FVTC and ATW show off ATW ARFF Training Center

Updated: May. 12, 2021 at 4:43 PM CDT
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GREENVILLE, Wis. (WBAY) - Airport firefighters from around the world will now be coming to Northeast Wisconsin for training. The ATW Airport Rescue Fire Fighting Training Center, or ARFF, opened about a year ago. It’s a partnership between Appleton International Airport and Fox Valley Tech, but access to the facility has been limited due to the pandemic.

Firefighter rescue crews from Lacrosse Regional Airport are working on putting out an engine fire on a Boeing 777. It’s all part of the training they’re completing at the ATW ARFF.

“Employing the apparatus and putting the fires out, it’s about as real as you can get, so to simulate as real as possible it’s amazing,” says trainee, Beau Tibbitts from Lacrosse Regional Airport.

And that’s exactly the purpose of the facility, to give hands-on experience to rescue crews working at airports not only across the country, but also around the world. The training includes work on the airport specific Stryker vehicle, produced by Oshkosh Truck. Trainees practice different scenarios they could find themselves in, while on the job.

According to Ben Sokol, lead instructor at ATW ARFF, “The basis for the training and the ultimate goal for it is, if there is God forbid an incident on a airfield, they can respond quickly and safely, protect life, and then perform rescue if necessary.”

The ATW ARFF is a one-of-a-kind facility in the Midwest. ATW teaming up with Fox Valley Tech to make it happen. Twelve million dollars in state and federal funding also helped to bring the regional training facility to Northeast Wisconsin.

And, while it’s located on the Appleton airport grounds, the impact of the facility will be far reaching. “We have the opportunity to host firemen visits from all over the world and so they’re staying in our hotels, eating in our restaurants, buying our Wisconsin merch, and we just think it’s a win win win for the entire community,” adds Patrick Tracey from ATW.

While small groups have trickled in for training over the past year, FVTC is increasing the sessions it offers here and expects even more groups to start booking trainings.

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