ASHEVILLE NC – Nothing beats on-the-ground scenarios for emergency response training, but safe locations to carry out sometimes invasive techniques are few. Thanks to a partnership with Mission Health, City of Asheville Fire and Police personnel have the opportunity to hone essential response skills like forced-entry and high–rise fire response in a vacant building owned by Mission.
Throughout February, March and April, the Asheville Police and Fire Departments will be conducting training at 50 Doctor’s Drive, culminating in full-incident training scenarios.
The training is made possible by Mission Health, which owns the Doctor’s Drive building, formerly home to Mission Staff Health and other support services.
“Mission Health is pleased the vacant building will ultimately find a productive use to benefit Asheville and the surrounding communities, making everyone safer,” said Sonya Greck, COO, Mission Hospital. “This partnership between Mission Health and the City of Asheville reinforces Mission Health’s strong commitment to our community by ensuring that we are exceptionally prepared to respond to public safety emergencies.”
The Asheville Fire Department is using the opportunity to train in search techniques, the use of thermal imaging cameras, practicing the rule of air management, use of the national incident management system and many other incorporated basic firefighting skills.
“The Asheville Fire Department is eager for this training opportunity because we are always looking to continuously improve,” says Public Information Officer Kelley Klope. “This training will enhance firefighter skills and will help the department continue to meet and exceed the standards of the profession in order serve the city of Asheville to the highest level it deserves.”
The Asheville Police Department Emergency Response Team and Hazardous Devices Team are conducting training to respond to a variety of high risks, including active shooter drills, hostage situations, child abduction, and a wide variety of tools and techniques to render safe potential explosive hazards including using the bomb disposal robot and bomb suits.
“The partnership with Mission is a great opportunity to get hands-on training with the tools that help us work at our best level,” said APD Chief William Anderson. “Even officers who have experience in these techniques benefit from this kind of practice.”
The APD has been partnering with the Buncombe County Sheriffs Office SRT, Henderson County Sheriffs Office SRT and the local office of the FBI to conduct joint training. “We do this so that we would be prepared to work together to safely resolve a high stress high risk incident,” Anderson said.
Media visits and tours of the training are available by appointment.
For more information on specific days and training please contact AFD PIO Kelley Klope at 828-768-1437 or APD Sgt. Dave Romick at 259-5882.