Washoe County’s Regional Public Safety Center
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Modular Building Design
Emergency Response Training
Gross Size of Project:
- Architectural Excellence
The Washoe County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Response Training Structure, built from eight 40-foot shipping containers, prepares fire fighters and police officers for real-world emergencies such as fire, medical crisis, and active shooter scenarios. Three containers create a two-story structure with stairs and an open-air balcony. A long hallway constructed of five containers connected end-to-end, attaches to the lower level of the two-story structure to simulate a long hallway with multiple rooms. Trainees survey and clear the hallway in full gear to practice for emergency scenarios in offices, hotels, or apartments. Inside the modified container modules, walls pivot to four unique positions to create novel and realistic exercises that keep trainees on their toes. The steel walls of the shipping containers are durable enough to withstand the regular, action-intense trainings that prepare emergency responders for their valuable service.
- Technical Innovation & Sustainability
Fire fighters and police officers train for emergency response scenarios in hotels, offices, apartments, and homes all in one scalable structure. Additional action-ready units can be delivered in less than two months, and existing units are easily rearranged. Key innovations include the training facility’s pivoting walls to create unfamiliar scenarios that require in-the-moment problem solving; water-resistant floors with drains for easy clean-up after fire-fighter training exercises; window openings with covers that roll on a track to create low-light settings and surprise points of entry; and breach door frames that survive trainees repeatedly breaking down doors. To prevent facility downtime, the units arrived pre-fitted with electrical and lighting for fast set up. Once the department poured a foundation, installing the containers via forklift took less than a week.
- Cost Effectiveness
Building a traditional emergency response training village takes years of construction and millions of dollars of investment. A facility built from shipping containers is a fraction of the cost. Plus, the department minimized the risk of a high initial investment by building the facility in phases. After training in the first phase’s set of units, the department was confident in the efficacy of shipping container structures and ordered units to extend the facility. Speedy installation minimized disruption to trainings. Of the building options available, shipping containers had the highest long-term value. Building from shipping containers also lead to a faster turn-around time and lower labor costs since much of the structure is already in place. Thanks to their durable steel walls, the shipping container structures will weather intense use with minimal repairs.