Mobile Training Tower for First Responders
Settled atop a large trailer bed, the Mobile Training Tower (MTT) appears to be little more than an attractive, futuristic metal mobile home; however, when upended, the project reveals its true purpose- the MTT is actually a 4 1/2 story portable training simulator for first responders and law enforcement agencies. Exposed to the rigors and abuse of transportation and extreme environmental conditions, it was necessary for this project to take advantage of the most durable, low-cost, and sustainable solution for corrosion protection- hot- dip galvanizing.
Completely contained on a customized low-boy trailer with a 1,500 gallon water tank for drafting and water shuttle operations, the MTT can be transported using a semi-tractor to virtually any training site, and raised into position in 15 minutes or less. The mobile nature of the tower means the exterior covering of heavy gauge, galvanized, corrugated steel siding will be constantly exposed to the dings, scratches, splash-back, and even road salts associated with highway travel. Thanks to the dual barrier and cathodic protection of hot-dip galvanized steel, small nicks and abrasions will not compromise the stability of the structure.
Equipped with adaptable configurations created to provide various firefighter and police training scenarios, the tower provides first responders the ability to practice rappelling, ground ladder operations, aerial operations, high rise firefighting, standpipe/sprinkler operations, sniper operations, agility training, and more. Each floor is equipped with outlets for smoke distribution, a standpipe with valve and hose connection, a protected light, and a fire sprinkler with shutoff.
With zinc-iron alloy layers of up to 250 DPN hardness protecting the steel beneath, the durable zinc coating of the structure is more difficult to penetrate than the substrate steel itself. This means the galvanized steel will stand strong against the abuse of constant, heavily-booted foot traffic and the impact of carabiners and other emergency equipment. Corrosive chemicals and continuous exposure to water via sprinklers and hoses means the durable barrier and cathodic protection of galvanized steel is a necessity for this project.
The complexity of the structure requires a low maintenance corrosion protection system, as continuing maintenance not only wastes time and effort, but money as well. Catering to strictly budgeted public service institutions, the galvanized structure will ensure no unnecessary money or waste will be expended on routine maintenance. This fact, paired with the infinite recyclability of steel and zinc elements, allow the structure to conserve resources and future expenditures. The maintenance-free, sustainable nature of galvanized steel perfectly aligns with the goals of the MTT- training to conserve public and private property.
MTT is the only mobile training tower currently on the market, and the project’s versatility allows smaller jurisdictions to share training apparatus. This makes training a viable option for departments previously inhibited due to economic restrictions. The tower is a paragon of fiscal responsibility. Available for use and reuse, and portable to reach far and wide, the public sees the value of this product as a beneficial and cost-effective training opportunity.
They see the value doubly when examining the long-term fiscal advantage of utilizing a maintenance-free, durable corrosion protection system that will extend the life of the project by decades. Galvanized steel only constituted approximately 2.5% of the overall end-user cost of the unit, making it very appealing to the bottom line while ensuring the project will remain strong and corrosion free for generations. These times of austerity show the value of building products that last and do not require costly life-cycle repair.
Fire Departments across the country have utilized this training apparatus since 2003, and the galvanized zinc coating on the oldest unit still looks new – with no signs of rust without any maintenance in the 6+ years of its operation. Every MTT manufactured has been galvanized. Aside from the appropriate functionality of the galvanized steel in this project, the coating also maintains an aesthetically pleasing, professionally impressive appearance. It conveys strength and durability, quality, and pride – characteristics of both the galvanized structure and the heroes who train within it.