Fire District representatives to update TMH Board on proposed training facility Thursday |

Fire District representatives to update TMH Board on proposed training facility Thursday

Bridget Manley

The words "live fire simulator" conjure images of black smoke pouring from a burning building.

Yet, the fire simulator included in a proposed firefighter training facility south of The Memorial Hospital is different, said Byron Willems, Craig Rural Fire Protection District Board president.

"There's a concern that it puts out a lot of smoke," he said. "It really puts out very little smoke. … Actually, you get more smoke out of a wood-burning fireplace than you do out of our live fire training facility."

Willems and Chris Nichols, fire board secretary/treasurer, hope to clear up this and any other misconceptions about the training facility when they address TMH Board members Thursday.

The presentation will "help them understand exactly what we're projecting to build," Willems said.

"And, of course, we want to be good neighbors, so we're going to … let them understand what this building is used for," he said.

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The training facility is slated for construction on land donated by Colorado Northwestern Community College, and it would stand a few hundred yards south of TMH on Hospital Loop Way.

The fire board approved spending up to $1.5 million on the facility, Willems said.

Leftover Department of Local Affairs funds, along with money from a special mil levy voters approved six years ago, would cover the facility's price tag.

The training center would include a fire simulator and a tower 55 feet tall, which firefighters would use to hone skills needed to access or repel from high buildings, Willems said.

The tower itself would not be used for live fire training. Instead, fires would be limited to the simulator, which would not be consumed during controlled burns, thanks to specialized insulation in the walls and ceilings, he said.

Precautionary measures can reduce the simulator's smoke on days when the wind blows toward the hospital.

One option is burning a substance that produces "almost no smoke at all," Willems said.

Another is using a fog machine to imitate smoke produced in a structure fire.

A third possibility is routing natural gas into the simulator, although it's unclear whether that option will fit into the project's budget, Willems said.

TMH administrators have discussed the issue with fire board members, said Jennifer Riley, TMH chief of organizational excellence.

"That is something that they need to be aware of (and) we need to know about because should there be a lot of particulates in the air, it could potentially impact our air handling system," she said.

However, fire board members assured administrators the simulator "wouldn't create a problem, and they would also be mindful of the wind patterns and those types of atmospheric influences," Riley said.

The meeting begins at 6 p.m. in conference rooms A, B and C at TMH, 750 Hospital Loop.

The fire board also plans to schedule public meetings to offer residents more information about the training facility, Willems said.

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“Actually, you get more smoke out of a wood-burning fireplace than you do out of our live fire training facility.”

Byron Willems, Craig Rural Fire Protection District Board president, about a fire simulator included in a proposed training facility

TMH Board meeting agenda

When: 6 p.m. Thursday

Where: Conference rooms A, B and C, TMH, 750 Hospital Loop


• Call to order by chairman Don Myers

• Opportunity for public to address the board

• Agenda review

• Conflicts of interest

• Educational update:

— Upcoming educational opportunities

• Consent agenda:

— Approve Feb. 23 board meeting minutes

— Accept March 21 finance committee meeting minutes

— Accept March 12 TMH Foundation meeting minutes

— Accept March 13 medical staff meeting minutes

• Action items:

— Craig Fire/Rescue presentation by Byron Willems

— 2011 audit and cost report

— Medical staff privileges

— Pulmonary clinical privileges

— TMH Foundation reappointments and officers

— Philips lifeline

— Nuc Med dual camera: diagnostic imaging department

— Pitney Bowes mail machine

— Pediatric improvements/setup

— Financial assistance policy

• Discussion items:

— Hospitalist program update

• Reports:

— Chief medical officer/chief of staff report by Dr. Scott Ellis

— QHR report by Mitch Edgeworth, QHR region 9 vice president, and QHR financial representative

— Chief executive officer report by George Rohrich

— Chief quality officer report by Beka Warren

— Chief financial officer report by Bryan Chalmers

— Chief of excellence report by Jennifer Riley

— Chief nursing officer report by Lorraine Reinhardt

• Other business

• Executive session to discuss matters pursuant to contractual negotiations

• Adjournment