The Mifflin Township Division of Fire wants to make sure Gahanna city and school employees, as well as the public, know how to extinguish a fire.

Since a laser-driven fire extinguisher trainer was purchased earlier this summer, Steve Welsh, the division's fire marshal, has been facilitating classes with city and Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools employees.

A training session was held in late July with more than 50 city of Gahanna employees.

The new equipment allows firefighters to train safely in any setting, including an office building, classroom, meeting hall or living room.

"The new digital system eliminates the cleanup and expense associated with using an actual fire extinguisher, and allows firefighters to train more people in less time," said Fred Kauser, chief of Mifflin Township Division of Fire.

"The more citizens we can train on the proper use of a fire extinguisher, the safer our homes and community will be for everyone in Gahanna and Mifflin Township," he said.

The training with the city comes on the heels of staff training with the Gahanna-Jefferson Public Schools.

Kauser said he's pleased the city and schools have been instrumental in bringing the training to their staffs.

"In Gahanna, we work proactively to keep our employees, the public and city property safe," said Melissa Jackson, human resources administrator and safety committee chairwoman.

"Innovative training techniques, like those used by Mifflin Township in our recent fire extinguisher training, help our employees to hone their safety skills," she said.

The safety committee includes employees from departments throughout the city.

"They are very engaged and continuously seek out training opportunities that will allow them to apply proper safety techniques to their jobs," Jackson said.

The digital-training system is available for use with any group or individual wanting to know the proper use of operating a fire extinguisher, Kauser said.

"Everyone should know how to use a fire extinguisher, in case a fire breaks out at home or work," he said. "The fire division is constantly looking for ways to educate the public and introduce them to tools that could save their life or property."

The system Mifflin Township purchased offers several advantages compared to traditional fire-training systems, according to Melissa Rapp, the township's public information manager.

She said it uses a conical laser to replicate an extinguisher's discharge, unlike a dry-chemical or CO2 extinguisher, making it a cleaner way to train, with no smoke residue left behind.

Additionally, it simulates different types of fires at 10 difficulty levels. The system can sense if the trainee is using the correct extinguisher, aiming and sweeping correctly, and if they are an effective distance from the base of the fire. This ensures participants are prepared for a real-fire emergency.

Any citizen or group that would like to schedule a firefighter visit with the digital trainer can call 614-471-4494.