For the first time in its history, Southwestern Community College’s Public Safety Training Center (SCC-PSTC) has a brand-new fire truck.
Purchased with state funds secured by N.C. Rep. Karl Gillespie, the Pierce Pumper cost $355,007 and will be used to train firefighters throughout Jackson, Macon, Swain Counties and the Qualla Boundary.
“Southwestern Community College’s acquisition of a new fire truck is an investment that goes beyond the walls of the institution,” Rep. Gillespie said. “By providing our firefighters with the latest equipment, we help to improve the emergency response services for the people of far Western North Carolina. I am incredibly thankful for all that Southwestern does for our region, and I remain committed to supporting them in their future endeavors.”
The truck contains a 1,250-gallon tank and has the capacity to pump up to 1,250 gallons of water per minute when connected to a fire hydrant.
“I can’t think of a better way to invest in our agencies than by providing them the very latest equipment on which to train their firefighters,” said Curtis Dowdle, SCC’s Dean of Public Safety Training. “This ensures that that we can train these individuals properly and effectively.”
Alan McWilliams, SCC’s Fire/Rescue Program Director, said the new vehicle is fully functional, equipped and outfitted to assist in cases of severe emergency – should local fire departments be overwhelmed.
SCC-PSTC is working with Macon County leaders to complete the planned Fire-Rescue Training Center, which will include a fire station to house the new pumper. Until then the new fire truck will be housed at the Cowee Volunteer Fire/Rescue Station II.
It will later be housed in the planned vehicle bay at the new facility, which will be constructed near the SCC-PSTC and the former National Guard Armory in the Macon County Industrial Park.
“We are very grateful for our partnerships with the agencies we serve and for their willingness to support public safety training, including allowing us to house this invaluable investment at one of their substations,” Dowdle said.
The truck will be used in various training scenarios including live building burns and drive training. Once the Fire-Rescue Training Center is complete, firefighters will utilize the truck to help extinguish a variety of different fires.
However, it will primarily be used for training.
“We appreciate Rep. Gillespie for supporting our Public Safety Training efforts and all of the fire departments who come to us for their training needs,” said Dr. Don Tomas, President of SCC. “Rep. Gillespie previously served on our Board of Trustees at Southwestern, so he understands that the citizens of our service area are the ones who’ll benefit the most from this investment.”