MEDIA ADVISORY: Live Firefighting Opportunity
Industrial Fire School – Wednesday, July 21, 8:00am-12:00noon
Municipal Fire School – Wednesday, July 28, 8:00am-3:00pm
Contact: Kathy Fraser [email protected]
COLLEGE STATION, TX – The Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) Annual Municipal Fire school has been happening for 92 years. Ninety-two years of training firefighters across the state on the largest live-burn fire props in the world. But why would students want to come to this facility in the heat of Texas in the middle of July? And why come not just to this one week but also to an Industrial Fire School that has taken place for 59 years?
Donny Boggs, a 30-year veteran instructor at TEEX’s Brayton Fire Training Facility, says that once firefighting is in your blood, “you are thirsty for more knowledge to better serve your company or municipality. And TEEX has one-of-a-kind facilities; this place is known as the Disneyland of the Fire Service.”
Boggs says that one of the advantages is that the fire school improves every year. “Even when TEEX gets it right, they are constantly thinking about how to make it better, to make it more realistic. So, every year when students return, they get a new experience and new challenge.”
And of course, to see a massive fire and the firefighters stepping up to fight those large blazes is always amazing to witness. What is really impressive is that there is not just one fire happening during this week but as many as six happening at once, over and over every day for several weeks.
Gordon Lohmeyer, Director of TEEX’s Emergency Services Training Institute, the division that oversees Brayton Fire Training Field, has been with the agency for over 17 years and has been coming to train on this field for 30 years. He started as a member of an Emergency Response team in the industry and worked his way up to an Industrial Fire Chief. He says, “I’ve seen 30 years of growth at this facility. When I was a guest instructor, that was something I looked forward to all year. It is a tremendous opportunity and something that I hold near and dear to my heart.”
“This year will be the 59th Annual Industrial and 92nd Annual Municipal Fire School held at the best and most comprehensive fire training facility in the world. These Annual schools are a chance for students to learn from leaders in the field with many years of experience. The knowledge transfer by high-level leaders to practitioners in the field; you’re not going to find a better learning opportunity. If we can absorb that knowledge and share that information as a responder community, we all win.”
“These students may start coming to annual schools to learn the basics of firefighting, but they return year after year. In fact, after decades of experience, they become guest instructors at these annual schools.”
So, what does this mean to the communities these students come from? Lohmeyer states, “All training is based on safety. It’s a holistic approach; keep the individual safe, keep the team safe, keep the community or job site safe – it’s all about preparedness. Hopefully, they will not need to use the skills acquired in training, but if they do, they have them, and they’ve practiced them here. The goal is to experience the hands-on training needed to gain the skills to protect critical infrastructure and save lives.”
About TEEX-Emergency Services Training Institute, including Brayton Fire Training Field, Emergency Operations Training Center and Disaster City – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sFZ-wBuB64
About The Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service – www.teex.org