Miles City Fire and Rescue crews no longer have to travel across the state to receive specialized fire and rescue training opportunities.
A new $250,000 Fire Training Center in Miles City now allows MCFR crews to simulate live fires, helping improve firefighting skills and the treatment of burn victims, the department said in a press release. The center is expected to draw crews from across Eastern Montana. The new training center is on a one-acre site directly behind the fire station at 2800 Main St. in downtown Miles City.
Miles City Fire and Rescue responds to more than 1,500 calls per year for fire protection, emergency medical service and community service, and employs 14 full-time and up to 20 part-time employees. Battalion Chief Mike Miller said he has felt a need to create a better local training facility that would not only increase the crew’s access to specialized skills, but also save the city money.
“This new center is a critical training ground that will allow us to serve counties across Eastern Montana, " Miller said. "We’re currently the only department in the region, aside from Billings, that does specialized rescue like ice and swiftwater rescue. …The new facility will allow us to bring credentialed instructors in for on-site training for less than half the cost of sending our crews out. It saves the city money, and it will expand the scope of service we’re able to provide to this community and others.”
Miller said he worked with city officials to explore several financing options for the new Fire Training Center, including grants, a mill levy and recruiting local businesses for financial support. In the end, he obtained a long-term, low-interest loan from MoFi, a nonprofit community lender that provides financing to businesses and projects including community facilities.
The new training center was constructed by Fire Training Structures LLC, a Phoenix, Arizona-based company that builds custom training structures made from ISO freight containers.
To find out more about Miles City Fire and Rescue, visit milescityfirerescue.com.