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Proposed Fire Training Facility Kindles Community Relationships for the NCANG

  • Published
  • By by Tech. Sgt. Nathan Clark
  • 145th Airlift Wing

The N.C. Air National Guard has partnered with the Office of State Fire Marshal to build the N.C. Emergency Training Center, a facility at the Stanly County Airport that would provide specialized training for emergency responders statewide while sparking economic growth to the region.

For many years, the firefighters of the N.C. Air National Guard utilized the school and facility at Good Fellow Air Force Base in Texas. The new training center in Stanly County will reduce the need for Airmen to travel out of state, while providing a center for local non-military first responders to utilize as well.

“It's really a critical area and when you look at it from the training perspective there's nothing that we do that's more important than being trained and ready for virtually any type of event,” said Chief Master Sgt. Daryl Cook, Fire Emergency Services Chief for the 145th Airlift Wing.

The proposed facility will offer specialized classes in natural disaster response, structural collapse, interior firefighting, exterior firefighting, and urban search and rescue, making it only the second of its kind in the nation.

“We want to be a one-stop shop for virtually any type of emergency response training that our first responders could be faced with,” said Cook. “Right now, we don't have a State Fire Academy here in North Carolina so there are several thousand firefighters that don't have a good location to get both basic and advanced courses in the fire department disciplines.”

By partnering with the 145th Airlift Wing the Office of State Fire Marshal is able to build the center with no upfront costs, and complete it using a combination of Federal and State Funding. Once finished the estimated cost to house and train emergency responders will be a mere $30 a day, making it a viable option for emergency units that would otherwise lack the funds for advanced training.

For Chief Cook the important take away is that none of this could have worked without teamwork, “We [the N.C. Air National Guard] couldn't do it alone. The Office of State Fire Marshal understood they couldn't do it alone, and I think this is going to set an outstanding precedent across the guard for what can and will happen when you put a partnership like this together.”