Thick gray smoke and blistering heat mixed with the dense mid-morning fog as onlookers gathered to watch 30 firefighters equipped with full turnout gear, oxygen tanks, and high-pressure hoses as they participated in a live burn training scenario during Tri-County Community College’s annual Public Safety College at Fontana Village Resort during Feb. 16-19.
“These live burn exercises are beneficial because they provide the opportunity for firefighters to practice their techniques in a controlled environment,” said Henry Angelopulos, director of public safety training at Tri-County Community College.
“Each year we strive to bring new and unique offerings to our local public safety personnel through our Public Safety College,” Angelopulos said.
“This year we were able to coordinate this live burn to outline each step in the firefighting process – all the way from the initial stages of a structural fire to how to protect surrounding vegetation or homes.”
More than 200 participants from across the state flooded into Fontana Village Resort in Fontana for the weekend-long event. Offerings ranged from courses in fire and rescue to emergency medical services.
“The great thing about Tri-County Community College’s Public Safety College is that it allows personnel from all over to come and interact in one location in order to learn new techniques from a variety of highly-qualified instructors, as well as from each other,” said Winfield Abee, the western regional fire and rescue coordinator for the North Carolina Community College System.
In addition to the live burn, attendees were able to gain certifications in either firefighting or emergency medical training, and take classes that led to National Fire Academy credits.
“This year’s event was an overwhelming success, and it would not have been possible without a total team approach from all the staff at Tri-County,” Angelopulos said.
For more information regarding the public safety training program at Tri-County Community College, contact Angelopulos at 835-4251.
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