Friday, July 23, 2010
Calgary Fire Department boasts new training facility, water reclamation project
Today, the Calgary Fire Department’s (CFD) Training Academy introduced new training capabilities to further support its world-class training operations when it announced the opening of both its Water Re-use Project and ATCO Village - a scenario-based one-of-a-kind ‘community,’ in partnership with ATCO Gas.
Through the development of a naturalized water treatment and re-use system, the Fire Department’s Training Academy is essentially removing its water-use footprint from its training exercises, saving up to 150 million liters of water annually.
Another welcome addition to CFD’s training facility is the opening of ATCO Village. Created in partnership with ATCO Gas, ATCO Village is a cluster of vacant single-family homes positioned on a street-like setting to facilitate real-life scenarios and training opportunities, including: detecting indoor and outdoor natural gas leaks, responding to gas lines that have been hit, locating buried gas lines, and carbon monoxide situations as well as a multitude of Fire Department related emergency simulations.
“Pooling resources and facilitating joint emergency training is expected to produce better results, increase training frequency and reinforce our commitment to public and employee safety,” says Daryl Kong, Vice President, Calgary Operations, ATCO Gas. The installation of natural gas mains, services and meters as well as household appliances means ATCO Village has some of the most realistic training scenarios available, which will significantly enhance employee skills.
The Calgary Fire Department is also mindful of the environmental impact of its training operations and has found a way to greatly reduce its environmental footprint through its water re-use project. Housed at its southeast training facility, the water re-use project consists of a series of ponds that will capture, treat and put water used in training exercises back into an internal hydrant system.
“This pond filtration system is a first of its kind in Canada,” says Fire Chief Bruce Burrell. “Instead of spraying potable water all over the facility’s grounds and watching it ice up, run down drains, or evaporate, contaminated fire run-off will be retreated and reused,” he adds.
As part of the landscaping portion of the water re-use project, which began construction in June 2009, 125 trees were planted to commemorate the Fire Department’s 125th anniversary in 2010. The City of Calgary Parks Department, which assisted in the design of the treated wetland and associated infrastructure, will operate the water treatment system, as well as oversee the irrigation and maintenance of the grounds.