New Training Facility is a “Game-Changer” For Fire Department


As a Durango Fire Protection District captain, Jim Anderson is in charge of coordinating training sessions for his crews, and he says the new training facility next to the fire station in Bodo will be a game-changer for the men and women who respond to medical and fire emergencies in our community. Sponsored by Bank of the San Juans

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Durango Fire Protection District, Captain Jim Anderson, is as excited as a first-time homeowner when he looks at the construction underway on the new training facility, arising at the Bodo Park Station. That's because it will allow him to provide better and more complex training sessions to help his fire and emergency response crews become better at what they do. You're watching the Local News Network, First Responder Spotlight, celebrating the men and women who keep our community safe. Brought to you by the Bank of the San Juans, one big happy little bank, serving Durango, Colorado. Captain Jim Anderson started his emergency career as a volunteer for the Animas Fire Protection District when he was attending Fort Lewis College as a Business major. That was 25 years ago and he's been at the job ever since.

Every day is a little bit different. And yes, you get the opportunity to help the community but beyond that, I mean true... When you get to go and you make a difference in someone's day, someone who truly does not know what they're going to do because they're having the worst day of their life or something like that, it is very rewarding.

As Captain, he leads the shift crew he's on and manages the crews training schedule. Every crew trains at least once every 48-hour shift. One week, crews may focus on firefighting, the next week, maybe medical training. Other sessions may cover tasks specific jobs like victim extractions from a car wreck or breaking down barriers to fight a fire.

Ultimately, it's my job to coordinate our work with our training division and coordinate our trainings to get my crews through the training. And ultimately, I'm trying to do everything I can to make what they do for the community as successful as possible.

Anderson's training specialty is beginning firefighting, extractions or barrier busting, but he defers to other staff members who may have more expertise on a topic and becomes the trainee. He says, he's particularly excited about the new four-storey training facility under construction next to the Bodo Industrial Park Station on Shepherd Drive. The state of the art building and grounds will provide more realistic firefighting and emergency medical response scenarios than is possible now.

In one room, for example, I think it's going to be set up as a kitchen and it'll be all metal but it'll look like a kitchen with a stove top and encounters above it. One room is a bedroom and through the electronics in that room, we are able to light fires in those rooms that we can control if it's a small fire, if it's a large fire. And the crews will pull up on a truck outside, pull their hose lines, work their way into the fire room and extinguish those fires. This, having our own designated training facility, multiple floors, multiple props in there, it's going to be a game changer for us.

While he awaits for the new training facility to open, Anderson says he'd wish he could train drivers how to respond when they see red lights flashing ahead or behind them on the road.

So, when we get the call and we're running with lights and sirens to someone's emergency, one of the biggest frustrations we run into is cars not pulling over to the right. What we tend to see is people will change to the left lane, which is typically where we're trying to get to so we can get around traffic or people will just come to an abrupt stop in front of us and that's never a good thing too. So if I could harp on one thing and if I could educate, it would be pull to the right when you see emergency vehicles coming behind you.

So, move over drivers when you see an emergency response vehicle coming your way. Thanks for watching our First Responders Spotlight, brought to you by Bank of the San Juans and the Local News Network. I'm Wendy Graham Settle. Be safe out there.

There's a certain type of person that thrives in Colorado, strong, independent, fierce. We should know, we were born here. Bank of the San Juans, one big happy little bank.


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