Ohio is building a training facility to help first responders with real-world rescues

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Statehouse News Bureau) — The state of Ohio is building a new training facility for firefighters – to prepare them for the kinds of real-life situations they get on the job.

Firefighters from Madison Township in Franklin County prepare to train on battling a blaze inside a structure on the campus of the State Fire Marshal in Reynoldsburg east of Columbus.
Firefighters from Madison Township prepare to train inside a structure on the campus of the State Fire Marshal in Reynoldsburg. A two-story house with electricity, heating and ventilation is being built nearby to simulate conditions that firefighters will face on the job. [Karen Kasler | Statehouse News Bureau]
It’ll be a two-story, wood framed, 1500 square foot house that’ll cost $300,000, and it comes with electricity, heating and ventilation – just like the structures where most fires happen. Fire Marshal Kevin Reardon says it’ll be built on the training campus in Columbus next to the structures they now use that were built more than half a century ago.

“We’re training the next generation firefighters on this type of a resource that we’re making do. But it’s not the best ideal situation moving forward. We need to build the latest, greatest, biggest, baddest training facility because Ohio firefighters deserve that. And beyond that, the citizens of Ohio deserve to have the best trained firefighters.”

There are about 38,000 firefighters in the state of Ohio, and last year about 10,000 of those were trained at the Columbus campus or worked with state instructors. The training does cost fire departments, but Reardon said the goal is to make training free for volunteer fire departments.

Gov. Mike DeWine said this kind of scenario-based training is so important that he wants police officers to have a similar training campus too, and a dedicated fund to make sure they have the money for that training.

DeWine said the budget includes about $40 million for police training, but he says that dedicated fund would ensure money is set aside in every budget.