Created: 06/02/2014 10:58 PM KAALtv.com
(ABC 6 News) -- Riverland Community College in Austin is taking a unique approach to training firefighters, with officials developing a new training center to help bring students closer to real life situations.
The new Fire and EMS Center is still a work in progress, but officials hope it will soon replicate a working firehouse.
"We'll be able to provide training in the classroom, and they'll be able to come out here onto the apparatus floor and train like any other station,” said Brian Staska, the fire training program manager.
The center will include all of the same equipment you'd find in a real firehouse, but will also feature a model home that will allow students to get the feel of going through a real emergency situation with unknown variables and obstacles.
"The new center we've got here...will allow us to better train, and totally immerse the students in a fire type situation,” Staska said.
On Monday, Riverland officials also announced the school will become only the fourth in the state to offer students a two-year fire science technology degree, designed to propel students into leadership roles within fire departments.
"By having the degree, that puts you in line for those positions and will definitely increase your pocketbook later on,” Staska said.
An open house is planned for later this summer.
Officials hope to have the center finished in time for the start of fall classes.