Marshal to leave PRISM

Kenai fire training center needs manager by April

Posted: Monday, January 07, 2008

After only one year, the state fire marshal is calling it quits as manager of the Kenai fire training center.

The Alaska Division of Fire Prevention contracted with the city of Kenai to manage the Pacific Rim Institute of Safety Management training facility in February, but because "the financial performance hasn't been what they expected," in the words of City Manager Rick Koch, the fire marshal has given notice of intent to leave within 120 days.

"They'll be out of there by April 30 or before," Koch said on Friday.

He said two firms that have done training business at the PRISM center have expressed an interest in assuming a management role of the training center.

The state fire marshal took over management of the PRISM Center from AAI Services Inc., a subsidiary of United Industries, which had operated the fire training center for eight years until ending its arrangement with the city a year ago.

AAI informed the city in June 2006 it did not intend to renew its contract at the end of that year.

The PRISM center provides vocational courses in aircraft and industrial fire training, health and safety management and maritime firefighting. Between 1,600 and 2,000 people are trained there each year.

In addition to training firefighters in aircraft and structural firefighting, the center offers training to oil platform workers, airline employees and emergency medical responders.

One company that has indicated an interest in taking over management is Beacon Occupational Health and Safety Services, of Anchorage, according to Koch.

Operated by Holly and Mark Highland, Beacon has partnered with AAI in the past to train clients at PRISM, and has leased the facility from the fire marshal to conduct training.

At the time the fire marshal was considering its management contract, Holly Highland told members of the Kenai City Council Beacon would like to continue being involved.

Beacon manages training clinics throughout the North Slope, on the Aleutian Chain and in Juneau, offering training in hazardous materials handling, as well as health and safety.

Calls to Beacon and the fire marshal were not returned Friday.

Phil Hermanek can be reached at

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