MANCHESTER, MO. (KPLR) – Inside of the West County Ems and Fire Advanced Center of Excellence, innovation is the name of the game. We found a fire in a trashcan, toaster and microwave there's also a tornado and earthquake brewing. All of the events are controlled and simulated by an iPad. The simulations are some of the many exhibits visitors will encounter while during a tour of the center. Fire chief Ernie Rhodes says he's proud of the new facility.
"There are two parts to this facility, one this side is the safety house we really want to teach children and adults in the home how to be safe" said Rhodes.
The 7,000 square foot facility, costs taxpayers $4.5 million dollars. An investment Chief Rhodes says is well worth it. There are only two other facilities like it in the U.S. our cameras got a firsthand look at what the new training center has to offer. Interactive touch screens show minute long videos on each piece of emergency equipment, along with tips on how to stay safe. Computerized simulators also give you a sense of real life experiences, like driving in bad weather conditions. They also have man-made caves for underground rescues.
"We teach the other firefighter’s paramedics and the officers how to improve in their performance while doing their job. It’s built to be conducive to learning. “said Rhodes
The new fire house opened September 29 and is expecting their first group of students in the next few weeks. Firefighters from across the St. Louis Metro will reap the benefits of the new and innovative facility.
"If we can get the small kids here and teach them about the hazards in the home and how to save themselves in a fire or prevent an injury and accidents and they don't have to call use we've done our job." he said.