Fire, EMS Programs at Cleveland (OH) Community College Get Boost

The photo shows the Star of Life.
File Photo

Dustin George

The Star, Shelby, N.C.


For almost 20 years the Brown Emergency Training Center at Cleveland Community College has been responsible for training, certifying and improving fire fighters and emergency medical workers through a mix of classroom and simulation technology.

This summer, the center got a major boost in the form of new trucks, training tools and simulators.

The centerpiece of the new tools is a fire truck, painted white and bearing the college’s Yeti mascot dressed as a firefighter on its sides.

The truck, a 2009 model fire engine, was originally bought for use in Pennsylvania. By the time it was retired from service, the engine had fewer than 7,000 miles on it. Richard Carroll, instructor and coordinator of fire and emergency instruction, jokes the college will be the first department to give it an oil change.

“It is practically brand new,” he said. “A truck like this should cost around $500,000. We got it for a little under $300,000. It was a steal.”

The truck replaces a late ’90s model fire truck and brings the college’s training programs into the current century. The new truck has digital gauges and uses a system of levers to operate all of its functions.

“This is much more like what (students) will use when they get to a fire department today,” said Carroll.

The college has also invested in new tools to simulate tanker roll overs and spills, as well as pipeline leaks for industrial training, new mobile units to serve as classrooms and upgrades to the burning building simulator.

The goal of all of the new tools, Carroll said, is to give students training as close to the real experience as possible.

“We want to build muscle memory,” he said. “If these guys are going to run these hose lines at three in the morning in the dark and in the pouring rain, they need to train to do it in the daylight.”

While the bulk of upgrades came to the school’s firefighting program, Cleveland Community College also invested in its EMS programs this summer. The college has ordered a new ambulance and is waiting on it to be delivered.

These upgrades are part of a multi-million dollar effort by the college to create new programs and strengthen its existing ones.

Dustin George can be reached at 704-669-3337 or


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