KANSAS CITY, Mo. — New tools that the Kansas City Fire Department has received will help firefighters do their job better.
It sounds and feels like the real deal, at the beginning of the new year Kansas City, Missouri firefighters will use a driving simulator to expand their skills sets from basics like backing into a station house to developing strategies.
“So, if we do a scenario like a building fire we can review ‘this was good placement’ or ‘maybe think about this type of placement,’” Battalion Chief Damon Barkley with KCFD’s Professional Development Department said.
It also gives rookies and new drivers within the department a chance to experience fleet while cutting down on risk.
"Because an ambulance might weigh 10,000 lbs, our pumper trucks 40,000 lbs, our aerials are above 60,000 lbs, so there’s quite a bit of difference with the weight and the feel especially if you factor in things like weather,” Barkley told 41 Action News Monday.
According to the National Fire Protection Association, last year more than 15,400 collisions involved fire emergency vehicles.
On Monday, Kansas City Police said a car clipped an ambulance that was transporting a patient at 25th Street and Benton Blvd. No one was injured.
“It’ll be a way to get us all together and talking about the experience that our guys — guys and gals — do have and add to it,” Barkley said.
The simulator is housed inside a trailer that will make its rounds to the different fire stations for training sessions.
“We can bring it to them hopefully save the city money, save the fire department money and just have a better delivery,” Barkley said.
In total, it cost $156,000 made possible through a FEMA grant.
They also received two other trailers.
One is dubbed the “Skills” trailer that focuses on training firefighters on how to navigate through different scenarios wearing 50 to 60 pounds of gear.
The other is the so-called “Burn Room” trailer that’s lined with stainless steel which allows them to get a fire going and lets them practice techniques such as a ventilation.
“Any little nugget that we can pass on to our firefighters then translates into helping our citizens and that’s why we’re here--is to keep them safe and to respond safely and effectively and just do it as good as we know how,” Barkley said.