TMH Board backs proposed fire training facility, with a provision | CraigDailyPress.com

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TMH Board backs proposed fire training facility, with a provision

In other action …

At its regular meeting Thursday, The Memorial Hospital Board:

• Accepted, 7-0, a 2011 audit and cost report from Mike Rowe of Stockman Kast Ryan, the hospital’s auditing firm. The firm gave the hospital a clean audit opinion, which is “the audit opinion you want,” Rowe said. The hospital had a “very successful year” in terms of cash generation, collections and other areas, he said.

• Approved, 7-0, the reappointment of Bonnie Hampton to The Memorial Hospital Foundation board.

• Approved, 7-0, spending $125,000 in capital funds to renovate a portion of The Memorial Hospital Medical Clinic to make room for pediatric services. The money was originally set aside to move the hospital’s physical therapy services from Centennial Mall to the clinic, but the project was postponed in February when renovation bids came in too high.

Quotable

“I think it’s very reasonable that the board will assure you … that we would pay the associated cost for negligence on our part.”

— Chris Nichols, Craig Rural Fire Protection District Board secretary/treasurer, on concerns that smoke generated by a proposed live fire simulator could potentially shut down The Memorial Hospital’s air filtration systems.

A proposal to build a firefighter training facility south of The Memorial Hospital in Craig got a unanimous green light from the hospital board Thursday.

However, the board's support of the facility, which includes a live fire simulator, came with a condition.

"I support the project," Chief Executive Officer George Rohrich told Craig Rural Fire Protection District Board members at the meeting.

But, the CEO expressed concern that smoke generated by the fire simulator could interfere with the air filtration systems that feed into the hospital's operating rooms.

The system shuts down if clogged by smoke, and restarting it requires professional help, he said.

"This probably won't be a problem, but what if it was?" Rohrich said.

He recommended the board vote in support of the project with the proviso the fire board agree to reimburse the hospital for costs associated with restarting the filtration systems, should smoke from fire training shut it down.

"That just seems fair," Rohrich said.

Chris Nichols, fire board secretary/treasurer, agreed.

"I think it's very reasonable that the board will assure you … that we would pay the associated cost for negligence on our part," he said.

He later said the fire board would adopt a resolution to put the agreement in writing.

Byron Willems, Craig Rural Fire Protection District Board president, assured hospital members that the simulator would generate little smoke.

Only materials like hay, straw and wood pallets — which generally produce a light white or gray smoke — would be burned in the facility, he said.

The heavy, black smoke created by petroleum products is "not what you'll ever see from this training facility," he said.

He added that specialized insulation would prevent the simulator itself from being consumed during live fire trainings.

On days in which the wind blows toward the hospital, the simulator could burn other substances to further cut down on smoke.

The fire board has approved spending up to $1.5 million for the training facility, which also would include a tower standing about 55-feet tall in which firefighters could practice working in multi-story buildings.

Leftover Department of Local Affairs funds, along with money from a mil levy voters approved in 2006, would cover the cost of the training center.

"We fully plan on coming in under budget," Willems said.

Concerns about the hospital's ventilation system aside, Rohrich and other board members expressed support for the project.

"We certainly do look forward to a new neighbor on the hill," he said.

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