Area firefighters do ‘real-world’ training at new UA-operated center

August 15, 2016

Burn Building

The new training center located on the Portage Lakes Career Center and operated by The University of Akron’s College of Applied Science and Technology.

Navigating through the zero-visibility of smoke in a burning structure, quickly breaking through locked doors, and rescuing trapped residents from multi-story buildings are key elements of firefighting. These and many other critical firefighting skills will be honed in a new state-of-the-art, emergency services live burn training laboratory dedicated today, Aug. 15, by the Portage Lakes Career Center (PLCC) and The University of Akron’s College of Applied Science and Technology (CAST).

Along with new classrooms and fire trucks, the centerpiece of the new facility is the “burn building.” Here firefighters will work on techniques, including forcible entry into a building, the rescue of residents and the ‘bail out’ of firefighters from a second-floor window, the ventilation of roofs and other important skills. Thanks to the controlled ignition of flammable materials in one of the “burn building” rooms and plywood-lined walls and ceilings, firefighters will work on these and other techniques with real smoke and flames all around.

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Smoke pours from the live burn training laboratory as the exercise begins at the Aug. 15 facility dedication.

Training for experienced firefighters and students

“This facility is the first of its kind in Summit County, and it meets a need for training that is as ‘real-world’ as it gets,” said Robert Pursley Jr., director of UA’s Training Center for Fire and Hazardous Materials.

The new training center located on the Portage Lakes Career Center campus will not only serve current firefighters, but PLCC students as well. Students will have the opportunity to earn State of Ohio firefighter, Hazardous-Materials and other certifications needed for a career in emergency services. They will also receive college credit that can be applied toward an associate degree.

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Firefighters approach the live burn that was part of the Aug. 15 facility dedication.

“Experiential education is a hallmark of The University of Akron,” said Elizabeth Kennedy, interim dean of UA’s College of Applied Science and Technology. “What could be more hands-on for future firefighters than learning to battle fires in the midst of real smoke and flames?”

PLCC provided primary funding for the new center and UA’s Training Center for Fire and Hazardous Materials will manage the facility with an on-site office.

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Firefighters extinguish a blaze at today’s Aug. 15 facility dedication.

Go online for more information about the Portage Lakes Career Center and UA’s College of Applied Science and Technology.

Media contacts: Dan Minnich, 330-972-6476 or dminnich@uakron.edu, or Lisa Craig, 330-972-7429 or lmc91@uakron.edu.