Russell C Spicola
The Tampa Fire Rescue's Training Division is located at 116 S 34th St (813-242-5410). The Training Academy is a State of Florida Regional Training Center for fire service education. The Academy has hosted classes sponsored by the National Fire Academy which gives Tampa Fire Training Division national recognition.
The staff of the Training Division consists of a Training Chief, a Training Captain, an Administrative Assistant and a Maintenance Support person, all working a 40 hour work week. The Academy also employs three (3) part-time instructors.
The Training Division and its facility are in partnership with Learey Technical Center and the School District of Hillsborough County offering the Firefighter I and Firefighter II Minimum Standards Program. The facility provides instruction to four (4) classes per year to those prospective candidates that wish to enter the Fire Service. The graduation rate for this instruction is over 90% per class. All Instructors teaching at the facility are active or former Tampa Fire Rescue personnel who are at least a State Certified Instructor I.
Continuing Education is a vital key to the success, development, growth and knowledge of current Tampa Fire Rescue personnel and other outside fire rescue departments. Through the Friends of Tampa Firefighters (FOTFF), this type of education can be accomplished. Current Tampa Fire Rescue personnel deliver courses each having a State of Florida Fire College number and approval. The FOTFF’s is an approved 501-c3 with revenues used to enhance the Training Facility, purchase of needed equipment and helps fund the future Tampa Firefighters Memorial. All students of this program receive state credit and have the ability to apply for tuition reimbursement. This provides an opportunity to build, shape and nurture current and future officers of the department.
The facility houses a state of the art Live Fire Burn Building. This building enables firefighters to experience first-hand the beginning stages of fire from the incipient stage to free burning stage and to the flashover stage. While firefighters are inside during the live fire phase, firefighters on the outside can witness the color of smoke and how it changes through each stage of burning. This is a valuable tool used to better train firefighters while helping to prevent firefighter injury and death. At the end of 2012, the Training Division put over 90% of the departments 625 personnel through the burn building. This was accomplished while personnel were on duty and active emergency calls were still dispatched and responded to within the standard response time. In 2013, the plan is to perform this training again using “Tactics” as the course subject.
Also on site is a fully functional EMS Skills Lab. Tampa Fire Rescue personnel utilize the lab to maintain their skills and for recertification in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) and obtain certification as Paramedic of Records (POR). The lab is staffed with two part-time TFR instructors.