High tech fire supression training hits FM

A Fort Madison firefighter works the new fire extinguisher training equipment now at the Fort Madison Fire Department. The digital board and laser extinguisher teach people how to correctly extinguish a fire. Lt. Neal Gathers is in the background.








FORT MADISON – The Fort Madison fire department has a new tool that will simplify in-house fire extinguisher training.

At Tuesday’s Fort Madison City Council meeting, Fire Chief Joey Herren had three firefighters on hand to demonstrate a new digital fire suppression training system that can be used for in-house training.

The new $15,000 Bullex training system is a high-tech digital system that has a digital display of different classifications and then a laser light from full-size battery operated fire extinguishers.

The extinguishers show a green laser circle on the digital board that shows a moving flame and then sensors indicate how efficient the digital circle is at putting out the flame.

“We did extinguisher training around the city for different groups and factories and always had to haul a pan around and have a live fire and created a mess where we were at. And they saw this project and asked to run with it,” Herren said.

“Always had to have nice weather and adxjust for wind and then clean up the extinguisher foam and we saw this idea and thought it would be a nice thing to add to all the training we do in town,” said Lt. Neal Gathers. “We can do this in the winter and even do this inside.”

Eng. Chad Hannum said the new technology will making training cleaner, safer and more efficient.

“We saw employees that were hesitant, we’re firefighters so we’re used to it, but some people at the trainings wouldn’t go near the live fire and this eliminates that,” Hannum said.

He also listed 22 organizations that helped raised funds for the $15,000 project. Herren said about $12,000 of the cost came from donations and he said he had room in the budget to absorb the rest of the cost, but that donations could still be coming in.

Hannum also said the equipment can be used by remote or by an iPad which would allow companies who want empl0yee training to put in a roster that would track the employee’s performance on the computer.

Herren said because the project was funded privately, the cost of the training would virtually be eliminated.

In other action,

  • The council had the first reading of an ordinance to move the Fort Madison City Council meeting times from 7 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. The move would still require an additional two readings before becoming official.
  • the council voted to approve a resolution to get bids, hold a public hearing and begin reconstruction of 15th Street from Avenue B to Ridgewood Road. The work is scheduled to begin in April and be reopened in June.
  • the council voted to approve a 4th Street Combined Sewer Separation project as part of an EPA required project that will be done by city employees.
  • the council voted to purchase a 3/4 ton and 1-ton pickup for the city water and sewer departments from Jim Baier Ford in Fort Madison at a cost of $52,355.

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