WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) -- A grant has been awarded to the Wausau Fire Department to purchase a training device. Deputy Fire Chief Phil Rentmeister says the grant came from Trans Canada Pipeline Company for $1,200. Rentmeister says the dollars will help them get a life-sized fire training manikin. “We can’t really use live people when we’re operating in a training environment, so we use manikins. Those manikins will go into a situation where there’s a smoky, hot type of environment, or an environment where there’s collapses on them. Obviously, it’s hazardous to somebody that is alive, so we use manikins instead.
Rentmeister says the department has some kind of training nearly every day, and not just the big events such as live fire events. He says tools like manikins get used frequently. “Anytime we’re going to do a search and rescue (training exercise), we’ll use manikins to simulate people that we’re rescuing. We’ll also use manikins to simulate firefighters that are down. The nice thing about these manikins that we’re looking at, we can adjust the weights on them. We can go anywhere from 110 pounds up to 160 pounds.”
Wausau city officials are asking departments to cut their budgets again in 2015. With budget cuts, Rentmeister says they appreciate the grant funding and other donations that help keep the department equipped and operating at a high level. “Grants are available to you, but the federal dollars, for example, are drying up. It is a little more competitive to get the dollars that we need to operate and augment the operations as well.”
The Trans Canada Pipeline grant will go towards one training manikin. Rentmeister says whenever they learn about appropriate grant opportunities, they apply for them.