8/2/2002 12:00 AM
The 2002 Annual Fire Schools drew more than 4,200 students and guest instructors to College Station to the largest fire training field in the country. Students came from all over the state and nation, as well as from Spanish-speaking countries around the world. Four week-long schools were held between July 7 and Aug. 2. Instructors with the Emergency Services Training Institute were assisted by 865 volunteer instructors.
The largest school, the Municipal Texas Fire Training School, is in its 73rd year and attracted 2,058 students from Texas and nine other states during the week of July 21-26. This year, 450 guest instructors participated, and safety supervisors were assigned to each burn projects. Family members of participants and the general public came out to watch the firefighters fight some of the biggest fires staged for training anywhere in the world.
The 36th annual Spanish Texas Fire Training School was held July 7-12, and drew 628 students from 17 countries. During the week of July 14-20, 116 students came to the 5th annual Emergency Response and Rescue School, which is designed for HazMat and rescue responders, and includes classes in emergency response to terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. The Industrial Texas Fire Training School brought 550 students to TEEX’s Brayton Fire Training Field and National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center July 28 – Aug. 2.
The first fire training school was held on the Texas A&M University campus and in Hensel Park in 1930. The two-day drill attracted 176 firefighters from 96 Texas towns. The Municipal Fire Training program moved to the Brayton Fireman Training Field in 1960.
Today, the field has 132 training “props” and covered outdoor classroom shelters on the 120-acre site, including 21 live-fire props. Adjacent to the fire training field is the $70 million “Disaster City” complex, a full-scale urban disaster simulation that is the most comprehensive emergency response training facility in the nation.