility to be ready for use in the next few months.