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University and Fire Department Partnership Offer Training Opportunities

  June 28, 2019

By Ryan Berlin

Emergency preparedness is a procedure that no maintenance or engineering manager should overlook. Scenarios such as fires, power outages, floods and active shooters can unfortunately happen at any time, and preparation is key to minimizing any damage.

Vanderbilt University it partnering with the Nashville Fire Department to help more than 800 firefighters participate in a unique training opportunity when they conduct high-rise fire response drills in the university’s Carmichael West Tower 4 residence hall, according to Vanderbilt News.

The initiative is a collaboration among Vanderbilt, the Nashville Fire Department and Layton Construction, which is overseeing the demolition of the building as well as ongoing construction in Vanderbilt’s West End Neighborhood.

“The demolition of Tower 4 to make way for our new residential colleges along West End Avenue presents a truly unique opportunity to team with our community partners at the Nashville Fire Department,” said Mike Perez, associate vice chancellor for administration and chief facilities officer at Vanderbilt. “The vacant building is the ideal structure in which to conduct this kind of specialized, high-rise training. We are grateful to Layton Construction for accommodating the training exercises, and grateful to the firefighters for the service they provide in keeping the Nashville community safe, of which Vanderbilt is a significant and vital part.”

“The training in Tower 4 prior to its demolition presents an opportunity to strengthen our partnership with the Nashville Fire Department and to enhance our response efforts in the event of an actual building fire on campus,” said Johnny Vanderpool, director of Vanderbilt’s Office of Emergency Preparedness. “When Program Manager Jessamyn Davis came to me with this plan, I knew we couldn’t pass up the opportunity. The idea stemmed from a conversation between Jessamyn and Nashville Fire Department District Chief Greg Spring during a separate project this past winter.” The training will be a milestone for both Vanderbilt and Nashville, Vanderpool said.

“Nashville’s rapid growth and urban development, which includes an increasing number of high-rise structures, is quickly putting it on par with other major cities across the country,” said the NFD’s Spring, who is serving as lead instructor for the Vanderbilt drills. “The opportunity to do realistic training in a setting that closely mirrors what our firefighters would encounter in an actual emergency is rare and invaluable. The experience will pay dividends toward the firefighters’ professional development, as well as our primary mission to serve and protect the Nashville community.”

Ryan Berlin is digital content manager of


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