GULF SHORES — Firefighters in Gulf Shores will soon get a new training facility intended to keep the city's top insurance rating, city officials said.The Gulf Shores Fire Department has the …
GULF SHORES — Firefighters in Gulf Shores will soon get a new training facility intended to keep the city's top insurance rating, city officials said.
The Gulf Shores Fire Department has the highest rating with the Insurance Service Organization, the group that rates fire departments across the country, Mark Acreman, Gulf Shores city engineer, said. He said fewer than 400 of the nation's 45,000 fire departments have a rating of 1.
"Only 1% of all the fire departments nationwide receive Class 1 rating," Acreman said.
He said the city needs a new fire training center to help keep that rating and the lower insurance rates resulting from the rating.
The city's previous fire training facility, located on the grounds of Gulf Shores Utilities treatment plant, was torn down recently after it became obsolete. The new facility will be built on the west end of West 38th Avenue.
Acreman said the new site will be centrally located for the fire departments in the area.
At press time on Monday, March 14, the Gulf Shores City Council was scheduled to approve a professional service agreement with Sawgrass Consulting LLC to design the new center at a cost of $72,185.
The new center will include a combat training tower, live fire training building, confined space training building, trench rescue training apparatus prop and outdoor classroom space, Acreman said.
He said the combat training tower can also be used for police training.
The city has $720,000 in a fire training facility account for the project. That amount is expected to pay for the design and about half the construction costs, Acreman said. The rest of the money, projected to be a total of $1.2 million, would be budgeted in the 2023 fiscal year as the project is completed.
Acreman said a new training facility is needed to maintain the department's ISO rating.
"The ISO rating is based upon how well equipped the fire department is to put out fires in its community," Acreman said. "This goes beyond just the equipment. It also encompasses all the training that's involved in establishing the rating and review of your fire department."
The training and preparation needed to keep the department's rating is vigorous, Acreman said.
"This facility will provide the training necessary for our fire department to maintain that Class 1 rating," he said. "So, we do have a desperate need for a new fire training facility."