8/1/2007 12:00 AM
A group of firefighters from the Pasadena Volunteer Fire Department participated in the 78th Annual Municipal Texas Fire Training School this past week at The Brayton Fire Training Field and Texas A&M University.
The school is conducted by the Texas Engineering Extension Service, Emergency Services Training Institute and sponsored by the State Firemen's and Fire Marshals' Association of Texas.
The week-long training consisted of about 2,000 students from Texas and 500 instructors from around the country.
The entire team of firefighters is not made up solely of Texans, however. Students from around the globe, places such as Equatorial Guinea, Central Africa, South Korea, Mexico and Jamaica are also generally in attendance for the event.
"This is the most elite fire training facility in the world because it has significant props that cover every venue that each department can deal with on a daily basis," said Pasadena Fire marshal David Brannon. "It's a great training facility because it keeps firefighters in tune and we will continue going to get the additional training for as long as we can."
The PVFD sent several students to the training session, along with several students and instructors from the Deer Park Volunteer Fire Department.
"We usually send as many as we can that want to go and can based on their work schedules," said David Wade, spokesperson for the DPVFD.
Because of the large number of individuals that attend from small volunteer departments to those in large metropolitan areas, this is recognized as the largest live-fire training facility and the most comprehensive emergency response training complex in the world.
Brayton Fire Training Field is located adjacent to the campus of Texas A&M University and is home to 132 training stations including 22 fueled, live-fire props.
It is a 120-acre facility that is available for the students to use while preparing themselves better for any type of emergency situation. The training began at TAMU in 1929, and the fire field was opened in 1960. Areas that were concentrated on during training exercises included high-rise rescues, passenger train emergency response, structural collapse/heavy rescue and other mass-casualty emergencies.
"This training is a challenging prop to use, but if anyone wants to challenge their group, then this is the way to do it," said Brannon. "these types of situations never happen in ideal weather, so it helps to better prepare them."
Being the largest facility in the United States it contains full-scale buildings, towers, tanks, industrial plant structures and ship to train on the mock drills during simulations along with the largest LNG fireground prop anywhere.
This year, students discovered new training props that included a multipurpose structural burn complex, multilevel chemical complex that opened in 2006 and the 14,000-square-foot H.D. Smith Operations Complex with its welcome center, state-of-the-art classrooms and the school's command center that has the view of the fire field.
During the course of the week, firefighters go through numerous classes and fight actual fires. Some of these courses include basic and advanced firefighting, fire prevention, pump and rescue operations, fire officer development, air craft firefighting and emergency service dispatch.
PVFD has been taking advantage of the training school for several years for the training that it provides. Deer Park has been attending for around 20 years.
"The annual school provides the best level of training that we can get especially with the type of instructors that teach this school," said Wade. "This is the primary reason that we go so that we can give our members this level of training."