Fairfield fire training center hosts open house at new facility

FAIRFIELD — While it was nice in May to cut the ribbon to officially open the Regional Fire Training School, it was much more fun for Assistant Fire Chief Scott Bisson Wednesday.

That was the day Bisson, the director of the Capt. Joseph Elias Center on Richard White Way hosted an open house and was able to show off all aspects of the facility — including a multistory burn house, a confined space simulator, and a trench rescue simulator.

The event also featured vendors from various companies, from American Medical Response to companies selling handheld radios.

“It was pretty much an empty shell then,” Bisson said referring to the May event. “We’ve had about six months now to put the props together, and get things going.”

Among the props are power lines and poles — though there is no electricity running through those lines — in front of a multistory building, and a power line draped over a car. Firefighters can train to put out a car fire without actually having to set a car on fire as they have had to in the past, Bisson said. Instead, Hollywood-style smoke and a controlled propane tank are used to simulate the car fire. “It’s more environmentally friendly,” Bisson said.

The power lines in front of a cement block building mimic what firefighters might encounter when raising a ladder, he said, recalling how several Bridgeport firefighters were electrocuted once when their metal ladder came in contact with live power lines.

The open house, Bisson said, was also a way to reach to all the different first responder sectors, and let them know the training capabilities there, and to collaborate.

“The place to meet is before there is an event,” Bisson said. “Now is the time to meet and practice.”

He said they are seeing some “non-traditional” responders interested in training at the center. “We have some police officers from Norwalk looking here for a place to hold active shooter training, and the burn building is very conducive for that.”

The regional school was constructed with $11.8 million in state funding, and also offers training to emergency medical technicians. Fees for use of the classrooms vary, depending on the training type.

greilly@ctpost.com; @GreillyPost