The city of Brookings plans to determine the feasibility of building a fire training center adjacent to the Brookings Airport on land donated by South Coast Lumber.
The venture won’t be as simple as throwing up some portable building structures and gathering firefighters together, it was noted in a city workshop Monday afternoon.
Currently, the airport is still owned by Curry County, although the county and city are in negotiations to transfer that to the city. But there are logging interests in the area, as well as Federal Aviation requirements.
“This is kind of in its infancy,” said Fire and Rescue Operations Chief Jim Watson, adding that such a facility could benefit numerous emergency service entities in the area. “We don’t have a lot of other properties of at least an acre in size that people are willing to donate.”
Modern facilities often use Conex boxes — shipping containers — that can be adapted for training fire and medical personnel in an array of situations, including high-angle rescues, low visibility and intense heat, and rearranged into mazes in which firefighters must find “victims.”
Once the property is accepted, the fire department would then ask for help in site design — city Planning Manager Tony Baron was named as a likely assistant as he helped design the city’s Emergency Operations Center — and then the Federal Aviation Administration would get involved.
That agency, which already wants the existing road to go through a tunnel so vehicular traffic doesn’t interfere with airplane landings, is also undecided about log trucks that have used that road for decades, said City Manager Gary Milliman. It would evaluate the proposal based on an “obstruction analysis.”
“The concept of developing a fire training site is a good one,” Milliman said. “But would they have problems with fire trucks, like they have with logging trucks? First we need to see what hills needs to be climbed.”
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