Owens Community College is continuing its commitment to making emergency preparedness training available to police, fire and emergency services personnel, as well as the military, by unveiling plans and breaking ground for a new $3.2 million Emergency Preparedness Operations Building.
The new building will serve as the Northwest Ohio regional training site for the Ohio Fire Academy. First responders attending the academy, which is located in Reynoldsburg, will be able to heighten their emergency preparedness skills at the Owen center. Since 1978, the Ohio Fire Academy has provided emergency response training to over 380,000 first responders statewide.
“Owens Community College and the Ohio Fire Academy are leaders in emergency response training and are committed to providing first responders with new simulated training opportunities that support classroom learning through the use of state-of-the-art educational resources,” said Dr. Paul Unger, Owens executive vice president and provost. “We welcome this new collaboration with the Ohio Fire Academy and embrace the idea of aligning our educational philosophies.”
Provost Unger added, “This strategic partnership gives firefighters and first responders an opportunity to receive the same top quality Ohio Fire Academy training while staying close to home in Northwest Ohio,” said State Fire Marshal Michael P. Bell. “This is the first collaboration of its kind between the Division of State Fire Marshal and an Ohio community college, and we hope it will pave the way for more opportunities throughout the state.”
The new 28,790 square-foot Emergency Preparedness Operations Building is being built at the west entrance to the Center for Emergency Preparedness and will provide first responders with expanded opportunities for real-world, scenario training highlighted by the only indoor simulated burn building in the country.
The four-story simulated burn building will feature a state-of-the-art video projection program that will enable first responders to conduct a variety of structure burn scenarios, such as residential, commercial, processing or electrical equipment fires using actual water within a controlled virtual fire and smoke environment. The building is also designed for high angle rescue, ground and aerial ladder drills, apparatus placement, high-rise hose evolution, and rappel entry and exit training, as well as roof ventilation training exercises through the use of a replaceable roof.
The building will also include six classrooms, eight offices, two reception areas, locker room facilities and a 40-foot high bay complex with 10 overhead garage doors that will house the simulated burn building and first responder vehicles.
The construction project, which is slated for completion in August 2009, will house Owens Center for Emergency Preparedness and Toledo Fire and Rescue Department and Emergency Medical Services Bureau staff and officials.
Designed by the firm Sitzenstock Associates Inc. of Maumee, the exterior of the building will feature an insulated finishing system around the single-story portion of the facility, while metal will encircle the Emergency Preparedness Operations Building’s high bay complex.
Owens’ signature red color will be present atop the Emergency Preparedness Operations Building’s metal roof. Van Tassel Construction Co. of Ottawa Lake, Mich. will serve as the general contractor, while Gem Industrial Inc. of Walbridge, Brint Electric Inc. of Toledo and Accel Fire Systems Inc. of Sylvania will oversee the plumbing and mechanical, electrical and fire protection contracts, respectively.
The $20.5 million Center for Emergency Preparedness opened in 2007. The expansive complex offers the opportunity for “real-world” training in a safe and controlled environment. Potential training scenarios that can be conducted include those related to natural and manmade disasters involving hazardous materials, confined spaces, riots, entrapments and weapons of mass destruction. Currently, there is no higher education facility for multi agencies to conduct concurrent emergency response training in the Midwest. The federal government operates the only other emergency response facilities somewhat similar in stature.
Since the facility opened, many police, fire and emergency services personnel, as well as the military from Ohio and beyond have utilized the facility for either specialized or concurrent emergency preparedness training.
Owens currently offers associate degrees and certificate programs in Fire Science Technology, Criminal Justice Technology, Corrections, Military Science, Emergency Medical Management, Emergency Management and Planning, and Public Safety Communications, among others.
Owens also has a longstanding partnership with both Toledo Police and Fire Departments, serving as the training site for the two organizational academies, and has partnerships with the Ohio Fire Academy, Ohio Police Officer Training Academy and the U.S. Coast Guard.
Operations Building #2
The four-story simulated burn building will feature a state-of-the-art video projection program that will enable first responders to conduct a variety of structure burn scenarios, such as residential, commercial, processing or electrical equipment fires, using actual water within a controlled virtual fire and smoke environment.