PIQUA — Piqua public safety personnel have begun utilizing the former Piqua Water Treatment Plant. Both the fire and police departments are regularly holding training exercises at the facility located on St. Rt. 66.
When the City of Piqua opened the new water treatment facility just north of the old plant, the question of the fate of the old property was on the minds of city officials.
It was decided that the site would be suitable for fire training exercises and a partnership was formed with the Bowling Green State University Fire School, opening the door for the property’s future.
Spearheaded by firefighters Eric Wood and Doug Stewart, the facility is rapidly becoming what Piqua Fire Chief Brent Pohlschneider called, “the Disneyland of training scenarios” and is now designated the Piqua Public Safety Regional Training Center.
While most think of “fire training” as being associated with smoke and flames, the fire department actually is responsible for far more than putting out fires. Performing rescues of citizens from high water, confined spaces, and tall structures are only a few of the tasks that firefighters might face in the course of a shift.
Wood said that much of the training focuses on “Low frequency, high risk” situations.
On Thursday, firefighters met at the facility to do confined space training. In the past, this sort of training was usually held on a city street and utilizing a storm drain and manhole. The new PPSRTC allows firefighters to train year around, in any weather, and offers nearly unlimited training scenarios.
Future plans include utilizing the large and deep water storage pools for dive and water training and the addition of a “burn building” to work on firefighting techniques.
The property is proving invaluable to law enforcement as well. Deputy Piqua Police Chief Marty Grove said that the facility has getting regular use by the Joint Piqua /Sidney Tactical Response Team. The team can practice everything from room clearing to stairway drills drills. Officers also train for low-light situations and other scenarios that keep skills sharp. Grove said the facility is perfect to training using simunition, a non-lethal round, similar to a paintball, that is fired from duty type weapons.
Eventually, the facility will be utilized for training with, and for, other area departments.
Reach Mike Ullery at firstname.lastname@example.org
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