“World-renowned training in her backyard” is how Shannon Mauras describes Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service fire and emergency training in just a few words.
Initially a school teacher, Mauras felt a calling to become a first responder. In 2020, she joined the Brazos County Precinct 3 Volunteer Fire Department. She took basic EMT training through TEEX and completed the blended program through the annual fire academy. After receiving fire and hazardous material (HAZMAT) certifications, she joined the College Station Fire Department (CSFD) in August 2021.
She later received wildland and Ropes I and II training, including hands-on experience during the rope rescue simulations at Kyle Field in May.
“Students come from other states and even other countries just to train here,” she said. “TEEX offers the full package — they have every certification you need and the best facility around. So, you can get real, hands-on practice on all the different skills you would need as an actual firefighter, and you get multiple repetitions. They go above and beyond. You don’t just get to practice once or do the bare minimum; they make sure that you’re really ready.”
And Mauras was ready. On her first “real-world” structure fire, she “didn’t skip a beat” and could connect to a hydrant and immediately be an asset to her crew. “I wasn’t trying to learn or figure out things there on the spot since I had been taught everything and given practical training at the fire academy.”
Mauras said such training helps her feel confident when responding to various situations. “In College Station, we respond to a lot of motor vehicle accidents and rollovers,” Mauras pointed out. “Having had two full days of extrication training, I feel very confident that I can help out my crew by jumping in and doing things in an efficient and safe manner.”
Although Mauras no longer leads a classroom, her education experience has also proven beneficial. “It’s funny how everything has come full circle,” she explained. “In both the volunteer department and CSFD, I get to do a lot of public education. Last semester I was at College Station High School teaching home safety and first aid. And with the volunteer department, I’ve done fire extinguisher training for different organizations like Habitat for Humanity.”
Having the Brayton Fire Training Field “in her backyard” also means she returns for new training often, as both the Brazos County Volunteer Fire Department and College Station Fire Department do group training regularly. “TEEX definitely lives up to its world-class reputation,” she said. “The instructors have a lot of real-life experience, and they are excited about what they teach. They stay current with the latest rules, regulations and techniques and ensure first responders are prepared for today’s world.”
Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service
Vita Vaughn | Director of Marketing and Communications/CMO