Cadets at Tarrant County College’s Fire Service Training Center are learning by doing: Fighting live fires, working through simulated rescues.
They’ll have another tool to learn with after donation of a ladder truck by the city of Grapevine.
The 75-foot, 1999 truck, worth about $50,000, was past its serviceable life with the city. Used trucks often go to auction, but Grapevine Fire Chief Darrell Brown proposed giving it to the center on Tarrant County College’s Northwest Campus.
Steve Keller, director of the center, said in a news release that the truck was a “game-changer” for them.
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“We will be able to simultaneously run multiple courses that involve truck operations, and students will have more opportunities to gain experience on this critical piece of firefighting equipment,” Keller said.
TCC is the area’s primary trainer for firefighters and other first responders.
The center’s courses combine classroom instruction with hands-on skills training. Features at the center include a simulated city for live firefighting — with streets, residences, businesses, an apartment-hotel complex and high-rise buildings — along with a swift-water rescue site, trench rescue training area, confined-space rescue maze and a simulated train derailment with hazardous materials scenario.
“The city of Grapevine is an important partner for the Fire Service Training Center and the entire college,” Elva LeBlanc, president of Northwest Campus, said in a news release.
The Grapevine Fire Department has had a long, successful partnership with Tarrant County College.
In the 1970s, many Grapevine firefighters studied under Jim Nichols, who pioneered TCC’s fire service education program. When the Grapevine Fire Department launched the use of Mobile Intensive Care Unit ambulances the following decade, more than 40 firefighters received paramedic certification through the college.
Since the 1990s, TCC has worked with the Grapevine Fire Department to provide professional development classes in hazardous materials, specialized rescues and other topics. Many past and present leaders of the department are TCC alumni.
“My hope is that other fire departments will think of Tarrant County College as we have,” Brown said. “We are all searching for quality men and women to join our team as firefighters. This is just one more way of working together to serve our communities.”
The donated vehicle is TCC’s second ladder truck and third fire truck total. The truck was refurbished and underwent inspection and ladder certification before it was donated.
Tarrant County College has three 14-week cadet classes each year, and the Fire Academy is certified with the Texas Commission on Fire Protection, which makes graduates eligible to take the state certification exam for basic firefighting. TCC consistently has a pass rate at or near 100 percent.
The deadline to submit an application for the Fire Academy’s summer 2017 cadet class is April 14. Military veterans are encouraged to apply.
In addition to the Fire Academy, the Fire Service Training Center offers an Associate of Applied Science in Fire Protection Technology and continuing education for professional and volunteer firefighters.