June 25, 2015
Over the years we’ve had the opportunity to train in some great facilities. We’ve been given access to a kiln in a concrete plant, a pulp digester in a paper mill and a 60 ton gantry crane in a container port, just to name a few. We’ve also struggled to find good training sites to ensure that the training would be realistic, informative and challenging. With those lessons learned we started making plans to build a training facility that we could host clients in that would provide a realistic and challenging environment.
Occupying a portion of a former mill in the Warehouse District of Albany, NY we recently finished our confined space simulator and have hosted our first classes. The initial feedback we’ve received has been incredible!
The simulator was fabricated out of two 20ft shipping containers. In order to gain some height to provide a rappelling tower, one of the containers was shortened to 16ft and stood up on end. We’re taking full advantage of the 26ft ceilings.
The remaining 4ft section was placed in between the two larger pieces and will provide for some incredibly difficult scenarios as our students progress through their training. The sections of the container connect through the inside in various ways. Baffles and obstructions built into the larger open areas, making the simulator fully customized and scalable to the needs of our students. Interchangeable openings allow us to replicate any size and shape opening in any orientation.
The tops of the containers have been reinforced to provide support for multiple rescuers. Standard industrial railings have been installed around the entire simulator. A window prop and parapet wall have been framed out to provide state mandated firefighter bail out training and other training scenarios.
Industrial straight and caged ladders have been added to provide access to the tops of the “tanks” as well as training opportunities for performing rescue of a worker at height.
Ropes have been installed and hang from the framing members of the ceiling, providing a great place to practice ascending, descending and pickoffs. Plans are in progress to provide a full rope access training center which meets the standards of the Society of Professional Rope Access Technicians (SPRAT) and will be completed in the near future.
Scaffolding and tower sections provide a great platform to practice the rescue of a worker that has fallen onto their fall protection or of a daredevil climbing a bridge or local radio tower, unable to descend.
Being indoors extends the training calendar to a full twelve months a year providing an enormous amount of versatility to a client’s training agenda and eliminates concerns about training in adverse weather conditions. Our facility provides enough horizontal and vertical space for all aspects of rope rescue and working at height training as well as industrial and municipal firefighter training, Large Area Search, Mayday/Get Out Alive, fire extinguisher and many other disciplines.
Our instructors will be using the facility to keep their skills up to date and continue to learn and test new ideas and equipment. Think your team is where you want it to be? Schedule a drill or a workshop based on the needs of your team and come drill at an unfamiliar site. Watch for the CTR Rescue Challenge later this year and compete against other local teams.
It has been a lot of work and as with any big project, there is more work to come. We are looking forward to having students come and learn in this great space and to have our friends from the various industries we work with come and see our new facility where they can practice, play around or test out a new technique or piece of equipment. After all, the space is really an interactive classroom.