Thanks to a donation from RescueAir, the Phoenix Fire Department’s new training center is equipped with a state-of-the-art FARS system.

RescueAir donated the system, along with on-going testing, certification, and maintenance, as part of its commitment to supporting firefighter life safety through education and training.

The training facility was completed under the leadership of former PFD Chief Bobby Kahn, whose vision of a practical, multi-purpose facility capable of meeting the department’s diverse training needs became a reality in 2010. It is considered one of the most innovative regional facilities in the country, offering several life-saving technologies such as FARS.

The facility includes a 6-story live burn center that replicates fire conditions inside a high-rise apartment or commercial structure. The FARS system is installed in the tower.

Here’s how it works: a propane-fed system, which is integrated throughout the building, delivers smoke and flame through a number of heavy props that resemble common residential and commercial decor such as computer desks, beds, kitchen stoves and sofas. Firefighters equipped with regulators control the fire from within the structure to ensure interior conditions remain tenable for training. To do this, subject matter experts operate props via a touch-screen control pad that’s connected to the specific prop by a cord that controls the intensity and duration of the heat and smoke.

For the first time in the department’s history, crews are able to train inside a structure under sustained fire conditions. This capability is invaluable in developing or refining fire-stream management skills, and familiarizing firefighters with all the tools available to them in a fire emergency, including the life-saving FARS system.