07 FireTrainingCenter copyFayetteville Technical Community College and county government have formally broken ground on the new Cumberland County Regional Fire and Rescue Training Center to serve the county’s volunteer fire departments. The ceremony took place Oct. 21 at the intersection of Corporation Drive and Tom Starling Road in the county industrial park. The complex will be constructed on 30 acres of property adjacent to the sheriff’s training center and will support Fayetteville Tech’s Fire Protection Technology program of study. The state-of-the art center will provide training opportunities for rural fire departments and other emergency responders in Cumberland County.

The Center will enable FTCC to add classes not currently offered, including fire investigation/arson certification, thermal imaging, vehicular extrication and high-angle rescue.  In addition to classrooms, the complex will include live fire buildings, fire engine bays, technical rescue areas and specialized training areas. FTCC’s Corporate & Continuing Education Fire Training Program offers a number of certification courses that will allow volunteer fire fighters to keep their certifications current and their skills up to date.

Classes will be available in daytime and evening schedules for fire academy certification courses. Interested individuals must be affiliated with recognized local fire departments and have appropriate training verification letters plus personnel protective equipment. “An educational facility that combines dynamic learning experiences for students in the classroom, laboratory, and through specialized training areas … leads to amazing results for students of Fayetteville Technical Community College and the citizens of Cumberland County,” said FTCC President Dr. Larry Keen.

Cumberland County is responsible for funding capital projects at FTCC. The local facility is projected to cost $18 million. FTCC is committing $8 million, which the college was allocated from the Connect NC Bond Referendum. Cumberland County government has included $10 million for the project in its capital investment budget and will pursue grants and other funding opportunities to support the project.

The paid Fayetteville Fire/Emergency Management Department will continue to operate its training division out of its own facility located at the airport. “The bulk of our recruit academy classes and multi-company training evolutions will be conducted at the airport training facility,” said Fayetteville Fire Chief Mike Hill. “However, we will participate in specialty classes and use some of the technical props planned for the new FTCC training grounds.” The Fayetteville Fire Training Center provides many of the same training facilities and opportunities to be offered at the county center.

The city complex also offers training in specialized fields, such as confined space and trench rescue. A confined space simulator provides several tunnels and containers that allow trainees to conduct exercises that help prepare them for actual emergency situations. Each year the Fayetteville Training Division conducts a series of benchmark drills in accordance with National Fire Protection Association standards, which allow the department’s personnel to measure their ability to effectively mitigate situations on the fire ground.

“Quickly gaining control of an emergency situation is equally as important as responding to it,” Hill noted.

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