The Ratcliff Volunteer Fire Department plans to open a 1,200 square foot building at the intersection of Core Road and Highway 22 as a training facility for its members and other volunteer fire departments in the county, according to Fire Chief Jay Young.

Young expects the building to be ready to open by mid-February.

"It’s a place where everyone can come set up and practice," Young said. "It’s a facility where we can train getting up on roofs, cutting holes in garage doors and things like that. We’ve never had a training facility before."

Young said the one acre of land for the building was donated three years ago to the fire department. The fire department then saved money and conducted fund raisers to raise the nearly $20,000 it took to erect the building.

"We need to get electricity put in and then we can open it," Young said.

Young also said the building could help property owners in the Ratcliff area qualify for a lower IFO rating, meaning lower fire insurance rates.

"We’re going to invite the IFO here this spring," he said.

The Ratcliff area currently has an IFO rating of 9. The lowest rating is 10 and it is applied to areas that don’t have a fire department, Young said.