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Iowa Central fire training expands

Donations have made the program possible

In cooperation with many key public and private partners, local and state, the Iowa Central Fire Science Program is continuing to innovate and leverage the regional fire training center located at 1521 Ave. O in Fort Dodge.

With support of local and national businesses, more than $200,000 has been raised to help equip the training center over the past several years.

“We have had an outpouring of support for our efforts to produce marketable firefighting candidates for fire departments all across the nation, and in Iowa specifically,” said Lenny Sanders, coordinator of the college’s fire science program. ”This public support indicates that we are moving our program in the right direction, and that our emphasis on hands-on training coupled with strong didactic learning is what fire departments are looking for in candidates. We would like to publicly thank the donors who are and have been, helping to make our Fire Science Program the premier program in Iowa”.

The college received local and state funding to erect a four-story Fire Training Tower several years ago, along with several props. These props include propane-fueled trash bin, car, and flammable liquid fire prop, as well as hazardous materials training props, and an automobile extrication training area.

Iowa Central will be holding a thank you recognition ceremony and reception, taking place at the Regional Emergency Responder Training Center, (RERTC) on Friday Sept. 25, 2020, with the donations and fire tower available to be viewed by the public and press in attendance.

“The community has shown great support for the program, and we appreciate their help,” said college President Dan Kinney.

Fort Dodge Mayor Matt Bemrich and Fire Chief Steve Hergenretter, concurred, and said “As our regional training needs continue to grow and dangerous things will happen, we hope we can continue to receive such support from the area’s companies, fire departments and state Legislature for this important asset to our region.”

The donors we would like to recognize are:

Canadian National Railway, Fort Dodge

The CN Railway donated the tanker car, valued at more than $100,000, which made such a huge addition to our training equipment, especially for all of the rural fire departments who will likely be called when a petroleum or biofuel rail tanker crashes.

McGough Construction, Fort Dodge

McGough donated the use of one of their cranes and trucks to haul the rail tanker car from the Des Moines riverfront railroad yard to the training site. The CN Railway donated the car so firefighters and first responders could take simulted training drills.

Doors, Inc., Fort Dodge

Doors, Inc. donated a steel door valued at approximately $1,000 to replace a door on the second-floor burn room at the Regional Emergency Response Training Center.

Industrial Scientific Corp., Hollandale, Michigan

Deb Majeske, senior district sales manager of Industrial Scientific Corp. donated a Ventis Mx4 four-gas detector to our program. Hazardous materials response is a large part of fire and emergency response today, and our program prepares students to certify at the Hazardous Materials – Operations level in their first semester. Having this equipment ensures that our students are working with the latest and greatest technology from their first day on campus.

MidAmerican Energy

MidAmerican Energy has donated a three-phase electricity drop at the Regional Emergency Response Training Center. This donation has allowed us to move forward with an electricity project to bring our training methodology into the 21st century.

Fort Dodge Fire Department

Fort Dodge Fire Rescue has been a great partner with the Regional Emergency Response Training Center. They have donated surplus protective equipment and other outdated items that they can no longer use, but serves us well at the training center. In addition, the firefighters have been very helpful in providing hands to help with some of the projects such as replacing the Padgenite panels in the tower’s burn rooms, performing repairs to the facility, and helping keep the facility clean and tidy.

Toyne, Inc., Breda

Toyne has provided a very large donation in the form of a 1998 American LaFrance Eagle fire engine. This engine served as a front-line pumper in Des Moines for many years, and was received back by Toyne when they traded it in on a new apparatus. The engine is in fantastic shape, even though it has served the state’s largest city. It was maintained well, and will serve the Iowa Central Fire Science Program well as we move into the future. Given the resale prices on used fire apparatus sites, comparable fire engines are selling for about $40,000. In addition, Toyne has indicated that they want to provide the program with a new demonstrator apparatus every two years for our students to use. These generous offers will ensure that we always have a reliable apparatus at our disposal, while still offering students the opportunity to work with the newest technology available.

Iowa Falls Fire Department

Chief Scott Eisentrager of Iowa Falls Fire Department is donating 11 self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) with six spare cylinders and a Rapid Intervention Team pack to our program. The estimated value of this donation, if purchased from a refurbisher, is $25,000. This donation is going to allow us to maximize the training time our students get, as they will each have an SCBA and will not have to share them. This allows training rotations to happen more frequently, with less student down time. Engaging students for the greatest amount of time possible ensures the best education and training outcomes.

Cargill, Land O’ Lakes, West Central Co-Op, NEW Co-Op, POET Biorefining, and Rasch Construction have donated cash and in-kind services to help improve the training center

This column was provided by Iowa Central Community College.

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