- Associated Press - Friday, May 6, 2016

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. (AP) - The Battle Creek Fire Department has begun using its new training structure donated by the Calhoun County Land Bank Authority.

On Wednesday, the land bank authority announced that it was donating a house along the Kalamazoo River to the fire department as a permanent training site, the Battle Creek Enquirer (http://bcene.ws/24yxTs0 ) reported.

“This is a realistic site and we can build muscle memory and make us better and more efficient at our jobs,” Fire Chief David Schmaltz said. “It’s a house and that is what most of our fires are. This will be a big difference, crawling around in a house rather than on the bay floor of the fire station.”

Schmaltz said furniture might be added to the home to better simulate conditions where firefighters have to pull hoses inside or search for victims. He said firefighters can also practice other techniques such as breaking windows, breaching walls and cutting through the roof.

He said the department is very limited in what it can do at the station and the new training structure is the department’s only permanent site.

Several other buildings owned by the land bank authority also will be used by the department for training before they’re demolished.

“This will allow the fire department to better train to save lives and to save property,” said Christine Schauer, Calhoun County Treasurer and chair of the land bank.

She said the land bank authority also has provided homes for training before demolition to the Albion and Sheridan fire departments.

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Information from: Battle Creek Enquirer, http://www.battlecreekenquirer.com

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