This page highlights how simulators were used in training in Eugene, OR .This page is intended for fire departments and nonaffiliated Emergency Medical Service organizations (EMS).
AFG Grant Provides Training and Equipment in Oregon
Due to the ongoing recession, resource funding for the City of Eugene has dramatically decreased over the past four years, forcing the city to reduce its general fund expenditure by $24 million, which greatly affected the city’s fire service. Over the past fiscal years, the Eugene Fire & EMS Department (EFD) had reduced its general fund budget by 7.41 percent or $1.7 million. This trend was expected to continue for at least two more fiscal years, so federal funding was crucial to the department. Luckily for EFD, they were approved for a 2012 AFG Grant for $612,480 that covered high priority training and related equipment.
The grant helped EFD purchase driver training simulators to provide preliminary driver training and evaluation to new and existing personnel. Also purchased were Electronic EMS Training Manikins to facilitate emergency medical training and evaluation for all personnel on a variety of EMS skills and scenarios in a controlled environment. The grant also allowed the department to upgrade an existing Airport Rescue Fire Fighting live fire trainer to facilitate local and regional live fire training for assigned airport firefighters and surrounding station back-up and response fire crews. Personnel was also able to attend Blue Card Incident Command Training to improve and standardize on-scene operations and regional safety.
“The cities of Eugene and Springfield have continued to struggle financially,” said Tim Cramblit, former Captain and current Project Manager/Grant Writer. “This project has helped ‘jump start’ our functional consolidation process by standardizing training and operations procedures.”
The Driver Training simulators, which provide a safe and controllable environment to introduce new personnel to emergency vehicle driving, provide training on command vehicles, ambulances, service vehicles and more.
“Better training equates to safer drivers and better service to the community,” said Cramblit.
The Emergency Medical simulators provide an opportunity to train new personnel on local protocols while also stressing teamwork and standardization of care for all personnel during EMS training exercises; the Blue Card Incident Command Training provides an opportunity to ensure that all officers, chiefs, and incident command personnel are proficient in standardized command operations and protocols; and the rebuilding of their existing old Aircraft Rescue Firefighting Trainer allowed the department to significantly extend the life of the valuable live fire training prop. It is used regularly to meet FAA-required live fire training requirements and adds an element of realism not previously available to responders.
“The prop also provides the ability to customize aircraft-related scenarios for fire, EMS, police and military safety training opportunities in a controlled, repeatable, safe environment while also saving training costs.”
EFD received their grant award in January of 2013 and all areas of purchase and training had begun by June. By December, all personnel training and upgrade projects were completed. All training props were placed into service as soon as possible after equipment purchase and orientation of trainers.
Cramblit states the addition of these props have improved training opportunities for EFD and other regional emergency services personnel while also saving considerable funding that would be needed to send personnel away to distant schools to acquire this training.
“The ability to provide this standardized training throughout the region has improved response capabilities and facilitated the integration and standardization of the two metro area fire departments,” he said.
With budget reductions a constant threat, Cramblit believes that many of their grant-funded projects would never have happened without AFG.
“AFG staff is very easy to work with and seems to be supportive of fire departments' efforts to improve safety and services to their communities,” he said. “We continue to apply for grant funding to support those areas that we may not otherwise be able to fund locally. Without grant funding, we would not be able to provide the level of services that we currently do.”