The Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service’s (NIFRS) new £4.8 million Tactical Firefighting Facility will be officially opened today at Desertcreat outside Cookstown.
The facility provides a state-of-the-art training environment for firefighters, enabling them to train in ‘real fire’ conditions, and is the first of its kind in Northern Ireland.
The unique six-storey structure, built by local contractors Henry Brothers Limited, has more than 30 compartments providing realistic operational scenarios using real fires, as well as welfare and classroom facilities.
Completion of the facility marks phase one of the NIFRS Learning & Development Centre, which is a Programme for Government project.
The building will be officially opened by Richard Pengelly, permanent secretary at the Department of Health.
He said: “This new, modern, fit for purpose building and facilities will provide a much improved learning environment for the Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service for many years to come.
“This centre is an indicator of how a joined-up approach from government departments and arms length bodies working together can deliver for all of our community.”
Interim NIFRS chief fire and rescue officer, Michael Graham commented: “After years of planning and preparation we are delighted to officially open our new Tactical Firefighting Facility. Completing this phase of our new Learning & Development Centre marks the beginning of a new era in how we ensure our firefighters are trained in the most safety critical elements of their job.
“This is a real game changer for NIFRS in how we train our people as it enables us to develop multiple realistic operational scenarios using real fires simulating ‘real life’ fire situations. I’m confident this new facility will be a first class place to work and train and will support our firefighters as they help make Northern Ireland a safer place.”