What is the latest addition to the TMCC Wildland Fire Training Program? A bright yellow engine that the Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District (TMFPD) donated to the TMCC’s Public Safety Department for use in the Wildland Fire Training Program and the Fire Academy.
The Type 3 engine is a dual-purpose engine that can be used to fight structures and wildland fires. TMFPD initially purchased and operated three of these engines as front-line equipment in 1997; by 2014, they were used in volunteer stations around the county. Since then, numerous local departments have purchased similarly designed and equipped engines. These engines have a pump flow of 500 gallons per minute, four-wheel drive, wildland firefighting tools, and can carry up to four personnel. It is also equipped with ladders, air packs and other equipment for structural firefighting.
Prior to the donation, the TMCC Public Safety department borrowed these kinds of vehicles from TMFPD and other agencies, which posed a scheduling challenge for both entities. “TMCC will now be able to use this apparatus anytime they need,” said Adam Mayberry, Communications Manager for the TMFPD.
Coming Full Circle in a Long Career
The engine was driven to TMCC’s Pennington Health Science Center—home of its Public Safety programs—on Monday, March 29 where it will be put to good use training future fire professionals. “Using this engine for our training programs is an excellent introduction to equipment used by fire departments around the region,” said Sandy Munns, Coordinator of the Wildland Training Program.
Munns would know: he was an Operator/Driver when the engines were placed in service in 1997, and as a Captain from 2000 until promotion to Battalion Chief in 2009. “I’ve used this engine to fight wildland fires many times,” he said. “Getting it donated to our program is coming full circle for me.”
Munns, who has 43 years in the fire service, is a retired Division Chief from TMFPD/Reno Fire Department and has been Wildfire Training Coordinator at TMCC for the past seven years. Munns has been a public safety instructor at TMCC since 1982, teaching EMT, firefighting, and hazardous materials courses. He is also faculty for the bachelor’s degree program in Emergency Management and Homeland Security.
In the past seven years, the Wildland program has grown from about 5–6 classes to more than 40, with approximately 400–500 students per year through a wide variety of training courses, from the Basic Wildland Academy to advanced Incident Command classes. Some classes attract students from around the country due to the small number of training centers that offer those courses.
The donation comes at the perfect moment: the next Wildland Firefighter (Type 1) training begins on April 15. Students who are looking for summer employment in this line of work will now have a new piece of equipment on which to train and hone their skills.
Connections to the Community
The generous donation of the engine was one of many ways that TMFPD and TMCC are connected. “Our firefighters have played a role in teaching and training at the TMCC Fire Academy over the years, and many have graduated from that Fire Academy Program,” said Mayberry, who has his own unique connection to TMCC as a member of the academic faculty in the political science department.
Yet, community support, especially for such a service-based profession, is as welcome as it is necessary.
“It’s the support of our program by our local cooperators, like TMFPD that make this a wonderful program,” said Munns. “After all, the program exists to provide quality training for local and regional partners, and this cooperation makes for more well-trained firefighters to serve the citizens in the community. This is why the word ‘Community’ in TMCC is so important to us in our Public Safety Program.”
Special thanks to Fire Chief Charles Moore, Assistant Chief Alex Kukulus, Division Chief August Isernhagen, and Fleet Manager Todd Meckler of TMFPD, and to the TMFPD Board of Fire Commissioners for this generous donation, and their support of TMCC programs.
For more information about the Wildland Fire Training Program, contact the Fire Technology Department at 775-336-4270.