There is a fully involved residential fire in your city, the bite is, the fire team is on their way, and you are the fire captain in charge of managing the entire crew and saving civilian lives.

Professional firefighters across Utah will have more preparation for scenarios such as this because of the new mobile training facility recently presented by the Utah Fire & Rescue Academy (UFRA). UFRA unveiled their new Mobile Command Training Center (MCTC) at a ribbon-cutting ceremony held at 2:30 p.m. on Aug. 13 at their UVU- affiliated facility.

“This is the place that we want mistakes to be made rather than out in the field where people will get hurt,” said Hugh Connor, the Director of UFRA.

The technology available in the MCTC mirrors that of the fixed Command Training Center (CTC). By taking photographs of selected buildings, a realistic computer simulation can be made based on specific learning objectives which allows the incident commanders to practice making urgent decisions without mortal consequences.

“Coming from a professional firefighter’s perspective where safety is paramount, not only is it important to train the firefighters but their bosses as well, who will be making decisions for them in hazardous situations,” said State Fire Chief’s Chair Brad Wardle. “It is important that they understand limits so that when curve balls are thrown at them they’ve got the fundamentals down.”

With this new facility over 7,000 volunteer and full-time firefighters across Utah will be able to access training on a regular basis, increasing their emergency preparedness and eventually saving lives.

“The course would typically be requested by at least 12 officers. After going through the online portion which we can track, and passing a final exam, they come into the MCTC and are ready to go,” Connor said.

Although awarded a $500,000 grant from the State Fire Prevention Board to construct the facility, UFRA came in significantly under budget, the rest of which will subsidize other pending costs.

“I knew I’d be impressed but it exceeded my expectations in terms of what we are offering here, both in the number of students we are accommodating and the quality of programming that we’re providing,” said President Holland. “It is an excellent manifestation of students engaged in real world problems. I’m not surprised that these programs get rave reviews after seeing the facility and talking to the personnel involved.”