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Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) has submitted a planning application, for Phase 1 of its new Learning & Development Centre at Desertcreat, to Mid Ulster District Council.
Phase 1 has an approved budget of £4.2million and the main feature is a 6-storey tactical firefighting building in which Firefighters can be trained in live fire scenarios. The planning application also includes a single storey building incorporating a classroom, office, kitchen area, locker room and storage and a new access road to the site from the Dungannon Road.
Michael Graham, Assistant Chief Fire & Rescue Officer & Project Lead explained – “It’s been well documented that our current training facilities are not suitable and that we require a new dedicated training facility to meet our training needs both today and for the years ahead. We have worked closely with the design team, from Hamilton Architects, on the plans for Phase 1 and are confident that what we have created is fit for purpose to allow us to train our Firefighters in live fire rescue scenarios throughout their careers.
“The planning application is a huge milestone in the history of developing our training facilities at Desertcreat and subject to planning approval we would hope to commence work on site in late 2017. Work on Phase 1 is expected to take one year to complete. It is anticipated that we will be using the new facility for our firefighting training by January 2019.”
Carmel McKinney, Chair of the NIFRS Board, welcomed the planning application – “The creation of a new Learning & Development Centre for NIFRS at Desertcreat was deemed a flagship project by the NI Executive and the funding required for this has been secured. Our Firefighters do a fantastic job serving the people of Northern Ireland and they deserve to train in an environment that is suitable to their highly specialised requirements for both their own safety and public safety.”
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