Rapid City Legal and Finance approve fire training tower and burn room

RAPID CITY, S.D. – The Rapid City Fire Department got approval from the City Legal and Finance Department to purchase and build a fire training tower and burn room.

Brent Long

Brent Long, Division Chief of EMS Operations

The passing of Senate Bill 51 in the 2022 state legislature appropriated $2 million to the Department of Public Safety, for the purpose of providing firefighters training equipment and recruitment efforts statewide.  The Department of Public Safety is granting $850,000 of those funds to the Rapid City Fire Department to build a firefighter training facility.

The facility will serve as a regional training facility not only for the fire department, but also for other first responders, public safety officials, emergency response services, and dispatchers.

“This facility will not only be used for fire, but law enforcement will come out and do that. So when we do specific training with like the SRT team and making access into buildings and then we get to do joint training with them so that as law enforcement moves through, they can set up a scenario. We can have medical following them and behind you can have fire right on the scene. There’s even talk about Game Fish and Parks coming in and doing some of their training in our facility with a wildland component to that training grounds when it’s all completed. ” said Brent Long, Division Chief of EMS Operations.

“It will help us to not only train local firefighters but to train everybody in West River to be able to come out here and use these facilities,” he said. “Having a facility like this would allow us to be able to host large events like state fire schools and bring firefighters from all over the state.”

The city previously donated eight acres of land on South Creek Drive for the facility and construction of the tower should begin within the next year.

“It’s going to be an incredible training piece for the fire service, especially in western South Dakota where we don’t have anything like this right now,” said Long.

Senate Bill 51 also allocated $1 million for mobile live-fire simulation trailers to provide structure fire training to volunteer fire departments throughout the state and $150,000 for recruitment and retention of municipal and volunteer firefighters.

“Pretty much every volunteer organization in South Dakota, whether it’s fire or first responder or EMS, everybody is struggling for participants. People just don’t have the time anymore. And during this time of, you know, economic downturn, people are more interested and have to work and we have to support our families. And so everybody is looking for volunteers,” said Long.

Categories: Local News, South Dakota News