BATTLE CREEK — The Calhoun County Land Bank Authority (CCLBA) announced today a partnership with the Battle Creek Fire Department to provide the department with vacant houses for trainings to help prepare firefighters for real-life rescues.
The CCLBA is providing the fire department a new permanent training house at 249 Parish Street, as well as several other houses to be used for training prior to demolition.
“By providing local firefighters with real houses to train in before they’re demolished, the Calhoun County Land Bank is making smart use of our resources and helping our firefighters be better-prepared to save lives and protect property,” said Christine Schauer, Calhoun County Treasurer and Chairperson of the Calhoun County Land Bank. “The Calhoun County Land Bank is enthusiastic about getting the most use possible out of these vacant houses and giving them new futures as training houses for the local fire department.”
About 75 firefighters trained in 15 houses provided by the CCLBA last year.
“By providing us with vacant houses to train in, the Calhoun County Land Bank enables our firefighters to experience training situations that are more realistic and more effective,” said David Schmaltz, fire chief at the City of Battle Creek. “We’re proud of our partnership with the Calhoun County Land Bank and we’re excited to put these buildings to good use training firefighters to save lives and protect property.”
Firefighters are able to fill up a training house with smoke, pull a charged hose line through the building searching for victims and practice proper laddering of a house. They also practice taking victims out of windows and doing breeches such as cutting ventilation holes in walls and roofs to simulate being trapped in a room and needing to do a self-rescue. The houses also can be filled with donated furniture, and firefighters can practice crawling around couches and checking bunk beds for survivors.
1-800-BOARDUP has helped secure the structures for use by firefighters. Those modifications include boarding up windows to prevent unauthorized damage to the building and putting hinges on the windows so they can be easily opened for simulations that include entering and exiting through a window.
The Calhoun County Land Bank Authority is a separate legal authority that collaborates closely with the Calhoun County Treasurer and local municipalities to eliminate blight, improve downtowns and promote local economic development.