New Facility Available For Critical Fire Training Published Nov. 8, 2009 By Staff Sgt. Jeremy McClure 185th Public Affairs Sioux City, Iowa -- Using axes and pry bars, members of the 185th ARW Fire Department forced open the door to find a darkened room full of smoke. Water rained down from a sprinkler head covering everything and everyone with water. Firefighters from the 185th pushed their way into the room and with every member working in concert, they began the task of ensuring the fire was out and clearing the deadly smoke out of the building. This dramatic scene played out in the new Siouxland Regional Fire Training Academy (SRFTA) located on the Southwest corner of the air field. The SFRTA has a multiple story tower to give firefighters a place to learn and maintain critical skills in a safe practical environment so they can better protect lives and property at the 185th. Members of the 185th Fire Department were training to deal with plugging a discharging sprinkler head and clearing smoke from the building with Hydraulic Ventilation. This type of ventilation was accomplished by spraying their high pressure hose out a window to draw the smoke out. "Before the tower became available to us, we had to simulate a lot of this," said 185th Firefighter Master Sgt. Mike Peters. "There is a big difference between dragging a charged hose and an empty one." The Fire Fighters also practiced repelling down the side of the multipurpose tower. Also featured in the tower are two burn rooms, movable walls, functioning sprinkler heads, and the ability to fill every floor up with training smoke. Rescuers can also practice breaking through walls and ceilings that have been set up to be repaired quickly. The SRFTA is operated in cooperation with Western Iowa Technical Community College and the Sioux City Fire Department. Future plans for the SRFTA include a live burn car and dumpster. Firefighters are constantly training to remain sharp with their firefighting and other lifesaving skills. Having facilities like the SRFTA provide those opportunities not only to the 185th firefighters, but other local area firefighters as well. "We are looking to facilitate training with area volunteer fire fighters as well," Peterson added. "And this will help us learn things from them and maybe they can learn some things from us."