C-TEC wants 'burn building' for firefighter training
Originally published February 12, 2008
By SETH ROY
NEWARK -- Firefighters, both new and experienced, who are training at Career and Technical Education Centers of Licking County are working with old houses along Ohio 161.
For firefighters to train they need to be able to experience the real thing, but using an old house can be dangerous, said Erna Holland, coordinator for health care and public safety at C-TEC's Adult Education Center.
"It really creates risk when you're in an acquired structure," Holland said.
For a variety of reasons, including safety, C-TEC is seeking to build a burn building, which would include a live-fire training tower and drive pad. The school is trying to raise $250,000 for the project from the community.
"This type of training is not readily available for local firefighters," Adult Education Director Kelly Wallace said. "There's no one in central Ohio that has this type of building."
The structure will allow firefighters to train for live fires, search and rescue missions, rappelling, suppression, ventilation and safety.
Last year, C-TEC trained 1,400 new and veteran firefighters, Holland said, and the addition of a burn building would allow the trainees to get practical experience in a safe environment.
"We need those live burn experiences," Holland said.
To raise the money needed, C-TEC is appealing to individuals and businesses for any donations.
"We need the community behind it," Wallace said.
Local Realtor Patrick Guanciale has been involved with fundraising as the committee chair.
"C-TEC's played an important part in our community," he said.
The community should support the burn-building campaign because it has many uses for Newark, Licking County and surrounding counties, Guanciale said.
"You can watch all the training films you want, but until you actually do it, you're not trained," he said.
The facility also can be used for homeland security training, hazardous material handling, hostage situations and arson investigation training.
Using the burn building also will be more cost-effective and safer than burning houses, Guanciale said.
"It's a lot more friendly to monitor the program," Guanciale said. "You want to make sure it's as safe as can be."
When using a real house, fire departments have to go into the building and secure it beforehand, which can cost thousands of dollars, Guanciale said.
The new burn building will have an immediate effect on the area and on local firefighting agencies, Newton Township Fire Chief Jim Glover said.
"It'll save lives," Glover said. "A lot of the old (firefighters), they need a refresher."