More than 20 ribbon cutters will be on hand to dedicate the Illinois Fire Service Institute’s (IFSI) new Learning Resource and Research Center (LRRC) on Friday, January 28, at the institute’s 27-acre training grounds at 11 Gerty Drive, Champaign. University of Illinois President Michael J. Hogan, Chancellor Robert Easter, State Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis, and National Fire Academy Superintendent Denis Onieal are expected to be among the guests cutting the ribbon.
The more than 21,000 square foot building houses new IFSI capabilities that include a library, Firefighter Memorial Hall, International Conference Center, Incident Management Training Facility, high-speed web connectivity and Firefighter Life Safety Research Center. The library has more than 18,000 items in its multi-media collection and is the only fire service dedicated library in Illinois. The Conference Center includes HD projection and video transmission, video conferencing capabilities and simultaneous interpretation booths.
The Firefighter Life Safety Research Center houses state-of-the-art equipment such as a high-temperature environmental chamber and a hematology lab and fire protection engineering labs to further the research being conducted by IFSI. Beginning in the Spring of 2011, IFSI will work under a Department of Homeland Security Grant to study the effectiveness of aspirin to help reduce the risk of heart attacks during and following firefighting activities.
On the lower level, the Incident Management Training Facility offers the same National Incident Management System (NIMS) training capabilities as FEMA’s National Incident Management Institute Command Trainer. Also, the university will be able to use the Incident Management Training Facility as a command center during state and national emergencies. “Public safety is a core mission for a land grant university in the 21st century, and this building helps the university fulfill that mission,” according to Richard Jaehne, IFSI Director.
Portions of the building are being supported by donations from Paratech Inc., a manufacturer of firefighting and rescue tools and the University of Illinois Employees Credit Union. Other support comes from GROWMARK and W.S. Darley.
The Illinois Fire Service Institute is the statutory fire academy for the state of Illinois. In addition to training provided at the Champaign campus, the Institute offers state grant-funded “Cornerstone” basic hands-on firefighting skill courses at Regional Training Centers and local fire stations across the state, DHS grant-approved NIMS training for elected and public safety officials and technical rescue and HAZMAT statewide deployable teams in specially designed hands-on training facilities. IFSI also provides hands-on fire officer training, specialty courses such as arson and fire investigation and makes many courses available through its online program, which this new LRRC will take to a new level of access and complexity. The mission of the Illinois Fire Service Institute is to help firefighters do their work through training, education, information, and research.
For more information about the institute, call 217-333-8921.