REDDING, Calif. — Firefighters from all over California and the west will get the opportunity to learn and take their skills to a new level on the Shasta College Redding campus with their new Regional Public Safety Training Center.
Finishing touches were being made to the facility a few weeks ago as they had originally planned to unveil the facility in February but due to weather conditions, the unveiling had to be rescheduled to Thursday.
Phase one of the Regional Public Safety Training Center includes a wooden structure, that mimics breaking through a roof to fight a structure fire, and two metal training towers, where basic and advanced firefighting and rescue techniques can be taught.
One of the towers recreates real-life conditions with gas-powered flames that can reach a couple thousand degrees. The training done under experienced instructors.
"Some people when they panic, they want to get up and run out," said Don Lacy, the Interim Director of Fire Technology and EMS. "Well, when you get up, the temperature can be upwards of 1,200 to 2,000 degrees. So it's one of those things we have instructors to keep them low, if somebody panics we're there to take care of them. We have safety officers in place, and so, the facility provides that."
The new fire academy will include the towers, classrooms, offices, and locker rooms.
Redding Fire Chief Cullen Kreider is excited about the facility and says future firefighters can learn and improve their skills in just about anything they will encounter in real-life situations.
"We all have small training sites, every department, Cal Fire, Redding Fire, County Fire, but to have a facility like this where we can actually all get together and train together on techniques, really ups the level of safety for our people," said Chief Kreider.
College Superintendent/President, Dr. Joe Wyse, says with the recent Carr and Camp Fires, the demand is there and so is the desire.
"With our recent local events here over the last year, we've seen quite a bit of interest, and I think we have one of our largest fire academy classes in history starting this Spring with over 50 students," said Wyse. "And so it's exciting to be able to provide this training opportunity for people, and for the long term good and safety of our community."
The money for the $2.7 million fire academy comes from Measure H, passed by voters in 2016.
Other projects on the way include a veterans center, computer information systems building, a career technical education building, and renovation of existing facilities.