ASHEVILLE, N.C., Oct. 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College will operate a state-of-the art training center when Buncombe County's Public Safety Training Facility is complete in about two years. A groundbreaking ceremony attended by community leaders and emergency services personnel was held at the site Oct. 12.
The 35-acre facility, on the site of a former landfill, will include a driving course for emergency vehicles, fire training tower, burn buildings and educational classroom space. The facility will provide EMS, law enforcement and fire and rescue personnel from Buncombe County and the western region access to enhanced training for all types of emergency response.
"The center will be used by many emergency services personnel across the state. It's more than firefighter training. We will have the capability to go into the structures and rearrange walls to create different floor plans and scenarios for SWAT, EMS, critical care, advanced law enforcement and other training," said Skye Myrick, Emergency Services Academy Associate Dean at A-B Tech.
The Emergency Vehicle Operations course for all emergency service providers and first responders is designed to improve drivers' skills and reduce the likelihood of accidents while on the job.
Driver training for emergency vehicles is currently done on the college campus on weekends. "We have to make sure all cars are off campus and the roads are blocked before we can simulate a high-speed chase. This new facility will allow us to change road conditions on the track to train for any type of weather or situation without potential damage to property," Myrick said.
In order to train firefighters in recent years, Buncombe County had to send a fire truck with personnel to facilities two hours away, while A-B Tech paid for the rental of a burn tower.
"The training we do at the college is where the rubber meets the road. We have an Emergency Service Academy that puts training under one umbrella to save taxpayers' money. This allows emergency workers to do skills evolution and crisis command situations together. Our goal through the academy is to continue to offer cooperative training between agencies. Our goal through the public safety training facility is to foster training in more realistic environments. The Emergency Services Academy and our stakeholders are grateful to Buncombe County Commissioners and county management for providing us with this opportunity," Myrick said.
"This is really a history-making moment," said Max Queen, Vice President of Risk Management and Operations at A-B Tech, "It is something we have needed for a long time and have worked toward for a long time. We are committed to training emergency services. This is an opportunity to be the most elite training center in the state, if not in the Southeast."
Fire service training will include Firefighter Level I, II and III certifications, rescue technician certification, continuing education and specialized training. Law enforcement training will include Basic Law Enforcement Training, which is required to serve as a sworn officer in North Carolina.
"Given the unique geography of Western North Carolina, the focus of a regional training center which could adapt state-of-the-art techniques to region-specific problems is of great importance," said David Gantt, Buncombe County Commission Chairman. "This is going to happen because the commissioners had the foresight and guts to pay for it. It isn't cheap, but it's less expensive than not taking care of the officers and emergency service workers. We cannot expect you to do the excellent work you do, unless we give you excellent facilities to train on and the equipment to do the job."
SOURCE Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College