COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service is holding its 93rd annual fire school training from July 24-29 at Brayton Fire Training Field.
Over 900 municipal and volunteer firefighters and nearly 300 guest instructors are coming together this week to learn vital skills throughout training to prepare them for real-life scenarios.
TEEX says it is important to have a "safe, capable, and equipped fire service is essential to handling fires at the local level and decreasing the amount of state assistance needed."
Chief Gordon Lohmeyer serves as the chief of the annual schools and division director of fire and emergency services through TEEX.
“We have 954 registered participants,” said Lohmeyer. “We have nearly 300 guest instructors that facilitate the training on our behalf so it’s a substantial footprint for the Brazos Valley.”
Sophia Rivera is a firefighter EMT in Bexar County and is attending the fire school this week to refresh her skills.
“I think it’s a good refresher to go through stuff like this all over again that way we know how to go about fires and situations that have this kind of equipment in them,” said Rivera.
Chief Lohmeyer says participants will walk away from this program well prepared for the field.
“The preparedness piece; people are going to be able to return to their home departments, their communities and their companies more educated and better able to serve,” he said.
Rivera says helping people is her calling and being a Firefighter EMT gives her the opportunity to help people in many ways.
She shares with us how she navigates this industry as a female EMT.
“As a female, it’s a lot more difficult for me, especially to handle the hose and stuff,” said Rivera. “I really appreciate it when the guys or any instructor present us with different ways to carry a hose or go about things to make it easier on us.”
Before becoming a firefighter EMT, Rivera says she originally just wanted to be an EMS but soon learned she would need fire training, not realizing this would inspire her to switch paths.
“I actually enjoyed it,” said Rivera. “That’s where I’m at now. I’m sticking with it for as long as I can. I enjoy the job a lot. As vigorous as it is, it’s a very fun and family-driven job.”
Chief Lohmeyer says trainings like this make a positive impact on the state of Texas.
“We’re educators so if we can educate people to a certain level, give them the skill-sets, give them the tools to be safer, to be successful, and to protect their communities, I mean, that’s what it’s all about,” he said.
One guest instructor with TEEX says this training school gives participants the opportunity to connect with others and get hands-on experience.
“It gives a lot of departments the opportunity to come together and train with other departments,” said Terry Stanford, guest instructor, TEEX Municipal Fire School. “It gives them very unique and hands-on training evolutions that you can’t usually get back at your hometown departments.”
Rivera looks forward to the hands-on experience as she has been serving as an EMT for almost two years.
She’s helped with about a handful of fires but enjoys having the opportunity to prepare for any scenarios.
“When we do get our fires, trainings like this is really exciting,” said Rivera. “It gives us more hands-on experience.”
“It’s super important that we be prepared, and we be resilient as a first responder community to protect the citizens in the great state of Texas,” said Lohmeyer.
As we continue to see extremely hot temperatures and dry weather conditions, TEEX says this training is vital in the state of Texas.