Grunau Company of Youngstown, a mechanical systems and fire protection contractor, is in the process of building a mobile fire safety training trailer to expand the education of IBEW electricians who service fire protection systems.
The state-of-the-art trailer will travel to training centers from New England to Mississippi, providing a hands-on training experience for electricians and sprinkler fitters.
The trailer includes a “burn room,” a simulated area with live sprinklers, and a control room – similar to what electricians would find inside a building.
NECA-IBEW Electricians, an association of IBEW union locals and signatory electrical contractors in the Mahoning Valley, contributed toward the outfitting of the trailer as part of its mission to promote continuous education within the trade.
To simulate an active fire maintenance situation, a fire is set in the burn room to activate sprinklers and alarms. Through this training, electricians will also learn how to install as well as perform tests and regular maintenance on fire safety systems. In a real emergency situation, any fault in the wiring of these systems could be catastrophic and the services of the electricians who install and maintain these systems are vital and life-saving.
Learning New Skills
Grunau has been in the business of installing fire protection systems since the 1920s, and now they want to help other union electricians break into the trade. This niche service is an excellent opportunity for union electricians to diversify their skills and expand their knowledge in the area of fire safety equipment maintenance.
“We get one course in fire safety in our apprenticeship and then most of us don’t see it again unless we specialize in it” said Andrew Fabry, electrician at Grunau of Youngstown. “It’s a bit of a niche service, but it’s an important one.” he added.
Hitting the Road
As one of the few union-affiliated fire safety service providers, Grunau is working to make that training more readily available. Upon completion of this training trailer, Grunau will hit the road to educate union locals all over the country on the importance of fire protection system installation and maintenance.