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New Fire Training Center Opens at EFSC

February 11, 2016

Florida Today Video Story

For firefighters, a second can mean the difference between life and death.

That makes rigorous training essential to ready them for any situation they may face.

Fire Training CenterThat preparation is now taking an important step forward with the opening of a new Fire Training Center on Eastern Florida State College’s Palm Bay campus.

The state-of-the-art facility includes a four-story rescue tower, two-story burn building to conduct live burns, a propane field with control center and an academic building with classrooms.

The center will train firefighters for all 13 municipal fire departments in Brevard County and Brevard County Fire-Rescue, making it a key resource to ensure public safety along the Space Coast.

“For the past 25 years, the fire chiefs have always wanted an all-inclusive training center we could use. Now we do,” said Brevard Fire-Rescue Chief Mark Schollmeyer. “The college’s administration has an unwavering commitment to the facility and that backing is a big plus.”

Along with training new firefighters the center will also provide advanced training for veteran firefighters, allowing them to hone their skills in specialized firefighting techniques and complicated rescue operations.

“We’ve always had top tier instructors teaching at our Fire Academy and now we have a new top tier facility to match,” said Jack Parker, Associate Vice President for the college’s Public Safety Institute.

“We have a much safer community and our firefighter recruits and veterans are much better prepared because of the things they are learning at Eastern Florida.”

The college previously had a successful partnership with Port Canaveral where it shared fire-training facilities for many years.

But limited space made it difficult to expand the college’s program to meet the needs of Brevard’s growing communities.

As a result, college President Dr. Jim Richey and the Board of Trustees approved moving the program to the Palm Bay campus and building a new facility on a 20-acre site.

Fire Training Center firefightersThe center’s first class began training in February with 35 recruits.

“We had a great relationship with our friends at Port Canaveral but we needed to grow our program,” said Marian Shelpman, Dean of EFSC’s Public Safety Institute. “Now we have one of the best facilities in the state.”

Added Parker: “The credit goes to Dr. Richey and our trustees for putting the public safety needs of our community, and the training of our firefighter students, at such a high level.”

The Fire Training Center is the latest in a series of major EFSC expansion projects to support more than 30 new programs, including Bachelor’s and Associate’s degrees in fast-growing career fields.

The college opened a new Public Safety Institute on the Melbourne campus last year that trains law enforcement and corrections officers, EMTs, paramedics, 911 operators and others in criminal justice fields.

The campus is also the site for a major new Health Sciences Institute that’s under construction and scheduled to open in January 2017 that will contain about 10 highly specialized labs.

The Melbourne campus will also be the location for a planned Center for Innovative Technology Education that would educate students for the local technology, aviation, aerospace and advanced manufacturing industries.

For more information on the Fire Training Academy and the college’s public safety programs, visit or contact Public Safety Institute Dean Marian Shelpman at (321) 433-5775,