Florida Fire College Offers Courses And Seminars on Year-Round Basis

Florida Fire College Offers Courses And Seminars on Year-Round Basis

Diked semi-trailer tanker is used for training in spill fires.Demonstrations of the latest in fire equipment is part of training.

The first Florida Fire College training session was held at Daytona Beach May 7-9, 1930. From then until 1939, the school was sponsored by the Florida State Firemen’s Association. Classes were conducted once a year and were held in a different location each year. In 1939, the annual sessions were extended to five days and financial assistance was given by the State Department of Education.

In 1946, a coordinator was employed to carry on the training and annual sessions of five days continued until 1948, when 10-day sessions were held. In addition to the annual sessions, some itinerant training was conducted in several fire departments.

In 1949, the fire college became a state institution with permanent headquarters in Ocala. It was built on 6 acres in mid-1950 and dedicated on October 12, 1951. The facility includes an administration and classroom building, an auditorium, a four-story drill tower with sprinkler and standpipe systems, and a two-story live fire training building.

Station on property

For training purposes, the fire college has a three-bay fire station with two pumpers. There is also a building with a room for various types of breathing equipment, an air compressor and a cascade system. In the rear of this building is a shop where the staff can build and maintain equipment.

Other facilities include a drafting pit and four flammable liquid pits. A halon extinguishing system is in one building for demonstration purposes. A diked semi-trailer tanker is used for flammable liquid transportation spill fire training. An LP gas training area is being constructed.

One of the more important functions at the fire college is a laboratory used primarily for arson detection. It has many of the latest pieces of detection equipment.

The college also has a library that contains a large number of books and pamphlets on both fire service and related subjects. The library also has nearly 70 films that are lent to fire departments throughout the state.

The Florida Fire College operates year-round and offers 25 fire service courses ranging from basic firemanship to engineering fundamentals for fire fighters. Special schools, exams, conferences and seminars are held throughout the year. In addition to programs conducted during the normal work week, schools and drills are held on weekends and evenings to assist both paid and volunteer fire departments.

Among those who have attended courses at the Florida Fire College are instructors from Canada, oil company fire fighters from Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, and inspectors and fire fighters from the Bahamas. In the near future, 29 engineering students from Algeria are expected to attend the fire college.

In addition to its basic functions of training paid and volunteer firemen and providing advanced classes for fire officers, the fire college also assists industry by training plant fire brigades and giving instruction in fire inspection to fit the needs of specific industries. The variety of industries covered is wide, including power manufacturing and chemical plants and food processors. An unusual case involved the training of the officers and crew of a large oil tanker that had put into a Jacksonville drydock for repairs. The training was concentrated in the use of portable extinguishers, fixed on-board protection and self-contained breathing apparatus.

Engineering accented

Seminars on selected fire protection subjects are conducted with the accent placed on engineering aspects. The subjects embrace a wide scope, such as sprinkler, foam, standpipe, gaseous extinguishing and fire detection systems.

The fire college is also home base for the state program on minimum standards for fire fighters. In 1970, the legislature standardized fire service employment and training in Florida. To date, Florida is one of the few states which administers, on a state-wide basis, the minimum standards which a fire fighter must meet. The minimum standards 200-hour basic firemanship program is taught twice a year at the fire college and also at certified training centers throughout the state. All tests, written and practical, under the 200hour program are given by members of the minimum standards staff.

From the beginning of the fire college 45 years ago, Florida embraced the idea that fire fighting and fire fighters were important in the growth and well-being of the residents of Florida.

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