Members of the communities of El Dorado Hills, Folsom and others came together over the weekend to celebrate the official opening of the newest addition to the El Dorado Hills Fire Department, a fire training center that is top notch in the local region.
This isn’t just a single structure make-shift training center or a tower, which is common in the community, it’s a state of the art facility that offers fire firefighters to train in realistic scenarios, utilizing real full size structures, streets and everything else that typically surrounds a real life neighborhood or structure.
Near the intersection of Bertelsen Parkway and Chief Fry Boulevard was the site of celebration on Saturday. Those are the street names within the training center, named after legends of the local department.
Those who came together for the event participated in the official public reveal for the center as well has had the opportunity to enjoy food and beverages, witness rescue and fire demonstrations and hear from local dignitaries that participated event Saturday.
Construction of the $12.5 million facility began back in March of 2022, next to El Dorado Hills Fire Station 87 which is located in the El Dorado Hills Business Park. What is considered the first phase of the facility is already impressive, inclusive of a streetscape complete with both two and three-story residential Class A fire training structures totaling approximately. The structures are part of the total 10,000 square feet in structures, which includes a 1,600-square-foot outdoor classroom facility, restrooms and plenty of room for expansion.
The structures replicate those of actual buildings in the region with multiple levels, balconies, yards and more. Inside they are laid out just like that of an actual structure with rooms, closets and more. Burn rooms inside create the actual flames and smoke that replicate a real situation firefighters could face on any day at any time.
“We wanted to create a training environment that’s as real as possible, I think we hit the bullseye,” explained El Dorado Hills Deputy Fire Chief Dustin Hall in a previous interview prior to Saturday’s grand opening and reveal.
While Saturday marked the “official” opening of the facility, it has already been put to use.
Just recently firefighters from around the region gathered for an intensive training session focused on Firefighter Safety and Survival exercises. This training was further enhanced by the participation of area chief officers who actively engaged in managing firefighter emergencies training.
According to a recap from the El Dorado Hills Fire Department, during the comprehensive event, firefighters honed their skills in search and rescue operations, particularly in the context of extracting a trapped firefighter. Simultaneously, chief officers, “fine-tuned their expertise in effectively managing emergency incidents involving firefighter-related emergencies.”
The training initiative was organized and executed by the Training Officers of the El Dorado County Fire Chiefs Association and, “underscored the commitment to providing the best training environment for our community’s firefighting,” according to the department.
That recent training involved a team of 10 instructors and 10 incident management students and benefited approximately 50 firefighters from various parts of the region. Among the participating agencies were the El Dorado Hills Fire Department, El Dorado County Fire, CALFIRE AEU, Diamond Springs Fire Department, and Cameron Park Fire Department.
Now that it’s up and running, the facility will not only be used by El Dorado County Firefighters but will become a destination for other departments across the region, including those in Folsom, Sacramento and others, to participate in comprehensive, realistic training sessions, from rescuing trapped individuals from the bedroom of a burning home to hazmat situations and more.