These Hartselle firefighters get ready to participate in a live fire training exercise in a mobile Alabama Fire College Trainer on Thursday. Pictured are training officer Lt. Ryan Kaser, second from left, and Capt. Phillip Kelso, Lt. Lee Hemming and firefighters Dusty Holbert and Toby Houser. | Clif Knight
These Hartselle firefighters get ready to participate in a live fire training exercise in a mobile Alabama Fire College Trainer on Thursday. Pictured are training officer Lt. Ryan Kaser, second from left, and Capt. Phillip Kelso, Lt. Lee Hemming and firefighters Dusty Holbert and Toby Houser. | Clif Knight

Archived Story

State’s mobile trainer used in Hartselle

Published 12:12pm Thursday, May 9, 2013

Hartselle firefighters were able to complete another phase of their continuing education training last week thanks to a live fire mobile trainer on loan from the Alabama Fire College in Tuscaloosa.

The automated, 10×80 ft. trainer, which has been in use for about two years, is capable of simulating a structure fire complete with man-made smoke and flames produced by propane gas. It can produce heat up to 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Alternating in shifts, Hartselle’s 20 full-time firefighters and 10 volunteers went through the trainer while it was located on a vacant lot owned by Jim Norman on East Chestnut Street.

Hartselle Fire & Rescue’s Lt. Ryan Kaser, one of only a few firefighters in the state certified to operate the trainer, served as training officer. Using a handheld remote control, he was able to control conditions inside the trainer from start to finish.

“This is something new to most of our firefighters because a mobile trainer was not in use when they attended Fire College,” Kaser said. “We’re fortunate to have access to it because it does a good job of simulating a structural fire under controlled conditions.”

He said the walls and doorways inside the trainer could be reconfigured to create a different scenario for firefighters as they work their way through the trainer. Two firefighters work their way through the trainer as a team. It takes about 10 to 15 minutes for them to complete the training mission.

The trainer was opened to Morgan County’s volunteer firefighters and several departments participated, according to Hartselle Fire Chief Steve Shelton.

“You have to request the use of the trainer ahead of time and we wanted to share it with the volunteer fire departments in Morgan County because they’re so good to help us when we need them,” he pointed out. The trainer was provided to us for a week at no charge. The only thing we had to do was to assume responsibility for the safety of the firefighters using it and furnish the fuel for its two propane tanks. We were fortunate to have ALGas furnish the propane at no cost to us.”

“This training will enable out personnel to maintain their CEO status,” he said. “It represents a savings to the city.”

Shelton thanked Norman for providing space for the trainer and other fire fighting equipment and Country EMS for standing by with an ambulance in the event of an emergency, which never occurred.

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