UK and Lexington Fire Department Partner to Train Firefighters
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 17, 2014) −The decommissioned Boyd Hall residence hall on the University of Kentucky campus was transformed into a training ground for firefighters Jan. 15 and 16. UK allowed the Lexington Fire Department to use the vacant building for training purposes prior to the building's demolition.
UK Fire Marshal Greg Williamson and Assistant Fire Marshal Jason Ellis were present at the simulation to help the fire department understand the building’s layout and infrastructure. Typically firefighters do not get the opportunity to see an area before responding to a call, but this training gave the Lexington Fire Department the advantage of becoming familiar with the campus coverage area.
“These are the buildings they are going to be responding to if we have a real emergency,” Ellis said, “so it’s better that we’ve got the opportunity to get them on campus for training.” .
The simulation helped the firefighters see and feel what an actual rescue might be like. The firefighters wore all of their gear, weighing in at more than 100 pounds and they walked up three flights of stairs with a hose full of water.
“They have burn barrels that they put a little hay in and they cover them up to create black smoke, the real smoke they encounter every day,” says Ellis about what the training entailed. Other areas of training included search and rescue, extinguishing fires and knocking windows out to ventilate the building.
UK’s relationship with the Lexington Fire Department is somewhat unique compared to other campuses across the country. “We have a very good working relationship with the fire department,” Williamson said. “A lot of places that we go and see throughout the country don’t want the fire department on campus.”
Since joining the UK Fire Marshal's office as assistant fire marshal in 1998, Williamson has worked to develop a close working relationship between the two departments. “Anything that we can do to help the fire department get this training we’re going to try to do it.”
This training exercise and the good relationship between the Lexington Fire Department and the UK Fire Marshal's office help further the partnership between UK and the Lexington community.