In May of 2017, Plano voters will see a ballot with a $15 million bond referendum for a new training facility for Plano Fire-Rescue.
“We are required by the state fire commission to actually do live burns and we have no ability to do live burns in Plano,” Chief Sam Grief said. “We have to go outside the city for that.”
Currently, Plano firefighters must travel to Richardson for their training.
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"That's a long way from here. That can be 45 [to] 50 minutes easy one way,” Greif said. “We just can't spare sending our units out of the city for that length of time."
“You can’t send three or four of your primary units out of the city and then when something happens they are not close to home,” Greif added.
Greif said that Plano is growing quickly and their call volume grows with the rising population.
"In 2015, we ran 25,000 calls which was a 10 percent increase in just one year,” Greif explained. “This year, in 2016, we will beat that record."
“I would be pretty comfortable in saying we are the largest city in the state of Texas that doesn’t have a dedicated training center for the fire department,” Greif added.
Fire officials said there are also challenges in the changing landscape of Plano.
"We're getting high-rise buildings,” Greif said. “That has its own unique challenges when it comes to everything from rescuing window washers on the side of the building to how you fight fires in a high-rise."
Greif said the facility would also help the first responders train for major traffic accidents and large-scale situations. He said it would not only help keep firefighters safe, but also help them better save lives and property.
“We have to train the way we are actually going to do the event which is multiple companies coming together for a training evolution,” Greif said.