Three firefighters use a hose to douse fire in the ceiling of the college's new burn room during the Great Florida Fire School.

Three firefighters use a hose to douse fire in the ceiling of the college’s new burn room during the Great Florida Fire School.Firefighters from around the state came, learned, and went home with new skills from attending the five-day Great Florida Fire School at South Florida State College’s Highlands Campus.

Nov. 9-13 marked the sixth time the Florida State Firefighters Association (FSFA) brought the Great Florida Fire School to SFSC. As past FSFA president Robert Amick explained, the five-day traveling fire school provides firefighters with an economical alternative for completing specialized training and earning state-mandated continuing education credits. Firefighters pay a modest flat fee to take as many classes as they can complete in the five-day period. Some are able to take as many as 15.

“The Great Florida Fire School offered classes firefighters wouldn’t be able to take anywhere else,” Amick said. “They learned learn about new tools, new techniques, and advances in technology. Vendors demonstrated new equipment and taught firefighters how to use it. Instructors came from all over the state to share their knowledge and gave firefighters new insight into their profession.”

This year’s fire school offered more than 35 classes in topics such as explosives and firefighter safety, using rescue tools in high strength steel vehicles, aerial operations, and live firefighting practice. Others focused on personal health issues like preventing suicide, coping with stress, and protecting themselves against AIDS and HIV.

The nearly 70 firefighters who came from around the state got firsthand experience with SFSC’s new fire science facilities and were able to network with their instructors and peers.

Lorrie Key, SFSC’s director of corporate and continuing education, said SFSC was proud to be able to bring the Great Florida Fire School to central Florida and was anticipating its return in November 2017. For more information, call Key at 784-7033 or visit www.greatfloridafireschool.com.

A Duke Energy instructor shows how electrical lines spark fires in this safety course at the Great Florida Fire School.

A Duke Energy instructor shows how electrical lines spark fires in this safety course at the Great Florida Fire School.

Instructor Brandon Ball explains basic explosive terms with a Powerpoint presentation and shows simulated explosive devices firefighters could encounter in the course of their work.

Instructor Brandon Ball leads a safety course in working around explosives at the Great Florida Fire School.