7/27/2004 12:00 AM
COLLEGE STATION – Nearly 2,500 firefighters and 500 guest instructors from throughout Texas and the nation are converging at the Brayton Fire Training Field July 25-30 for the 75th anniversary of the Texas Municipal Fire Training School.
United States Sen. John Cornyn kicked off the week’s activities Sunday, July 25, with a press conference at Reed Arena on the Texas A&M University campus.
Also headlining the weeklong Texas Municipal Fire Training School will be a statewide 75th anniversary celebration on Wednesday, July 28, beginning at 7:30 p.m. at the renowned Brayton Field. The event will feature A&M, local and state dignitaries taking part in a brief anniversary ceremony, followed by live firefighting demonstrations and a fireworks finale. More than 5,000 spectators from throughout the state are expected to attend.
Municipal School firefighters come from the smallest volunteer fire departments in the state to those serving the largest metropolitan areas. Courses include basic and advanced firefighting, fire prevention, rescue operations, fire officer development, aircraft firefighting and emergency service dispatch.
All of the hands-on training is provided by guest instructors who donate their time, services and travel expenses to ensure that firefighters are adequately prepared to respond to a wide range of emergency situations. It is not uncommon for guest instructors to have taught at the Municipal School for 25, 40 or even 50 years.
The Texas Municipal Fire Training School is conducted by the Texas Engineering Extension Service (TEEX) and sponsored by the State Firemen’s and Fire Marshals’ Association. Training is conducted at Brayton Fire Training Field, recognized as the largest live-fueled fire training facility in the world and often referred to as the “Disneyland of Firefighting.”
The first Municipal School was held in 1930 as part of the Texas A&M Chemistry Department and attracted 196 firefighters representing 76 Texas cities and towns. The following year the Texas Legislature approved House Bill 921 authorizing Texas A&M to create and operate a permanent firemen’s training school.
Earlier this month, 646 firefighters and 153 guest instructors from 17 countries attended TEEX’s 38th Annual Spanish Fire Training School, which was marked by the deaths of four Venezuelan firefighters en route to College Station. Last week TEEX hosted its 42nd Annual Industrial Fire Training School, which attracted more than 500 students who learned the latest techniques in industrial firefighting, controlling hazardous materials and conducting rescues.