After the collapse of the I-35W Bridge in 2007, the city of Minneapolis felt an acute need for a modern training facility for emergency operations. Using the real-world lessons from the tragedy to inform the design, the new facility grew out of a master plan developed for the fire department training campus. The master plan outlined the construction of offices for the fire department’s training division and training classrooms to double as an emergency operations center (EOC). After allocating proper funding, the city added a strategic information (or “fusion”) center to the design to have an “always on” source of information for the EOC, while the vehicle apparatus bay protects the state’s regional asset equipment.
Because of the Minneapolis EOTF’s successful integration of training departments, the emergency response during and after the North Minneapolis tornado in 2011 was resoundingly successful, despite the tornado passing within a quarter mile of the facility.