Fire science, EMS get new training facility

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 The district has purchased 60 acres of land off Interstate 35 South near Von Ormy.

By Johnny Deosdade

A total of $600,000 has been allocated for the design of a first responders training facility, which will be a home base for the fire science and emergency medical services programs at this college. 

The Alamo Community College District has purchased 60 acres of land off Interstate 35 South just south of Von Ormy for this facility. 

The fire science program rents facilities in Universal City and Selma to train students in emergency rescue techniques. 

This new facility, which will be a satellite campus for this college, will be unlike any other in the area. Gary Fox, chairman of protective services said Monday, in an interview.

“As of yet, there is no estimated start date for construction,” Fox said. 

“However, master planners and architects along with the program coordinators for fire science and emergency medical services are utilizing input from the San Antonio Fire Department and Texas A&M University to put together a facility that will best serve the community and South Texas.”

“This will be an all-encompassing training facility, which would provide controlled environments to train the 200-250 students in the protective services program.”

One of the features of this facility will be a burn tower. 

It is a one- to five-story building used to practice high-rise rescue, ventilation, room clearing, balcony rescue and forced entry. 

This facility also will allow for more specialized training such as vehicle extraction, basement fires, hazardous waste disposal and swift water rescue. 

Most local fire departments go to the Guadalupe River for swift water training. 

The new training facility, however, will provide a controlled environment to teach fire academy students these techniques.

The fire science program has been at this college for 40 years, training students in fire protection, fire arson investigation and emergency management administration. 

“Students training in the program are sought after by fire chiefs all around the state who come here because they like what they get out of this college,” Fox said. 

Fire academy students can earn international accreditation through the associate degree program, which could become a four-year degree program if passed through the state Legislature in 2009. 

“The first responders training facility will not only become a home for the growing number of fire academy students interested in this degree but would also allow this college to provide contract training as well,” Fox said. 


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