Olathe Construction Trades Program students build safety course for Olathe Fire Department

By Brian Abel
KSHB – May 7, 2015

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Firefighters in Olathe are looking to teenagers for a course on confidence.

They got one in the form of a $5,000 maze built by 17 student carpenters.

The wooden obstacle course is 12 feet wide and tall, and 16 feet long.

It has 9 different configurations for what the Olathe Fire Department calls “SCBA training.”

SCBA, short for Self-Contained Breathing Apparatus, is the heavy bottle and mask firefighters use to breathe when fighting fires.

Firefighter Steve Hill said knowing you are relying on a tank can cause anxiety when in confined spaces.

“A 30-minute bottle under a heavy workload, it may last only 7 to 10 minutes,” Hill said.

The course will help firefighters by providing real-life scenarios, adding smoke-like elements and using repetition to build their confidence.

“Blacking out their mask so they’ll have little visibility. They’ll just be going by feel,” said Olathe Fire Captain Dan Crall.

It took 8 months for the Olathe Public Schools Construction Trades Program students to build the structure.

The teens come from Olathe, Blue Valley and Spring Hill school districts, and Kansas School for the Deaf.

Farmers Insurance provided funding for the project.

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