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Center for Emergency preparedness Offers Wide Range of Training

For many years, business, industry, and emergency responders in northwest Ohio have had access to one of the state’s most comprehensive training facilities. Now, with new training materials and other improvements over the last year, the Center for Emergency Preparedness at Owens Community College has even more to offer local governments.

On any given day the center might host a police department training bomb sniffing dogs on a rubble pile, motorcycle training on the track, fire fighters searching a pitch dark, three-story structure, emergency crews evacuating a plane, or industrial safety teams learning about hazardous materials.

Mark Briggs, fire training coordinator for the center, said, “Any business that has an emergency response team could train their people here.” He cited refineries, auto plants, and chemical companies as examples. He said that even ordinary office buildings should have staff trained on the use of fire extinguishers, CPR, and defibrillators.

Briggs has been in the fire service for 36 years, currently working full-time with the Toledo Fire Department. He works part-time managing the center for emergency preparedness. Briggs emphasizes the value of practical training. He said, “People don’t put their hands on some of this equipment every day. When they get proper scenario-based training, they learn good thinking skills as well as confidence with the tools.”

In an arrangement that began less than a year ago, the center is now a regional training site for the Ohio Fire Academy based in Columbus. This is the first regional partnership for the academy, bringing comprehensive training to people in northwest Ohio. “We are one of the largest centers of this type in Ohio,” said Briggs. “The training centers in Columbus would love to have our high-bay building that allows us to train year-round.”

New specialty training has been added recently in partnership with local industry. Davis Besse donated a structure used for intensive training in confined space extrication. The “candy cane” is only 36 inches in diameter, with a tight curve. Rescuers are trained in how to maneuver within the narrow confines of the tube to reach and safely bring out a trapped person. Gem Industrial and Jones-Hamilton helped to install the structure. The center also has a new prop to help train trench rescues. This would apply to people working on deep pipes or in ditches.

In the next several months, the staff at the center will complete a brand new maritime training program for any one working on water. Comprehensive maritime safety training should be available in the fall of 2016.

For questions about the Center for Emergency Preparedness and information about programs, contact Mark Briggs at 567.661.2081 or mark_briggs@owens.edu.


The facility includes a wide range of real-world scenarios where first responders
get hands-on training.


Firefighters and volunteers can complete certification programs and take
advanced training.

 


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