Bloomington City Council approves purchase of a fire safety simulator

The trailer will be provided by JHB Group, an Illinois-based company. (Photo courtesy WMBD-TV)


BLOOMINGTON – A mobile trailer that can simulate dangerous fire situations will soon be headed to Bloomington as an added tool for fire safety education.

The trailer will be provided by JHB Group, an Illinois-based company.

The purchase price is a little more than $180,000, but $60,000 will be covered by State Farm Insurance and another $30,000 will be covered by the Foreign Fire Board, meaning the city will only need to put up half of the total cost.

It can simulate different types of fires, such as cooking, appliance, and bedroom fires. Bloomington Fire Chief Cory Matheny believes it will add another dimension to his department’s efforts to educate the community on fire safety.

“It gives a lot more versatility to really hone in on some issues that are affecting the residents of the city, but also nationwide trends with cooking fires and things like that. It gives them (residents) experience of using a fire extinguisher, seeing smoke come out of stuff, and it makes them more prepared to respond in a real emergency,” he said.

Matheny added that the department has focused in on children when it comes to fire safety, but he said that he hopes to reach out to more people for fire safety. Specifically, those who live alone that might not be as self-sufficient.

“We’re trying to reach out to that population and make sure that we’re giving them an opportunity to be safe, learn, have a bit of fun, and give us a chance to interact with them,” he said.

Matheny credited the fire department’s Public Information Officer Frank Friend for taking the lead in the effort to purchase a fire simulator.

Also at the council meeting, they rejected a bid from Stark Excavating in the total of $984,316 for an intersection improvement project at the intersection of Wylie Drive and Maple Hill Drive.

The budgeted sum for the project was $629,633 so it would have been more than $300,000 above the budget limit. As a result, city staff will look at more cost-effective options to complete the project.


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