Training complex to help Pa. firefighters reduce travel

The new training complex will include a burn building, a 40-foot rappelling wall, a confined-space maze to navigate, walls built for forced-entry training and much more


By Steve Marroni
The Evening Sun

ADAMS COUNTY, Pa. — Right now, just to keep some of their training up to date, and to get certified in critical areas of firefighting, Adams County emergency personnel have to travel.

That takes time, which is a hot commodity for the volunteer fire departments, said Bonneauville Community Fire Co. Assistant Chief Jerry Poland. Plus, it requires fire trucks to be taken out of the area.

Poland is also the president of the Adams County Volunteer Emergency Services Association, and the group is raising funds to construct a training complex in Adams County that will give firefighters all the training they need, and more — locally.

The organization hopes to have the pre-manufactured building installed at the Emergency Services Building on Greenamyer Lane, outside of Gettysburg, by spring.

Poland said the cost is estimated to be somewhere between $600,000 and $700,000, which includes money for a perpetual fund for maintenance and insurance for the next 30 years.

The new training complex will include a burn building, which can be ignited for live-fire training exercises, Poland said. These exercises are required in order for firefighters to be certified to enter a real burning building.

The complex will also have a 40-foot rappelling wall, a confined-space maze to navigate, walls built for forced-entry training and much more.

With classroom training already conducted at the Emergency Services Building, this new complex will allow firefighters to do everything here.

"It answers all of our training needs," Poland said. "Everyone is very excited about it."

Firefighters currently go to the Harrisburg Area Community College's main campus for the necessary burn-building training. The new facility will be much more convenient, Poland said, and safer for the community since fire apparatus will not be leaving the county.

"It's in a central location, and makes it easier for us to train," he said.

Hanover and Penn Township's fire departments have donated money to the project, and will train at the complex along with Adams County's fire departments.

The ACVESA was formed in 2000 when several similar organizations merged. The group has 23 member fire departments in Adams County, and five associate members. It's a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing quality emergency services to the county.

To donate
The Adams County Emergency Volunteer Services Association is raising money for a new training building that will allow firefighters to train and become certified locally. To donate, visit www.acvesa.org, and click the "donate" button.

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