Tarrant County College Northwest is growing its Fire Service Training Center to expand opportunities for the next generation of first responders. On Friday, Jan. 11, at 11 a.m., the Fire Service Training Center will officially open the campus’s Fire Station 2. The event will include a ribbon cutting, remarks by TCC Chancellor Eugene Giovannini and TCC Northwest President Zarina Blankenbaker and opportunities to tour the new space.
With the addition of Fire Station 2, a two-bay structure, the College has adequate space to house all its fire trucks. The 50’x60’ station has dedicated areas for bunker gear and equipment cleaning. It also can be used as a covered training area during inclement weather.
“Like all of our training facilities, Fire Station 2 is a direct reflection of what students will see in their careers,” said Steve Keller, FSTC director. “We want our graduates to be equipped to quickly and accurately make decisions in emergency situations, and that comes from being abundantly prepared for what they’ll experience in their fire stations and in the field.”
TCC is the area’s primary trainer for firefighters and other first responders. FSTC courses combine classroom instruction with hands-on skills training. Features of the 23-acre FSTC complex, in addition to its two fire stations, include a simulated city for live firefighting—with streets, residences, businesses, an apartment-hotel complex and high-rise buildings—along with a swift-water rescue site, trench rescue training area, confined-space rescue maze and simulated train derailment with hazardous materials scenario. FSTC students train on four fire trucks, a 1999 E-ONE 75-foot Quint donated to the College by Grapevine Fire Department, a 1993 Pierce 75-foot Quint, a 1996 International and a 2004 International.
The College holds three 14-week cadet classes each year, and the Fire Academy is certified with the Texas Commission on Fire Protection, which makes graduates eligible to take the state certification exam for basic firefighting. TCC consistently has a pass rate of or near 100 percent.
In addition to the basic Fire Academy, TCC offers professional development to working firefighters from across the region and their departments. The wide variety of classes the FSTC is able to offer include Instructor (I, II and III), Fire Officer (I, II and III), Strategy and Tactics, Command and Control, Driver/Pump Operator, Rope Rescue Technician (I and II), Confined Space Technician, Structural Collapse Technician, Trench Rescue Technician, Hazardous Materials Technician, Vehicle Rescue Technician, Swift Water Rescue Technician and Emergency Boat Operator.
Across the nation, firefighting employment is expected to grow 7 percent between 2016 and 2026, about as fast as average for all occupations. Texas employs nearly 28,000 firefighters, the second most in the nation. The annual mean wage for firefighters in the Fort Worth-Arlington area is $65,630.