Groundbreaking for new PA responder training facilities

Luzerne County Community College has long been the leader in providing well-trained and educated public safety professionals in our communities. In just the past five years, the College has trained thousands of emergency personnel through both credit and non-credit programs. Now LCCC is committed to the preparation of and continuing learning for these professionals in a customized, safe training center.

Training resources currently available to the citizens of North East Pennsylvania (NEPA) are limited. Basic fire, EMS and police training facilities such as classrooms, drill grounds, and basic training props are nearly nonexistent. Within NEPA, there are limited outdoor training grounds for technical field training activities such as live fire training, specialty rescue, high-angle work, emergency vehicle driving, and heavy equipment operation. These training activities occasionally take place at scattered, borrowed or leased locations or do not take place at all. Various sites such as rented facilities, fire halls, and hotel meeting rooms are also sometimes used for these training activities.

Public safety requires in-depth training in a safe environment with effective, modern facilities and real world tools and resources. The LCCC Public Safety Training Institute (PSTI) is designed to provide the training the region needs. The PSTI will serve the immediate and vital needs of the citizens of NEPA and will be a comprehensive center designed to train firefighters, law enforcement, security personnel, EMS responders, public health workers, medical personnel, and all public safety personnel in an integrated approach to major emergencies, with a special emphasis on terrorism prevention, preparedness and response.

The College formed a task force comprised of area law enforcement, fire and emergency medical response personnel. Collectively, the task force combined their specific areas of expertise to plan training and a facility that will benefit the immediate population of 925,000 citizens encompassing approximately 4,782 square miles in a 10-county area. The LCCC PSTI is currently serving the following counties, but not limited to: Bradford, Columbia, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Northumberland, Pike, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Wayne, and Wyoming.

In just one year, the PSTI experienced a 608% growth in numbers served through the College’s regional training initiative. Working closely with the County Commissioners and EMA coordinators in several counties, more than 2,000 individuals including municipal officials, emergency responders and municipal employees were trained in FEMA’s mandatory IS700 – an Introduction into Incident Command.

The key elements for the PSTI include a headquarters building with classrooms, administrative offices, apparatus bays, equipment storage, and a small maintenance shop.

Outdoor training props include:


  • Drill tower
  • Tactical training building with live fire simulators and flashover capabilities

  • Confined space rescue, including a trench collapse prop and an urban search and rescue prop

  • Low speed driving track, including skid pad which will double as a heliport. LCCC has already secured approval from the FAA and upon construction will be licensed as an official landing site.

  • Outdoor live fire burn props, e.g. car fire, vertical industrial pipe fire, propane fuel tank, rail tank props

Indoor training props include:


  • Live fire indoor shooting range, with qualification and move and shoot scenario capability

  • Fire arms training simulator

  • Weapons cleaning area

  • Armor storage facilities

  • Driving simulators

Phase I of PSTI construction is currently underway and will be paid for by private funds and non-bond issue funding provided by the county and state. Phase I includes rough grading, which prepares the site for construction and utility installation; site development work; installation of utilities; construction of the tactical burn building; and construction of the headquarters building.

The target completion date for all Phase I construction for the PSTI is February 2008. Phase II will begin in spring 2008 and includes the low speed driving track, skid pad/heliport, off-road course, four-lane highway simulation, confined space, and trench rescue.

The LCCC Public Safety Training Institute has an estimated cost of more than $28 million. LCCC recently held a Groundbreaking Ceremony for its Public Safety Training Institute at the construction site on Prospect Street in Nanticoke.

Speakers for the Groundbreaking included: Gregory A. Skrepenak, chair, Luzerne County Board of Commissioners and secretary, LCCC Board of Trustees; Dr. Ross Scarantino, chair, LCCC Board of Trustees; Thomas P. Leary, interim president, LCCC; The Honorable Raphael Musto, Senate of PA; The Honorable John Yudichak, PA House of Representatives; James R. Wills, Jr., Deputy Fire Chief, Kingston Fire Department and President, Luzerne County Fire and Rescue Training Association; John Bushko, Mayor, City of Nanticoke; Kathleen Dunsmuir, president, LCCC Foundation Board of Directors; Christopher Rothenbecker, president, LCCC Student Government Association; and Dr. Karen A. Flannery, dean, public safety training and special initiatives, LCCC. Rev. John R. Kelleher, professor emeritus, LCCC provided a remembrance and Dr. Joseph J. Grilli, vice president, training institutes, external affairs and planning at LCCC served as master of ceremonies.

Members of the Scranton Firefighters IAFF Local 60 served as honor guards for the event. Pre-ceremony entertainment was provided by the Greater Nanticoke Area Marching Band. The Ceol Mor Pipe & Drum Band, Luzerne County, led the procession to the construction site. Local firefighters and emergency responders were invited to attend in uniform.

More info: http://www.luzerne.edu/index.asp

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