7/27/2011 12:00 AM
COLLEGE STATION - Record temperatures in the triple digits have not dampened the spirits of the more than 2,500 firefighters at Brayton Fire Training Field this week for the 82nd Municipal Fire Training School. Undaunted, the firefighters come from every corner of Texas, as well as 15 other states and countries, to hone their skills and techniques to better serve their communities. The annual school is hosted by the Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) in conjunction with the State Firemen’s and Fire Marshals’ Association of Texas.
Firefighters clamor for the opportunity to attend this intensive, one-week training school, where they can gain hands-on experience through realistic scenarios on full-scale training props at the world-renowned Brayton Fire Training Field, adjacent to Texas A&M University. Recently expanded to 279 acres, the training facility has 132 training stations or props that simulate realistic scenarios covering a wide variety of emergencies. Participants come from some of the smallest volunteer fire departments in the state as well as large metropolitan fire departments.
During this school, 36 weeklong courses are offered, and most of the 1,903 students are attending Firefighting: Phases I – IV. Other popular courses include Emergency Care Attendant, Fire Department Pump Operations, Fire Investigator, Fire Instructor, Fire Service Officer Development, and Rescue III – Automobile Extrication.
Courses are taught with the assistance of about 500 guest instructors and safety officers, who volunteer their time and expertise to make sure every firefighter who attends is well-prepared and ready to respond when the alarm sounds. Some of the state’s dedicated and experienced firefighters here this week have attended the school as a student or guest instructor for up to 40 or even 50 years.
This morning, a memorial ceremony at the Guest Instructors’ Memorial Wall, next to the Henry D. Smith Building, honored 10 tenured guest instructors who died during the year. Their names will join the others engraved on the wall.
Tonight (July 27), the public is invited to a free demonstration of firefighting skills and techniques at 7 p.m. at the Brayton Fire Training Field. A fire awareness class for children begins at 7:40 p.m., which will be followed by some spectacular firefighting scenarios.
The Municipal Fire Training School is the largest and oldest of the three summer fire schools held at Brayton each year. The first Municipal Fire School was held in 1930 in College Station with 196 firefighters attending.