Building a Firefighter Training Room

Last Updated:5/9/2023

Four EAST students from Morrilton Senior High School designed a firefighter training room for their school.

At Morrilton Senior High School, four EAST students made it their mission to help train the area’s future firefighters for years to come with the “Firefighter Smoke Room” project. 

Juniors Aymslee Pawlik, Raeden Dunkin, Sasha Erdmann and freshman Michael Arnold partnered with the school’s firefighting class to design and build a training room for students using ARCHICAD.

“Our firefighting course at the school needed a practice room to complete its curriculum, so our principal came to us and asked if we could design it,” Michael said. “We met with the instructor and he told us what he needed in terms of supplies and what the room should look like.”

Michael said the training room is supposed to be a maze with adjustable walls so each practice run is never the same and ends with a door that a student must break down in order to extract a dummy.

While she is part of this project, Sasha is also enrolled in the firefighting class, that upon completion, awards students a certificate allowing them to go straight into firefighting after high school. Her inside knowledge of the class helped guide Raeden in the designing phase within ARCHICAD.

“I focused on designing the room and researching guidelines to ensure that everything is the right size and has proper ventilation,” Raeden said. “When we finished our initial design, we took it to the instructor who gave us a few changes to make. Now we have our ARCHICAD blueprints printed out and are ready to assemble the room.”

The students said that the room will be built over the summer using supplies acquired from a $1,300 grant awarded by the Arkansas Community Foundation. 

While Michael is in charge of working with a local hardware store to spend the money, much of the responsibility of procuring that grant fell to Aymslee, who naturally stepped into a leadership position within the group.

“We joke because we all never talk about who is the group leader, but we all pretty much know who is,” Aymslee said. “I always end up being the person who fills out everything like for our EAST Conference competition and our grant application. I’d also help Raeden a lot within ARCHICAD and in implementing our design into BMX (Behavioral Modeling Extension).”

Though she acknowledges her role in the team and enjoys the task of guiding everyone forward, Aymslee shows her humility by immediately moving on to talk about the work of her peers and how much they’ve grown.

“I definitely feel like we’ve all learned quite a bit by working with each other as one team,” Aymslee said. “Everyone put in such hard work. Raeden spent endless hours in ARCHICAD trying to make things work and we all had to talk with so many different people to make this a reality.”

Speaking of their personal growth, each member of the group had to venture outside of their comfort zone and build their skills — both soft and technical — to complete this project. And inside an environment that became stressful at times, Sasha stepped up to be the one who focused on maintaining the team’s morale.

“This project has really helped me with communicating with adults in a professional manner and working as a team with my friends,” Sasha said. “But there were times when things did get really difficult, so I’ve tried to be the one who cheers everyone up and puts a smile on their face even when it feels like we aren’t making any progress.”

Technically, Raeden experienced the most growth in that area as he had zero experience with ARCHICAD before working on this project.

“I’d never worked with ARCHICAD before and when I first looked at it, it just looked like a lot of buttons and really confusing,” Raeden said. “After doing a lot of research and watching a lot of tutorials, it’s really helped me learn about architecture and potentially push me into that field.”

While the project is approaching its completion, Sasha reflected on how EAST provided her with a completely different educational experience compared to her other classes and how it’s changed her perspective on school.

“EAST is definitely a game changer,” Sasha said. “It’s been so eye-opening that in this class we can actually get something done and it will affect the real world.”

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