COLLEGE STATION, Texas (Nexstar)— How do firefighters train to keep Texas neighborhoods safe? Some spend time at Texas A&M.
Aggieland is home to the Texas A&M Engineering and Extension Service, where fire crews attend trainings, trade best practices, learn new techniques and sharpen skills to meet advancements in technology.
“We train these firefighters on municipal firefighting, but we also train them on industrial firefighting because industry is starting to creep into our municipalities now, and they need to know the difference in the two types of fires,” said Chief Robert Moore, director of TEEX Emergency Services Training Institute.
This year marked the 90th municipal fire school hosted by TEEX. During the training, instructors open up the facility to the public to highlight the skills the firefighters work on during the week and inspire Texans to consider becoming emergency responders.
Participants represented 177 Texas counties, as well as 14 other states. Two firefighters came from Saudia Arabia and one came from Israel to attend.
“You can’t put a price on the training we get down here,” Lubbock Fire Rescue training captain Randy Lammons said.
“We share everything, we have a lot of time in between burns with the students,” he explained. “I have a guy that’s from Houston Fire —which has 5,000 — to me —we have 400 — to a guy that has 12 on his department.”
Most techniques are set to national standards, but emergency responders attend trainings year after year, learning to adapt to changes in equipment.
“We have a great relationship with a lot of different vendors that build fire equipment,” Moore said. “They bring new technology in, we are able to show the firefighters new technology.”
“We have better equipment, high water flows, firefighting foams that we didn’t have (before),” he explained.
More than 70% of Texas fire departments are made up of volunteers, which serves as another driving force for the firefighters to help each other and inspire Texans to join the ranks.
“Small rural towns are hurting for people,” Lammons said. “So any help at all they can get, go give them, at least talk to them.”
“If you want to be an active member of your community, go by and talk to the volunteer departments in your area,” he explained. “Give it a shot.”
TEEX hosts other emergency responder trainings year-round. Moore said his teams trained more than 116,000 first responders in 2018. For information on participating or attending a training, visit the TEEX website.