On April 19th the Tarrant County College Fire Service Training Center hosted leaders from the City of Grapevine, to express gratitude for the city’s recent donation of an aerial apparatus truck to the College’s training program.
The ladder truck—a 1999 E-ONE 75-foot Quint—passed its serviceable life with the City of Grapevine. Used trucks often go to auction, but Grapevine Fire Department Chief Darrell Brown proposed giving the vehicle to the Fire Service Training Center, located on Northwest Campus. The Grapevine City Council unanimously approved the donation.
During a special appreciation luncheon, the College conducted tours of its Fire Service Training Center and display the ladder truck. In addition to Chief Brown, dignitaries in attendance included City Council members Paul Slechta, Michael Lease, Chris Coy and Duff O’Dell, City Manager Bruno Rumbelow, Assistant City Manager Jennifer Hibbs, Assistant Chief Stuart Grant and Assistant Chief John Sherwood.
“The generosity of the City of Grapevine will have a real impact on the next generation of firefighters,” said Steve Keller, director of TCC’s Fire Service Training Center. “This allows us to hold multiple truck courses simultaneously and give students even more experience in real-world situations. They will enter the workforce even more prepared to serve their communities.”
The donated vehicle is worth approximately $140,000. It becomes TCC’s second ladder truck and third fire truck overall. Prior to use by students, the truck was refurbished and underwent inspection and certification of the ladder.
The Grapevine Fire Department has had a long, successful partnership with TCC. In the 1970s, many Grapevine firefighters studied under Jim Nichols, who pioneered TCC’s fire service education program. When the Grapevine Fire Department launched the use of Mobile Intensive Care Unit ambulances the following decade, more than 40 firefighters obtained paramedic certification through the College.
Since the 1990s, TCC has worked with the Grapevine Fire Department to provide professional development classes in hazardous materials, specialized rescues and other topics. Many past and present leaders of the department, including Deputy Chief Mark Ashmead, are TCC alumni.
TCC is the area’s primary trainer for firefighters and other first responders. Fire Service Training Center courses combine classroom instruction with hands-on skills training. Facility features 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.
Tarrant County 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.
The deadline to submit an application for the Fire Academy’s fall 2017 cadet class is Thursday, July 27. Veterans are encouraged to apply. In addition to the Fire Academy, the Fire Service Training Center offers an Associate of Applied Science in Fire Protection Technology and continuing education for professional and volunteer firefighters.