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Meadows visits county training facility

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By James Matthews –

US Representative Mark Meadows (R-11th) stands with several other officials and members of his staff while facility coordinator Eric Rogers sets a simulated kitchen ablaze on Tuesday (April 30).

US Congressman Mark Meadows visited the Buncombe County Emergency Services Training Center in Woodfin on Tuesday (April 30). Meadows (R-11th) was visiting to find out more about the new facility, which was dedicated on October 16.

During his visit, Meadows was able to speak with a number of local officials including Woodfin mayor and county emergency services director Jerry VeHaun along with Woodfin Board of Aldermen Jackie Bryson and Don Hensley and several local fire and rescue officials.

As part of the visit to the training center, facility director Eric Rogers, formerly of the Weaverville Fire Department, took the Representative to the high-rise burn building.

Burn buildings are specifically designed to help train firefighters in the proper methodology of attacking fully involved structure fires. This building, in particular, was designed to simulate a multi-story structure fire.

Meadows was able to witness a demonstration of the burn building’s capabilities, which included a propane flame systems and smoke machine.

Meadows was also able to take the wheel of a emergency vehicle simulator. “I’ll tell you what,” he said, “in a hundred days, I haven’t been this humbled,” he said after experiencing the conditions that emergency vehicle drivers can sometimes operate in. “When you look at that, where you can have it at a situation where mistakes are not costly mistakes, its huge. Whether its personal loss of life or injury or vehicular.”

He went on to state “I think its a great investment,” he said speaking of the facility’s $15 million price tag. “None of us like to spend money, the problem is that we have to have trained first responders on a regular basis so we got to have the investments so that when the call comes we’re prepared. This is a great investment, obviously one that all of Western North Carolina can take advantage of. The partnership with AB Tech is one that is to be applauded.”

“Obviously its very impressive,” Meadows said, after his tour. “its truly a state of the art. It’ll make sure that we’re better trained. Its also going to save lives. That’s the thing, I think that came through today.”

After having witnessed the conditions responders have to operate in, Meadows also noted that “It was a new experience for me.” He concluded, sharing his appreciation for the “men and women who answer the call, day in, day out, who put their lives on hold to make sure that we can have a safer place.”

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