FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WNCN) — North Carolina is setting the benchmark when it comes to swift water rescue training.
Recently Fayetteville Technical Community College opened the only indoor swift water training facility on the east coast. A ribbon cutting for the facility was held on Monday afternoon next to the FTCC Fire and Rescue Training Facility.
This controlled environment allows emergency responders to train year-round. The facility can simulate realistic weather elements including rain, lightning, and thunder, as well as nighttime conditions. FTCC President said the nearly $5 million facility is gaining a lot of interest across the state and along the east coast.
“We crank this thing up last week and we already getting people calling wanting to come here,” Dr. Mark Sorrells, FTCC President said.
FTCC Swift Water Rescue Facility contains a 140,000-gallon tank, ten pumps that can blast water at a flow of up to 7 knots, and the ability to simulate a variety of training scenarios, including different weather, water temperatures, obstacles and rescue challenges, including simulated rescues at night.
“This is a very nice facility and it’s a dream come true especially for Cumberland County to have this in our backyard. Opportunities it’s going to bring emergency service up and down the east coast,” Sean Johnson, Swift Water Rescue Technician & Instructor said.
Johnson said traditionally swift water rescue teams train in rivers, which can be dangerous. Things like flowing debris, rocks, and water depth can cause injuries.
“You have to keep your head on a swivel and actually have people designated to keep a watch upstream to help minimize and try to prevent those type of injuries,” Johnson said.
He said after leaving this new state of the art facility, students will be prepared to handle real events when they do happen.
“There is nowhere else you’re going to go and have this type of safe environment and be able to mimic what you have out in a natural environment just with the flip of switches,” Johnson said.
“We will prioritize Cumberland County, but we will also allow folks from out of state and all across the state to be able and come here to train,” Dr. Sorrells said.
For more information on the facility click here.